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.
Map of Lancashire
This is a manuscript map of north Lancashire. 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 period saw a threat to England from Spain, culminating in 1588 with the Spanish Armada. The map shows the area around the Kent sands. These are exaggerated in size to emphasise the areas where an enemy landing was likely and the tributaries of the estuary of the River Wyre are clearly delineated. What is significant about this map is that it has traditionally been said to mark the residences of the Catholic families in the area, each with a black cross. The fear expressed eloquently here is that the Spanish, under the Catholic Philip II, would forge alliances with these families in an effort to depose the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I. Another significant feature of the map is that the local beacon network is illustrated, if a little selectively. This network would be vital in an invasion scenario as it allowed the royal court and the surrounding area to be alerted. Rivers, which are also prominent, were the motorways of sixteenth century England. The red lines indicate the administrative districts or hundreds into which Lancashire was divided: these were important when mustering troops which could camp in the parks, indicated as circular fenced enclosures. All in all the map represents a means for dealing with almost anything that Philip II could throw at Elizabeth while, through the families which are not marked by a cross, ensuring that the administration of Lancashire remained in safe, loyal (i.e., Anglican) hands.
William Cecil, Lord Burghley