Map of 17th Century Lancashire goes on display

image copyrightUniversity of Manchester
image captionThe map shows the western part of the red rose county at the top of the image

A 17th Century map of Lancashire has been put on public display for the first time.

The design, drawn by Elizabethan cartographer William Smith, shows major towns, such as Blackburn and includes Bowland Forest and Pendle Hill.

It was recently found in the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, where it will be exhibited until 22 December.

Historian Dr Ian Saunders believes the map was "made between 1602 and 1604".

"It is a full-size design for a copper plate to be engraved in Amsterdam by Jodocus Hondius, who was the finest map engraver of the period," he added.

Cartographic mystery

The Lancashire design is believed to have been part of a planned England atlas, for which at least 12 counties were mapped.

But it was never published after Hondius was commissioned to engrave The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, described as one of the world's most popular cartographic treasures.

The origin of the counties' maps, previously known as the Anonymous Series, was a mystery for more than 300 years until Smith was confirmed as its creator in 1958, after the discovery of four manuscript originals of Hertfordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Cheshire.

"It is not known how the Lancashire map became separated from the manuscripts of the other four counties," said Dr Saunders.

image copyrightDavid Dixon
image captionThe John Rylands Library houses 250,000 printed volumes and more than a million manuscripts and items

Smith's maps introduced features such as a table of symbols, extra place names and the boundaries of the Hundreds into which counties were divided.

The Lancashire map's presence in the John Rylands Library came to light after Dr Saunders published a book on the county's historic maps last year.

The 17th Century design was given to the library on Deansgate in 1979 after the death of its previous owner.

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