24 Emanuel Bowen / John Owen 1720


Thomas Bowles issued a pocket book of roads in 1720 complete with county maps and topographical information. The maps were engraved by Emanuel Bowen. The space between county boundary and frame is taken up with descriptive details, compiled by John Owen, lawyer and antiquarian, who was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1718. These notes relate to the geography and history of the county, a practice carried to great lengths in Bowen’s later and larger atlases (37, 42, 48) . Britannia Depicta or Ogilby Improv’d contained the small county maps and strip road maps based on the road maps of Ogilby, the whole amounting to two hundred and seventy-three plates: the Whole for its Compendious Variety and Exactness, preferable to all other Books of Roads hitherto Published or Proposed; and calculated not only for the use of the Traveller but the general use of the Gentleman and Tradesman. Despite their small dimensions, the county maps contained much information such as hundreds, rivers, hills, towns (with parliamentary representation indicated by asterisks), churches, roads and the arms of William Cavendish.

For the 1764 edition the mileages on the map and on page 176 (the page of text on Exeter) were altered and Bediford changed to Biddeford. 1

Size 180 x 110 mm.  English Miles (15 = 24 mm).

Map panel 112 x 112 mm.  

DEVON SHIRE. Reverse (p.147) is a road map of Chester to Whitchurch.

1.   1720 Britannia Depicta Or Ogilby Improv’d 2    
    London. T Bowles & E Bowen. 1720. CXLVII, H149, BL, W, BCL.
2. 1720 A short extension line is found at end of map after the amount paid by the county. Similar lines on reverse after note in border on Wem and K George on very last line.  
    Britannia Depicta ...  
    London. T Bowles & E Bowen. 1720 (3 issues). H150, [NLW]; H151, BL;  CXLVIII, H152, BL.
    Britannia Depicta ...  
    London. T Bowles & I Bowles. 1720 (1722), 1720 (1723). CXLIX, H153, BL; H154, BL.
    Britannia Depicta ... Ye 4th Edition    
    London. T Bowles & I Bowles. 1724. CL, H155, BL, W.
    Britannia Depicta ... The fourth Edition  CLI, H156, [NLS, B];   CLII, H157, BL.
    London. T Bowles. 1730, 1731.3  
    Britannia Depicta ... The fourth Edition  
    London. T Bowles. 1736.4 CLIII, H159, W.
    Britannia Depicta ... The fourth Edition  
     London. T Bowles. 1749, 1751, 1753. CLIIIa, H160, [MCL]. 
    Britannia Depicta ... The fourth Edition  
    London. T Bowles. 1751, 1753. CLIV, H161, [BL]; CLIVa, H162, [BL].
    Britannia Depicta 5     
     London. T Bowles. 1759. CLV, H163, BL.
3. 1764  Changes made to the mileages at the top of the map. Wellington is now 54'4 (was 54'6) and Welland is now 64'4 (64'6). 6         
     Britannia Depicta ...    
     London. Carington Bowles. 1764. CLVI, H164, [BL]. 
     Bowles's Britannia Depicta   
     London. Carington Bowles. (Post-1764).  H165, [BL], AY.


[1] The authors are grateful to David Webb and Alan Yates for the notes concerning changes to map and reverse page.

[2] Two variations of this atlas are known; with and without rapes on p.8. David Webb, private correspondence.

[3] Reprinted in facsimile by Britannia Publications; 1979.

[4] Donald Hodson refers to a 1734 atlas (H158) but no copy has been found. Clive Burden has a 1731 edition with a 1736 type-setting and suggests that this might be the missing edition referred to.

[5] Page 147 (the reverse) now has a cross added to Chester and a margin note added under Church Stretton relating to the distance between Chester and Bristol.

[6] Alan Yates has kindly pointed out that these changes were probably made for the 1764 edition as similar changes were carried out for Herts, Kent, Lincs and Sussex.