Rare Roger Rea edition of Speed’s map of Cambridge

By SPEED, John, 1665 

Cambridgeshire described with the devision of the hundreds, the Townes situation with the Armes of the Colleges of that famous Universiti: And also the Armes of all such Princes and noble men as have heer tofore borne the honorable tytles & dignities of the Earldome of Cambridg. Performed by Iohn Speede

British Isles English Counties
  • Author: SPEED, John
  • Publication place: [London]
  • Publisher: And are to be solde by Roger Rea ye Elder and ye younger at ye Golden Crosse in Cornhill against ye Exchange
  • Publication date: 1665.
  • Physical description: Double-page engraved map, fine contemporary outline hand colour.
  • Dimensions: 410 by 550mm. (16.25 by 21.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1765

Notes

The map bears the imprint of Roger Rea the Elder and Younger. The Reas had purchased the rights to Speed’s work from 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.