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Norden 1625
to 1st map described 


These notes are made from a copy of:-
Norden, John: 1625: England, an Intended Guyde for English Travailers

in the Box Collection of road books etc at Winchester College, Winchester, Hampshire, with kind permission of the Fellows Librarian.
The book is leather bound,
wxh, book: 18.5x25cm
map type: HantsMap & Norden 1625


embossed on the spine:-
The title page has a scroll cartouche with figures, one reading and one playing a lute, cherubs, etc:-
England / AN / Intended Guyde, / For / English Travailers. / Shewing in generall, how far one / Citie, & many Shire- Townes in England, are / distant from other Together, with the / Shires in perticular: and the Cheife / Townes in every of them. / With a generall Table, of the most of / the principall Townes in Wales. / Invented & Collected, / by John Norden. / Voluntas pro facultate. // Printed at London by Edward / All-de dwelling neare Christ- / Church 1625.
An introductory page reads:-
TO ALL KINDE GENTLEMEN AND OTHER, WHO HAVE OCCASION to make use of these Tables or any of them
IF it had never beene observed, that worthy mens worthy labours of any Subject, had beene carped at, either for the argument, subject, method, or phrase: Yet could not I, in this so generall, plaine, and vulgar enterprise, but expect to be censured: for, what one cannot, another may reprove.
If it were deepe Divinitie, high Astrologie, or intricate Geometrie, It could be subject but to such as have, or pretend to have, either perfect skill, or uncertaine speculation in the Arts. But this is so vulgar, as so paine (sic), that every Eye may see it, every Minde may conceive it, & every Tongue may censure it: yet but as ayme-giver to Archers, never certainely; yet it must goe for currant.
It is a new invention, yet not as those that are shut up, onely to be seene for reward; It is open to more than Argos eyes, not onely with admiration, but subject to cavellation. Yet I doubt not but Gentlemen of best understanding, will be less enclined to carpe at any defect, then such as can onely direct a Travailer, within two or three miles, how farre it is to a Towne five miles from the place he dwels at.
I have endevored, though with some tedious consultation with mine owne weake apprehension, to conceive some rule of ease (being my selfe a Travailer) to finde, as neere as possible I could, the certaine distances of Townes; which if they could be certainly collected, without dimensuration (a worke through the Kingdome more then tedious) they might by this rule be reduced to certainty without error. But for want of a perticall dimensuration, I have beene enforced to borrow the helpe, as well of mine owne Maps which I have made, by travaile of divers Shires; now totally finished by the laborious travails of Mr. Speede, whose Maps together with Mr. Saxtons and mine owne, have beene the principall direction in this tedious worke.
Therefore Gentlemen, if you finde (as no doubt you may) any error in the calculation or impression. It may please you to consider, that it is not possible for any Artist, so precisely to deliniate so great (nay a farre lesse) Countrey, and the perticular Townes, and their severall distances within the same; but that some errours of necessitie will be committed, especially by reason of hills, dales, woods, and other impediments, which intercept the view from station to station. So that the lines of opposition cannot be so exactly directed, as upon a plaine and open horizon. But were the distances never so truly taken, by the intersection of right lines, yet in riding or going, they may seeme uncertaine, by reason of the curving crookednes, and other difficulties of the wayes. Beare therefore with such defects, as could not be avoyded: For, if the distances betweene Townes could be certainly discovered, these Tables might be made more certaine.
If therefore my paines and endevour may be accepted without reproach, for inevitable imperfections, I shall thinke my labour well imployed, and shall willingly embrace any friendly reformation: For, as it shall into the hands of many of all parts of the Kingdome, in part or in whole; So may many reforme much: And he that shall truly reforme any, and acquaint me, I shall requite him with a more perfect, though information can produce no certainty in this case.
Where some would have is well the generall as the particular Tables more copious of Townes; I entreat them to consider, that the generall can hardly be enlarged, to be imprinted, but by cutting in Copper, and to be printed in a Roling Presse, which would be more tedious and more chargeable. And were the Shires more full, they would be reduced into a portable booke.
Some againe object, that some Townes of importance are omitted both in the generall and particular Tables; and some of lesse respect inserted. I pray excuse it: for that it is not possible for a stranger in so many parts of the Kingdome, to be so well acquainted with Townes and Parishes, as to be able to distinguish the wothiest, seeing they are of like impression in the Maps, some Market Townes excepted.
Wherefore I doe entreate, all to whose hands these tables, or any of them shall come, to take my paines in good part, wishing they were such as could yeeld every man his expectations and satisfaction. And to that end, I should be willing to take a farre greater paines.
Your well-wishing friend:
The awareness of various types of errors and the difficulty of correcting them for a project of this kind is illuminating.


The book has one sheet per county giving a triangular table of distances with a thumbnail map of the county in the spare triangular space. The map is very small. There are also instructions for using the table:-
The use of this Table.
THe Townes or places betweene which you desire to know, the distance you may finde in the names of the Townes in the upper part and in the side, and bring them in a square as the lines will guide you: and in the square you shall finde the figures which declare the distance of the miles.
And if you finde any place in the side which will not extend to make a square with that above, then seeking that above which will not extend to make a square, and see that in the upper, and the other side, and it will showe you the distance. It is familiar and easie.
Beare with defects, the use is necessarie.
Invented by JOHN NORDEN.
The distances are most unlikely to be measured road distances. It is probable that they are direct 'crow flight' distances and it would appear from Norden's own words in the introduction that he measured distances from maps by Saxton, Speed and himself. It is very likely he used one of his own Hampshire maps for this county.

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HantsMap Notes -- NORDEN3.txt
MN: 18.11.1999
last edit: 24.11.1999