THE FIRST PRINTED MAP OF MIDDLESEX. 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 which covered Middlesex was successfully published at Norden’s expense in 1593. Hertfordshire followed in 1598 but no others were published during his lifetime although manuscripts of some do survive. The original manuscript of Middlesex survives in one example without any maps.
Of the three engraved maps, that of 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’s map was the first of the county to display roads and the internal divisions. The system of a graticule was also a first. The map displays the location of all of Elizabeth’s Palaces and contains a copper mill near Isleworth. Norden discusses this in the ‘Speculum’ as a copper and brass mill. A John Broad or Brode sought from Queen Elizabeth I a grant for the mill. Norden writes that ‘The oar or earth whereof it is contryved is brought out of Somersetshire from Mendipp … The workmen make plates both of copper and brasse of all seyces little and great, thick and thyn, for all purposes’. Norden recorded remarkable detail for such a small map, he keys ‘Houses of Nobilitie’, ‘Houses of Knights, Gent &’, ‘Hospitales’, ‘Places where battells have bene’ and ‘Decayde places’.
Barber, Peter. (2007). ‘Mapmaking in England, ca.1470-1650’ in ‘The History of Cartography’ volume 3 part 2 pp. 1632-4; Blythman, Guy (2016) ‘Watermills and Windmills of Middlesex’; Hind I pp. 195-205, 210-11 pl. 116; Kitchen, Frank. (1997). ‘John Norden (c.1547-1625): Estate Surveyor, Topographer, County Mapmaker and Devotional Writer’, in ‘Imago Mundi’ no. 49 pp. 43-61; Lawrence, Heather. (1989). ‘John Norden and his colleagues: surveyors of Crown Lands’, in ‘The Map Collector’ no. 49 pp. 25-8; Schilder (2007) ‘Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica’, vol. 8. pp. 329-32; Upcott (1968) II p. 582; Worms, Laurence. (2007). ‘The London Map Trade to 1640’ in ‘The History of Cartography’ volume 3 part 2 pp. 1705-6; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).