Braddock Mead

(c1688–1757)

Also known as John Green”.

Braddock Mead was an Irishman of warm passions fond of ye Women & Intrigue” (T. Jefferys, in a letter to the Earl of Morton, 17 January 1767). He fled to London in 1728 with an accomplice, Daniel Kimberly, and a 12-year-old heiress named Bridget Reading, to whom he was clandestinely married in order to claim her inheritance. Mead had already deserted two former wives. Kimberly was caught and hanged for his offense; Mead went into hiding, changing his name first to Rogers then to Green. He worked successively for Chambers, Cave, Astley and Jefferys before committing suicide in 1757. 

“[Mead] had a number of marked characteristics as a cartographer. One was his ability to collect, to analyze the value of, and to use a wide variety of sources; these he acknowledged scrupulously on the maps he designed and even more fully in accompanying remarks. Another outstanding characteristic was his intelligent compilation and careful evaluation of reports on latitudes and longitudes used in the construction of his maps, which he also entered in tables on the face of his maps… Although acknowledging the preeminence of French geographers and mapmakers, he attacked Bellin… J.N. Delisle he accused of professional subterfuge and then of outright lying… Mead’s contributions to cartography stand out in contrast to the shoddiness of his private life. At a time when the quality and the ethics of map production were at a low ebb in England, he vigorously urged and practiced the highest standards; in the making of maps and navigational charts he was in advance of his time. For this he deserves due credit” (William P. Cumming, British Maps of Colonial America’, Chicago 1974, pp.45–47).