This map of Lancashire dates from 1598 and is by the cartographer and antiquarian William Smith. Smith was Rouge Dragon at the College of Heralds/College of Arms, an institution that specialised in genealogical work, increasingly more so during the Elizabethan age as the gentry class rose in importance. The Rouge Dragon is the name of one of the Pursuivants, a heraldic officer attendant on the heralds, often attached to a particular nobleman, named so because of their badges. The prominent coat of arms on this plan reveals Smith's heraldic interests. In 1588, Smith completed "The Particuler Description of England. With the portratures of certaine of the cheiffest citties & townes.1588". This work consisted of drawings of English cities and towns in a traditional birds eye view style, and drawings amalgamating bird's eye view and plan. In the years 1602-03, William Smith anonymously published maps of Chester, Essex, Hertfordshire Lancashire, (for which this may be preparatory work) Leicester, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire and Worcester. These were probably engraved in Amsterdam and were intended to form sheets of a new atlas. After the publication of Saxton’s county maps in the 1570s, cartographers attempted to improve on Saxton’s atlas and replicate its success. Unfortunately for Smith another cartographer, John Speed, was also preparing county maps at this time and competition proved too great, Speed being the victor. Here the ‘Countie stone’ is marked and labelled at the boundary point which separates Lancashire and Westmorland. A panel of text at bottom right provides a description of the County of Lancashire and Duchy of Lancaster.
LANCASTRIAE Comitatus Sheet 28
This map of Lancashire is from the 1583 edition of the Saxton 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 used of maps in government matters, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State, 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.