This is a map of Wiltshire by Christopher Saxton which dates from 1576. It forms part of an atlas that belonged to William Cecil Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State. Burghley used this atlas to illustrate domestic matters. This map is actually a proof copy of one which forms part of Christopher Saxton’s Atlas of England and Wales. This atlas was first published as a whole in 1579. It consists of 35 coloured maps depicting the counties of England and Wales. The atlas is of great significance to British cartography as it set a standard of cartographic representation in Britain and the maps remained the basis for English county mapping, with few exceptions, until after 1750. During the reign of Elizabeth I, map use became more common, with many government matters referring to increasingly accurate maps with consistent scales and symbols, made possible by advances in surveying techniques. Illustrating the increasing use of maps in government matters, Lord Burghley, who had been determined to have England and Wales mapped in detail from the 1550s, selected the cartographer Christopher Saxton to produce a detailed and consistent survey of the country. The financier of the project was Thomas Seckford Master of Requests at the Court of Elizabeth I, whose arms appear, along with the royal crest on each map .Lord Burghley has added several place names to the map. This map was engraved by Remigius Hogenbergius, one of a team of seven English and Flemish engravers employed to produce the copper plates for the atlas.
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Although this drawing was surveyed six years before the obligatory inclusion of archaeological sites on drawings, several are featured. The most famous of these is Stonehenge, to the right of the drawing. Ancient camps, earthworks, castles and grave mounds ('tumuli') pepper the area, indicated by concentric shapes and a title in neat script. Their inclusion reveals the meticulous nature of the survey. To the right of the drawing, opposite Wishford, a trigonometrical station is indicated by a dot within a circle (annotated 'Col. Mudge's station' - Major-General William Mudge was Superintendent of the Ordnance Survey). This station denotes a point from which angular measurements were taken. In the right hand margin of the drawing a point titled "End of Base" marks the end of the Salisbury Plain baseline: an important measurement allowing for the triangulation of the area.
The small pencil markings at the edges of this drawing were used as reference points by the draughtsman from which to plot the area accurately. The road to Earl Stoke is marked "TG", meaning toll gate. The precision with which the survey records the road network is testimony to the military imperative of the Survey and is a major advance on earlier county maps. Running diagonally across the drawing is the Roman road from Bath, indicated by grey lines. The Kennet and Avon Canal and the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal are shown in aquamarine, with each lock recorded, most notably on the section leading into Devizes. The canals were opened in 1810 to better exploit the resources of the Somerset coalfield, and are therefore contemporary with the survey of this drawing. The paper is watermarked JAMES WHATMAN TURKEY MILL KENT 1807.
Several orientation points used to plot the survey appear at the edges of this drawing. The draughtsman has recorded the precise layout of the fir plantations at Everly, a chalk pit on Bushton Down, and the Roman road from Bath to Malborough, which is at the top of the drawing. The Kennet and Avon Canal also features. Opened in 1810 to better exploit the resources of the Somerset Coalfields, the canal is contemporary with the survey of this drawing. Extending from Shepherds Shore, a thick grey line is marked 'The Wansdyke'. This is a linear defensive earthwork dating from the 5th century. The area is rich is archaeological sites: Casterely Camp on Black Heath is a large hillfort. The paper is watermarked JAMES WHATMAN TURKEY MILL KENT 1807.
Berwick St. John
Small red crosses at Baverstoke, at the top centre, and Et Knoyle, at the top left,mark observation points used by the surveyor to plot topographical details and measure distances. The draughtsman has faithfully recorded the relative relief of the hills and indicated areas of woodland, using various shades of green to distinguish woods from grassland. The ancient circular earthworks of Chiselbury are marked by concentric rings on White Sheet Hill, in the centre of the drawing.
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This drawing is rich in archaeological sites, among them the prehistoric monument known as Stonehenge. Situated on Salisbury Plain, it is the most celebrated megaithic monument in England. The iron-age hillfort of Old Sarum is also marked. A castle and cathedral were built on its earthworks during the 12th century, but abandoned when a new cathedral was built a mile and a half away - the foundation of the modern city of Salisbury. The red line extending from Old Sarum to Beacon Hill is the baseline for the triangulation of the area. Several other archaeological sites are marked: the iron-age hillforts at Vispasians Camp, Ogbury Camp and Clorus's Camp.