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Types of Historical Maps (cont.)

Town Plans                         View image of Ralph Agas's plan of Oxford 1578

Town plans were first produced by Elizabethan cartographers alongside Estate and

County maps but it was the town plans contained in Speed’s county series of 1612 that set the standard for those to follow. Such plans frequently attempted an element of three dimensional mapping purporting to be a ‘bird’s-eye’ or perspective view. A copy of an 1884 publication by the Oxford Historical Society entitled Old Plans of Oxford can be viewed online at the
National Library of Australia. It contains 16th and 17th century town plans of Oxford city.


Transport Maps                View the interactive Gough Map               

The term transport maps may include road, rail and coastal maps. These remained important to aid private or commercial travel with earliest forms from medieval times but largely with roots in the sixteenth century. Such maps could be produced for a specific route in strips or as a general map of available lines of communication. The Gough Map, dating from around 1360 is the oldest route map of Great Britain. Also known as the Bodleian Map, its history and provenance can be reviewed on the Bodleian Map Room website.


Ordnance Survey

The Ordnance Survey (OS) had its origin in the need for accurate military mapping in the 18th centuryand was created as a branch of the Board of Ordnance. The first published OS maps covering Oxfordshire were surveyed between 1872-1880 at a scale of 25 inches to the mile. Examples can be viewed via the Bodleian Library Map Room on-line. Ordnance Survey historic maps are available on-line from Edina. A substantial subscription is needed to access this site and is largely limited to a number of educational establishments and professional organisations. These include Abingdon and Witney College, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, Oxford Brookes University, The University of Oxford and The Open University. Oxfordshire OS maps are available at the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies and local libraries at Abingdon, Banbury, Didcot, Henley, Wantage and Witney.

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