29 Samuel Simpson / Robert Walker 1744


A part work that appeared almost simultaneously with Thomas Read’s English traveller (28) was a topographical work published by Robert Walker entitled Agreeable Historian or Compleat English Traveller and compiled by Samuel Simpson. Both works included maps based on Moll’s (25); the text of both works was largely copied from Thomas Cox’s Magna Britannia (22). Beginning in 1743 and appearing weekly the 109 printed parts of Agreeable Historian would have been completed towards the end of 1745. The work is found bound in three volumes (8vo) with a title page dated 1746. Forty-two county maps were published in the three volumes and without any imprint; most have the arms of the county differentiating them immediately from the Read maps. As the Agreeable Historian was published in weekly parts with the first part appearing on December 5th, 1943, it would seem likely that Devon would have appeared early in 1744.

On inspection it can be seen that, although very similar to Read’s maps, the lettering is often slightly different or at an angle. The Devon maps in both cases have the insets of the old and new Eddystone lighthouses, copied from Herman Moll and include his upside-down directions in Cornwall. The Walker, however, has the arms of Devonshire and the compass is on the right (not left).

As Walker’s atlas appeared almost simultaneously with Read’s English traveller one must surmise that both works were produced in competition, but the similarities are intriguing. The texts are so alike and the dates of publication coincide to such an extent that Hodson has concluded that the text compiler must have been shared and some cooperation took place.1

There is reference to a copy of the map with a page number (20); but this has not been substantiated. While Walker is known as the publisher of a number of part-works and of the London and County Journal, nothing is known of Samuel Simpson.

Size 150 x 195 mm.  English Miles (20 = 50 mm).

DEVON SHIRE (CaOS). Compass (Eb). The Arms of Devon Shire (De).

1. 1744 The Agreeable Historian, Or the Compleat English Traveller  
  London. R Walker. (1744). H204.
  The Agreeable Historian, Or the Compleat English Traveller  
  London. R Walker. 1746.2 CLXXXIV, H204, B.

 [1] Donald Hodson; County Atlases of the British Isles Vol. II; Tewin Press; 1989; p.42ff.

 [2] The copy in the British Library lacks the map of Devon.

For a full account of Thomas Cox’s Magna Britannia, see Magna Britannia: Robert Morden´s smaller series of maps.