New mapping projects come on stream

2019 is proving to be a very busy and productive year for the Historic Towns Trust. As well as completing the Oxford atlas, we are working on three new mapping projects, one of which we expect will lead to a new atlas project.

In the wake of the success of the new Map of Tudor London, decribed below, and the wide interest in mapping the city of London that exists, we have produced on a map of medieval London, presenting a view of how the city looked between about 1270 and 1300.  This was still the city that Geoffrey Chaucer knew. It's religious foundations were still be shaped, and their presence in the city was much less noticeable than it was in 1520, but they were there nonetheless.  The map also includes Westminster around 1290; at that time London and Westminster were even more distinct settlements than they were in 1520, London the seat of commerce and a much larger population, Westminster the seat of the King at Westminster Palace, and the site of England's most significant religious foundation at (Benedictine) Westminster Abbey.  The map was published on October 21st 2019.

As part of the very diverse activities associated with Coventry's status as UK City of Culture in 2021, we are working with a local charity - Medieval Coventry - to publish an Historical Map of Coventry.  Since the Historic Towns Atlas of Coventry was published in 1975, a very great deal of work has been undertaken on the history of the city which was the fourth most important town in medieval England . The city has a rich medieval heritage, and although many buildings were destroyed in the bombing of the Second World War, there are manymedieval  sites still findable in the city which bear testimony to Coventry's wealth and prosperity.  A team under the editorship and guidance of Mark Webb is working on the map, with a view to publication in autumn 2020.  A large grant towards the project has been secured from English Heritage.  The base map is being digitised and then we will be poised for full-scale map production.  The map will be published in 2020.

We're also  working with the Canterbury Christ Church University and Canterbury Archaeological Trust to publish an Historical Map of Canterbury in spring 2020.  The year 2020 marks the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of  Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. As well as its associations with the cathedral, Canterbury has a long and complex history as a settlement in its own right, and the map will summarise on a single sheet the city's history from its Roman foundation until the more recent past.  We aim to proceed to a full atlas after the publication of the map, and much of the work involved in the creation of a map will feed into the atlas publication.

We're also starting a project to map Bristol in 1480, and an enthusiastic team of historians and archaeologists has been assembled in that city to move the project forward.  We're at the fund-raisjng stage in the project, and are optimistic about getting funding for what will be a very exciting map.


London in 1520

The Trust's map of Tudor London - London in about 1520 - is now available!

Based on the very successful map of London which first appeared in Volume III of the atlas series, the map has been completely revised and updated, as well as being expanded to cover a larger geographical area, including parts of Southwark for the first time.

The new edition of the map categorises the buildings of Tudor London (separating out parish churches from other religious buildings; showing the many livery company halls, for example) and is printed in full colour.

The reverse of the sheet has a map of London's wards in 1520 as well as a comprehensive directory of all the streets and buildings shown on the map, complete with grid references.

The map is now on sale, and its recommended retail price is only £8.99 - that's a lot of map for the money!

More information about the map can be found here.


An Historical Map of York published

The Historic Towns Trust has published a new version of its successful Historical Map of York 

The original version was published by Old House Books in 2012 but has been out of print for several years, with frequent requests for it to be made available again. The HTT has now published a new edition, in its Town and City Historical Maps series.

The format is as other T&CHM maps: an OS-style folding card cover containg a folded map sheet. On the reverse, the map sheet carries a gazetteer of the buildings and sites of interest shown on the map, along with an explanation of many of York's street names and a list of the city's churches - more than 45 of them.

The gazetteer is now illustrated in full colour, with many charming and informative images from the extensive collection of paintings and drawings of York held by the York Art Gallery.

The map is now available from bookshops and on-line retailers, priced at £9.99.  More details can be found here.


Celebrations planned for 2019, and ambitious plans for more atlases

In 2019, the Historic Towns Trust is celebrating fifty years since the publication of the first atlas in the series, volume 1 published in 1969.  The trust is planning a number of public events to explain and advertise the work of the HTT and the publications that it produces.  Three major events will be held in 2019 and 2020 in the three constutuent countries of Great Britain: In Aberystwyth, Perth and London.  At this stage, we don't have definite dates for the events, but details will be posted here.  The events will not only highlight what the trust has done and is doing at at the moment, but will also be looking to the future.

The Trust has ambitious plans to produce atlases of a large number of towns and cities across Great Britain, and to address the relative lack of towns in Wales and Scotland that have been covered to date.  A long list of possible towns and cities has been drawn up, including not only Welsh and Scottish towns but industrial cities in the north of England.  We are now looking at which of those may be suitable for further research and which may lend themsleves to an atlas project.  For an atlas to be produced, a local team has to be assembled and money raised to pay for its production. Given that an atlas costs of the order of £80,000 to £100,000 to produce, each project that we embark on has to be accompanied by a substantial fund-raising campaign, and running such a campaign takes time and patience. We hope that the next atlas in the series will be of Canterbury, as noted above.

The trust is also set to embark on a substantial fundraising campaign to increase its core capital, to fund the administration and project management that accompanies its work and which has grown as its output has also increased. To that end, we are delighted that Dr Alice Prochaska has joined the trustees to help head development and fundraising.  Dr Prochaska was until recently Principal of Somerville College, Oxford and is also an historian of repute.  We are delighted that she has offered to lend her substantial experience and expertise to the trust.

Using atlas material

The Historic Towns Trust is always pleased when researchers use maps from the Historic Towns Atlas volumes for research and illustrative purposes.  Recently, we've given permission to use two maps of Cambridge from volume II to be adapted as illustrations for a collection of essays on Commemoration in Medieval Cambridge. We've also been asked if the map of London in 1520 can be used and enhanced with additional information on legal inns in the Holborn area.

Further details on how to ask permission for use of maps can be found here.  If it's for a legitimate purpose that complements the HTT's charitable aims, we usually say 'yes'!