John Norden (c.1547-1625) is noted as being the first person to undertake a complete series of county histories. Unfortunately, he suffered financial issues during his life which limited the reach of the project. This is largely due to ‘the Puritan tracts he wrote to raise money and his flattering dedication to Essex shortly before the uprising of 1599 set him so far out of political favour that he never received the patronage necessary to finance expensive surveys’ (Globe). The first part was successfully published in 1593 which covered Middlesex. Hertfordshire followed in 1598. Both were published at Norden’s expense. No others were published during his lifetime, but he left a few further county histories in manuscript form. The original manuscript of Middlesex survives in one example, without any maps.
The Middlesex includes three engraved maps of the county. London is signed by Pieter van den Keere as engraver and it is presumed he was responsible for those of Westminster and Middlesex also. Norden recorded remarkable detail, the plan of London bears the livery of the twelve principal City Livery Companies along the side borders and an extensive key below. The Companies are depicted in order of precedence beginning with the Mercers upper left. The river bears several craft with figures and a scale of distance, the first English map to do so. Below is found a key to individual streets and buildings.
A second state was printed in 1623 which included further additional plate below. This was entitled ‘A guide for Cuntry men …’ and dated 1623, it contained a with a further key numbered from 23-95. These were added to the map itself. There is only one recorded example which resides at Windsor Castle. The third state offered here has the imprint of van den Keere replace by that of Peter Stent, the second plate below also exists with the date altered to 1653. There are only a very few identified examples, all with the extra plate: British Library (Maps 3480-415), Guildhall Library (k126851x) and Bodleian Library (Gough Maps London 4). Only two examples are known in private hands, one was sold by Jonathan Potter in 1998 and this one. Provenance: private collection of Rodney Shirley acquired 1947. Darlington & Howgego 5.3; Globe (Stent) 357a; Hind I pp. 204-5.