80 John Palmer / John Cary 1813


The first Ordnance Survey of Devonshire was published in 1809 (74) and soon it was being used by map publishers as the basis for all large-scale maps. Even John Cary, who is credited with carrying out his own surveys on behalf of the Postmaster General, exploited the Ordnance Survey work and produced a large-scale map of Devon clearly labelling his work as Reduced from a Survey made by Order of the Board of Ordnance. The area covered is that of the original survey.

The Board of Ordnance objected to its work being copied and the Master General banned sales of the ordnance maps1. However, the map sellers were able to argue successfully that as the work was carried out at public expense they had a duty and a right to reproduce the work at reduced sizes and on scales of their choosing.

Cary’s map was produced on four plates initially printed in unlettered form. These were probably issued for approval and for others to add local information. The only known part (North Devon) was sent to Lord Clifford of Ugbrooke House. Robert Edward Clifford was chairman of the committee for the internal defence of Devon at that time.2 The map showed rivers and roads but was otherwise without any topographical features. Hartland Point is shown but nothing west of Stoke and only half of Ford to the east. The map is heavily hachured and the sea coast shaded. Exeter Canal is shown but not the Grand Western.

The signature is that of J Palmer about whom litttle is known. John Palmer was an engraver working in London at about this time (fl.1799-1818). He was employed at the Tower of London in 1808 to work on Ordnance Survey maps,  but only as a "secondary engraver". Hence, he would have been at the Board of Ordnance about the date that Devon was being engraved and in a position to do a "copy" for John Cary. Additionally an Isaac Palmer was living at the same address in Store Street at the same time. Isaac was also employed by the Admiralty during a period when John Cooke was known to be working there: Cooke, who lived in Stonehouse from c. 1813, later produced a large number of maps of Plymouth.3 George Frederick Cruchley, who took over Cary’s business, reissued this map of Devon as Cruchley’s Reduced Ordnance Map of Devonshire. Measuring 1200 x 925 mm it was initially believed to be a close copy of the Cary map. The authors are now certain that this map and the later Cruchley series (see Victorian Maps of Devon, 138) issued from 1859 are from the same plates, but with additional material.

Size 1218 x 931 mm.                                                                                                             SCALE OF MILES (12 = 150 mm).

A Topographical Map OF DEVONSHIRE, Including parts of the adjacent Counties REDUCED from a Survey made by Order of the Board of Ordnance Under the direction of Col. Mudge. LONDON: Published by JOHN CARY, June 4th. 1813. Imprint: Etched by J. Palmer (CeOS).

1. 1813  Blank plate. Only North Devon is known in this state.  (P).
2. 1813 Dissected map, mounted on linen. Title as above. DevA.

[1] Toward the end of the Napoleon war there was a halt to sales of maps including the OS sheets.

[2] W Ravenhill; The South West in the Eighteenth-Century Re-mapping of England; in Maps and History in South-West England; Ed. Barker, K and Kain, R; University of Exeter Press; 1991.

[3] For information on Isaac and John Palmer (presumably they were related), see Worms and Baynton-Williams British Map Engravers. For information on Cooke see Kit Batten; John Cooke; privately printed monograph; is available online.