21 Robert Morden 1695


Robert Morden (fl. 1668-1703) occupied premises in New Cheapside and Cornhill where he carried on business under the sign of The Atlas as a map and book seller and maker of instruments and globes. He produced playing cards (15), maps of various parts of the world and a series of county maps for an issue of Camden’s Britannia ; a new translation by Doctor Edmund Gibson in 1695. Gibson, only 26 at the time, subsequently became Bishop of London. Morden may have first engraved another series of maps for this work which were rejected as being too small (see 22).

The maps are elegantly engraved with no decoration except the shell-type cartouches containing the title and Morden’s name: five are signed by Sutton Nicholls, and two by John Sturt, as engraver. Most maps bear the imprint of the three booksellers who published the Britannia implying that they owned the plates. Devon (based on Saxton, but with an error to the Dorset border) shows latitude and longitude (from the prime meridian of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London) along the foot marked at 5’ minutes and along the top in minutes of time from London: this is the second set of county maps to have latitude and longitude (see Bill 8), and the earliest to have longitude from London and to indicate local time. Lundy is cut by the border line.1 Watermarks (horse, spread-eagle and running hare) have been suggested as a method of dating individual maps but these only show the earliest possible date of the paper.2


Size 355 x 420 mm.                                                                                                                                  A Scale of Miles (60, 56 and 52 mm).

DEVONSHIRE By Robrt. Morden. Imprint: Sold by Abel Swale Awnsham and Iohn Churchil. 


1. 1695  Camden’s Britannia, Newly Translated into English ... Publish’d by Edmund Gibson (E), (DEI), (NDL). 
    London. A Swale and A & J Churchill. 1695.3  CXIII, S117, BL,W,
2.  1722 Changes in Okehampton area; Sawford=Courtney for Samford and Hunichurch for Hunichurchligh, Sele becomes Zeal Monachorum, Swarton becomes Soreton; Chagford spelling corrected; Clifton Hundred erroneously changed to CLISTON.  
    Britannia: Or A Chorographical Description Of Great Britain. The Second Edition ... printed by Mary Matthews ... and sold by William Taylor  
    London. Awnsham Churchill. 1722. CXV, H169, BL.
    Britannia ... The Second Edition  
    London. James and John Knapton and 10 others. (1730). H170, B, BCL.
3. 1753 Main roads are now shown with double lines. (TQ).
    Britannia ... The Third Edition    
    London. R Ware and 14 others. 1753. CXVI, H171, BL, W.
    Britannia ... This Fourth Edition    
    London. W Bowyer and others. 1772. CXVII, H172, BL4.


[1] In the past few years copies of the Morden map have been cropping up on Ebay with Lundy within the border; it is presumed these are from a facsimile issued some time in the 1960s or 1970s.

[2] Eugene Burden; County Maps of Berkshire; (1988) 1991; p.27.

[3] A few copies were printed on large thick paper 370 x 430 mm.

[4] The Morden map is occasionally found bound into copies of The History of Devonshire by Rev. Richard Polwhele, published by Cadell, Johnson and Dilly (1797); one BL copy contains Morden’s map in state 3. A map is not called for in the table of contents and other copies seen either have no map or contain maps by Cary. The British Library has 2 copies with Cary’s map from New and Correct English Atlas (51.6). William Upcott in his bibliography of works on English Topography (1878) lists Cary’s New English Map (71.3) of 1811 as being present.