Rare Roger Rea edition of Speed’s Invasions map of England, Wales and Ireland

By SPEED, John, 1665 

The Invasions of England and Ireland With al their Civill Wars since the Conquest.

British Isles Great Britain
  • Author: SPEED, John
  • Publication place: [London]
  • Publisher: Are to be sold by Roger Rea the Elder and younger at the Golden Crosse in Cornhill against the Exchange
  • Publication date: 1665
  • Physical description: Double-page engraved map, fine contemporary outline hand colour, upper left and right margin and tear to upper left of centrefold skilfully repaired, left margin trimmed to neatline.
  • Dimensions: 410 by 550mm (16.25 by 21.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1819


The map bears the imprint of Roger Rea the Elder and Younger. The Reas had purchased the rights to Speed’s work form William Garrett in 1589, who had previously purchased them from the widow of William Humble in the same year. Skelton suggests that the father and son intended a new edition of the atlas for the Restoration of 1660. However, the atlas would appear not to have been published until 1665. This is borne out by an advertisement in the Term Catalogue by the subsequent owners of the plates, Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell, in 1675:

Mr John Speed’s… Geography of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland… together with his Prospect… all in one entire Volume, hath been, for seven Years past, out of Print, the greatest part of an Impression, then newly Printed, being destroyed by the late dreadful Fire, 1666”. This is borne out by the rarity of the Rea edition of the atlas. There is evidence that they planned an edition of 1666, as there are impressions of Sussex, Buckingham and Derby, with Rea’s imprint, which bear that date. Rea would later sell the plates to Bassett and Chiswell, who would publish a new edition in 1676. 


  1. Skelton 81.
    • Skelton, R. (1978). County Atlases of the British Isles 1579–1850. Folkestone: Dawson.