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 diminutive 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. For this new work, the van Langeren maps were entirely re-engraved slightly larger.
In 1649, he added text and published it under the title of ‘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 listing all the towns and hundreds. 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’.
Thomas Jenner died on 2 January 1673 and was succeeded by his wife Anne. Some money was left to John Garrett and his wife to take care of his widow. It was Garrett who acquired Jenner’s business and stock shortly after. In 1677, he re-issued the ‘Book of the Names’ using the existing leaves of text but with a completely reset title page. At about the same time the plates last appearance was under the original title of ‘A Direction for the English Traviller’, it is given the date c.1677 in the bibliographies. Skelton listed two undated Garrett issues of this title, they have since been proven to the be the same edition. Garrett (fl.1667-1718) was probably the son of William Garrett and therefore brother-in-law of John Overton. Provenance: Kentish (2012) ‘A Catalogue of County Atlases …’ item 49. Bennett (1996) p. 8; Chubb (1927) 47 & 48; ESTC R19489; Fordham (1924) p. 10; Shirley (2004) T.Lang 1n; Skelton (1970) 99 & 101; Tyacke (1978) p. 114-6.