5. William Kip / (Christopher Saxton) 1607

William Camden (1551-1623) was an eminent historian and antiquarian, headmaster of Westminster School, London in 1593 and appointed Clarenceaux King of Arms in 1597. He first published his Britannia, a popular description and history of Britain written in Latin and with only a general map of the country, in 1586. The sixth edition included the county maps below, initially with Latin text on the reverse. Philemon Holland translated Camden’s text into English in 1610 (this was printed separately). The maps were mostly engraved by William Kip (34 maps) and William Hole (21).1 Printers included Felix Kingston, Richard Young and John Leggatt.

William Kip made England his home after emigrating to England from Utrecht in about 1585. He became an apprentice with the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths at the same time as William Hole. His first known work was a map of Hartfordshire for John Norden in 1598. He worked as engraver of portraits, gold and silver plate and maps.2  He had three children and he was living with his older daughter, Debora, and her husband in 1618.3

Britannia was widely popular and abridged versions were issued by W J Blaeu using Keere’s maps in 1617 (4), by John Bill with his own maps in 1626 (8) and by Joan Blaeu in 1639 with Mercator’s regional maps. Later still, fresh translations appeared with new maps into the nineteenth century.4 William Camden was associated with Devon: he visited the county in 1588; probably collecting information for one of the later editions; and he was appointed Prebendary of Ilfracombe on the collation of his friend Dr John Piers in 15895 , a post he kept until his death, and evidence suggests he visited Ilfracombe during this period. Camden refused a knighthood and his last academic achievement was the founding of a chair at Oxford University in 1622, known as the Camden Professorship of Ancient History. In 1838 the Camden Society was founded in his honour and still survives today.


Size 290 x 332 mm.     Scale bar (10 = 52 mm).

DEVONIAE Comitatus Vulgo Den: Shyre quam olim DANMONII Populi Incoluerant in cartouche. Signatures: Christophorus Saxton descripsit. and William Kip Sculp:. Latin text on reverse: p.143 of Cornwall and 144 DANMONII_DENSHIRE
 1.  1607 Britannia, sive florentissimorum Regnorum Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, et Insularum ... Gulielmo Camdeno Authore.  
    London. George Bishop & John Norton. 1607.   XVIII, S5, BL, B, (DevA).
    No text on reverse: 1st English edition.  
    Britain Or A Chorographical Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Ilands adioyning.  
    London. George Bishop and John Norton. 1610.  XIX, S6, BL, B, (DevA).
2.  1637 Plate number 3 (Ae) just above signature. 6 No text on reverse.  
      (DevA), (DEI), (NDL).
    Britain                        XX, 7 S23.
    London. Andrew Heb. 1637.  BL.
    London. William Aspley. 1637.   B.
    London. Andrew Crooke. 1637.    W.
    London. Joyce Norton & Richard Whitaker. 1637. [NLS].
    London. George Latham. 1637. [P].

[1] These were generally copied from Saxton (hence Saxton´s name in title - but some spellings vary, eg Okehamton and Otterey): six maps were derived from John Norden, one from George Owen and the general map from Gerard Mercator.

[2] See England´s Gain – Netherlanders in Elizabethan England Part II by Rodney Shirley; in IMCoS Journal, Issue 113, Summer 2008.

[3] See also Worms and Bynton-Williams British Map Engravers; pp. 373-4.

[4] See also Robert Morden (21), John Cary (54) and Samuel Tymms (90).

[5] See, for example, A Guide to Ilfracombe, John Banfield, various editions of 1840s.

[6] Possibly earlier: Leicester with plate number appeared 1622; this 2nd English edition was registered in 1625.

[7] The unique atlas noted by Chubb (XXI) by Christopher Browne in 1752 must be presumed only a collection and was not an entire set. Moreover, though Browne may well have obtained the Kip and Hole plates, he had ceased trading by 1714