The first printed map of County Durham
By SAXTON, Christopher, 1579
[Durham] Dunelmensis Episcopatus Qui comitatus est palatinus vera et accurata descriptio. An. Dnu. 1576
- Author: SAXTON, Christopher
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Christopher Saxton
- Publication date: 1579.
- Physical description: Double-page engraved map, fine original colour in outline, contemporary annotation on verso in brown ink.
- Dimensions: 420 by 550mm. (16.5 by 21.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 15354
The Latin county name is boldly presented in an intricate cartouche in the upper left corner, while on the opposite side, the royal coat-of-arms is flanked by the English lion and Welsh dragon. Directly below this the Seckford family crest is accompanied by both its earlier and later Latin mottoes, in tribute to Saxton’s patron, the courtier Thomas Seckford. In the lower right corner, the map’s scale is found, along with two banners identifying Saxton as the cartographer and Augustine Ryther as the engraver. Ryther was a well-known craftsman, originally from Leeds, who was responsible for several other maps in Saxton’s atlas, such as Gloucestershire and Yorkshire, and who was also known for producing mathematical instruments. Additionally, like all the maps in Saxton’s ‘Atlas of England and Wales’, this map bears his watermark, a bunch of grapes, to identify the work as original.