15 Robert Morden 1676


Eighty years after the first appearance of maps on playing cards (see Bowes 2, 3) both Robert Morden and William Redmayne (16) produced packs of cards of English and Welsh counties with Morden’s being advertised in the Easter Term Catalogue of 1676 as The 52 Countries of England and Wales (sic).

There were 54 cards in Morden’s set with the description and title on the first and a general map on the second. The Northern counties are represented by Clubs, Eastern counties by Hearts, Southern counties by Diamonds and the Welsh counties by Spades. All the Kings were portraits of King Charles II in a circle and each Queen was a head of Catherine of Braganza. The suit marks, when desired, were stencilled on by hand. This was the first Devon map to give an indication of the roads, ostensibly taken from John Ogilby’s strip road maps of 1675; however, the main road from Exeter to Plymouth bypasses Chudleigh and the road Exeter-Torrington is not in Ogilby. As spellings vary considerably several engravers may have been employed.

The maps are either found as playing card sets or bound with the cards mounted in a pocket atlas duodecimo, preceded by a title page bearing the title from type. The last known 17th-century edition of Morden’s cards appeared in 1680, only four years after their first appearance. Copies of these cards by John Lenthall appeared in 1711 (23). The original maps reappeared post-1772 without suitmarks but with a page of accompanying text giving county history, topography and other relevant information, printed for H Turpin, 104 St John’s Street, West Smithfield. Homan Turpin was in business at this address 1764-87; the publication is not listed in his catalogues of 1770 and 1772. The first state was issued in facsimile edition by Harry Margary of Lympne Castle in 1972. Morden also produced two atlases of county maps (21, 22).

Size of card 90 x 55 mm.  Miles (10 = 10 mm).

Map panel 58 x 55 mm.

Devon Sh: and IX and a red diamond stencilled in top panel. Arabic 9 is added left, obscured by stencil. Neighbouring counties not named. Towns shown by circles.

1. 1676  The 52 Counties of England and Wales  
    London. Robert Morden, Will Berry, Robert Green and George Minikin. 1676. S94, M&K31 BL, W, GL.
    Mounted and bound as an atlas without suit marks. S94a, M&K3, W.
2.  1676 Pt. of Cornwall and Pt. of Som added.       (DevA).
    The 52 Counties of England and Wales Second Edition  
    London. Morden, Berry, Green and Minikin. 1676. S95, M&K3, BL.
3. 1680  Additions, eg Sheepwash, Dodbrook and Topsham. Horton altered to Hartland. Towns are shown with church-like signs.  
     a) With stencilled suitmarks bound in volume.  
    The 52 Counties of England and Wales Third Edition  
    London. Morden, Berry, Green and Minikin. (1680).  S102, M&K3, [Gard.].
    b) Without suitmarks in book form -(8vo) maps mounted two to a page  
    A Pocket Book of all the Counties of England and Wales  
    London. Robert Morden and Joseph Pask. (1680) CVIII, S103, M&K3, BL.
    A Brief Description of England and Wales  
    London. H Turpin. (1773).                                                                  CIX, M&K3, BL, W.


[1] See Mann and Kingsley; PLAYING CARDS; The Map Collectors’ Circle; No. 87, 1972; pp. 18-19. See also Robert Morden´s Playing Card Pack of the English Counties; in MapForum, Issue 8, 2005.