Carto-Cymru - The Wales Map Symposium 2016: Shaping the Nation

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


"Mapping the Marches: Marginal Places and Spaces of Cartographic Innovation"

In this paper, the importance of thinking about the place of mapping is explored through focusing on one particular geographical concept: the borderland. Ranging across the medieval and the modern eras, and maps from the borders as well as of the borders, a case is made for marginal spaces acting as sites of cartographic innovation. This requires some consideration of what is meant by ‘mapping’, adopting Nicholas Howe’s approach that sees mapping as both textual and visual, and literal and metaphorical. Unfolding ‘the map’ along these lines helps us to engage with the cartographic imaginations of those in the past who sought to represent spatially the world around them, and also, in some cases, to shape that world as well. ‘Mapping the March’ then is a journey through space and time – through places in, on and of the margins – and the many kinds of mappings that have occurred in them. My starting point is a ‘map of maps’ which appears in Skelton and Harvey’s Local Maps and Plans of Medieval England and shows for the Welsh borders a cartographic void, an distinct absence of maps. Yet from mapping the March, the evidence shows instead a vibrant cartographic consciousness existing across and along the frontier between England and Wales during the Middle Ages and Early Modern era. From mappaemundi to medieval charters, from the plans of ‘new towns’ to so-called ‘national’ maps, such as the Gough Map and maps of Humphrey Llwyd, the marginal places of the Welsh March can be seen to have been anything but an empty mapping space or a blank on the edge of the ‘map of maps’. The geographic margins on the borders of England and Wales were instead places of cartographic innovation, and indeed they still are.
Period27 May 2016
Event typeConference
LocationAberystwyth, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational