The mid-fourteenth century map of Britain known as the ‘Gough’ map is the earliest extant depiction of the island in geographically recognizable form. Hitherto, however, interest in the road or route patterns marked on the map has meant that the map's extraordinarily rich settlement geography has not received the attention it merits and that, consequently, the point of the map may have been missed. The availability of a digital scan of the map coupled with the use of Geographical Information System (GIS) software provides the opportunity for a new look at the Gough map and the questions it poses. Attention in this article is directed to the settlement geography it shows, and in particular to the map's 654 cities, towns, villages, castles and monasteries. Their geographical positions as given on the manuscript are compared with their modern equivalents to shed light on some of the basic questions—the map's place of origin, the purpose or purposes for which it was made and the circumstances of its production—that have posed such a challenge for scholars. Our preliminary conclusion is that the key to understanding the original primary role of the Gough map lies in its accurate but selective depiction of the settlement geography of fourteenth-century Britain.
|Number of pages||28|
|Journal||Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
- Environmental Science(all)