Quarto (190 x 140 mm.), full recent speckled calf, with ornate blind panelling, spine with raised bands with blind ruled compartments, gilt date embossed and red morocco gilt title. With typographic title page, original engraved title by Jacob van Langeren dated 1643, verso ‘The Use of all the insueing Tables’ from type, 37 engraved cartographical county mileage tables with ‘thumbnail’ maps set within text, lacking all four folding plates. pp. 197 paginated 5-197 with errors in pagination of 99 for 89, 101 for 100, 102 for 101, 104 is omitted so that from 105 onwards even numbers appear on the recto as in the prior edition. In addition 168 printed as 16. Two additional leaves appear: [Bb3r] ‘England and Wales’ with on the verso ‘The chiefest Commodities’. [Bb4] ‘Books Printed and sold by Thomas Jenner …’ In very good condition.
The last edition issued prior to the Great Fire of London in 1666. Matthew Simmons (fl.1635-54) is most associated with printing John Milton’s works but in 1635 he published his one and only cartographic work ‘A Direction for the English Traviller’. Known famously as the thumbnail maps due to their size the three editions of this work are all exceedingly scarce. The maps were engraved by Jacob van Langeren and incorporated into a plate containing a distance table for the county, an invention of John Norden’s in 1625. In 1643 Thomas Jenner published an improved edition with four extra folding plates, three of which were maps of England, Wales and Yorkshire (lacking in this example). For this new work the van Langeren maps were entirely re-engraved slightly larger.
In 1649 he added text and published it as ‘A Booke of the Names of all the Hundreds’, of which only one complete example is known. This was followed in 1657 by a slightly renamed work, which was effectively an expansion here listing all the towns and hundreds. This 1662 edition has an entirely reset title page. Accompanying each map are printed from type lists of towns and their hundreds in three columns continued on additional leaves. These all derive from the lists in John Speeds ‘Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine’. Again for this 1662 edition the text is entirely reset. Despite this the errors in pagination are repeated. One notable difference is that the list of the Hundreds for each county is now set in italics. The practice of combining typographic text and engraved plate on the same leaf required two runs through the press. Skelton cites the lack of the original engraved title page of 1643 however it should correctly be present as here. The printer ‘M.S. is quite likely Mary Simmons, the surviving widow of Matthew Simmons. Bennett (1996) p. 8; Chubb 50; ESTC R28495; Fordham ‘Road Books’ p. 10; Shirley BL T.Lang 1j; Skelton 70 & Appendix; Tyacke (1978) p. 118.