[From Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol 3]


31st March, 1932.

Early Maps of the Isle of Man.

The annual Presidential address to the members of this Society might well consist of an intensive review of the past year's work. This, however, would cover much of the ground which has already been traversed in the 'Report of the General Committee.'

If I may say anything about the activities of this Society during the past year, it will be to express my satisfaction that, after many efforts to do so, we were at last enabled to visit the Calf Islet, in September last.

It was when looking up the early maps of the Isle of Man in connection with this excursion, that I fell on much interesting matter, as it appears to me, and I determined to make this the subject of my address to you to-day.

It is usually accepted, that Durham's map of Man, dated 1595, and first published by Speed in 1605, is the earliest known map of this Island. This is stated in Vol. XVIII. of the Manx Society's publications, and, although probably true if we consider only separate and special maps of Man, it is not strictly correct if we do not exclude maps such as Christopher Saxton's general map of England and Wales (1583), which includes the Isle of Man on a scale sufficiently large to show much detail.

Saxton is often called the father of English Topography. His map of this Island is, however, quite inaccurate. The Island is shown to be of oval form, with a width, according to the scale, almost double what it should be. The river at Douglas is joined to the Silverburn at Castletown. Many of the parish and other placenames, however, can be easliy indentified; and, so far as they can be,. are correctly placed.

The late Sir George Fordham wrote, in 1927, "I suppose there is no record of Christopher Saxton having visited and surveyed the Island. It would be very interesting if anything could be found-about 1580, I should imagine."

Judging by the outline of the Isle of Man as shown on the 1583 map, it would seem improbable that Saxton surveyed this Island at that period.

The oval form of the Island was followed by many other cartographers of the period. In the year 1569, Mercator published his map of.the world on the projection which has made his name famous. It was Mercator who introduced the term "Atlas" for a collection of maps. In 1570, an atlas, which he had long been preparing, was ready for printing; but, as he did not wish to injure the sale of a similar work published by his friend Abraham Ortelius at Antwerp in that year, he postponed printing, with the result that Mercator's Atlas was not actually published until 1595-the year after his death, when it was issued by his son, Rumold Mercator, at Duisburg.

The Atlas, when published, contained a sheet showing the Isle of Man in oval form, following Saxton, together with Anglesey and many of the western counties of England and Wales. During the year 1604, Judocus Hondius bought the plates which had belonged to Mercator, whose atlas he re-issued, in 1606, with fifty new maps. Hondius, also a Dutchman, was an engraver who lived in London for many years, and eventually settled in Amsterdam, where he died in 1611, being succeeded in the business by his son, Henry Hondius.

Several editions of Mercator's atlas were issued by Henry Hondius, the same plate for the Isle of Man area being used in 1613; for the French and German editions in 1633; and also for Henry Hexham's translation of Mercator into English, 1636. A portion of the plate, including the Isle of Man area, had, however, now been erased, and a reduced copy of Durham's map been substituted for the oval-shaped island formerly shown.

Ortelius' Atlas, The Theatrum, first issued in 1570, shows on the map of England an Isle of Man rather like Saxton's. This was repeated in the numerous later editions of The Theatrum. The oval form of the Island also occurs on what is known as the Quartermaster's Map, engraved by Hollar in 1644. On one copy of the last mentioned map, preserved in the British Museum, the Isle of Man is shown on a detached plate.

The Isle of Man has been included on almost every important map or chart of England and Wales since the reign of Elizabeth. I have not been able to obtain any biographical details regarding Thos. Durham, whose map of Man, first issued in 1605, was included in Speed's "Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine" of 1611. There is an impression among English students of cartography that Durham was a Manxman ; but this would seem to be disproved by his treatment of some of the Manx place-names. He is likely to have been formerly employed as an assistant in one of the large surveys, which were in progress in England and Ireland about that time, before surveying this Island. On a copy of Bleau's map, published by M. A. Quiggin, 52, North Quay, Douglas, about 1845, it ís stated, "First engraven by Thomas Durham, 1595, for Speed's. History of Great Britain. Copied from Bleau's Atlas, published at. Amsterdam in 1658 for Mr Train by his friend Wm. Dobie." This would imply that Durham was an engraver only; a view which is not usually accepted.

The statement on Durham's map, "Performed by John Speed," probably merely refers to the fact that Speed adapted the map for the purposes of his atlas.

Durham's map was issued many times, both singly and in atlases, from 1605 onwards. It is important from the fact that. it supplied a model which was followed by almost every map-maker of the Isle of Man for over a century afterwards. The Island and surrounding coasts occupy a sheet of fifteen by twenty inches. In the text issued with the reap, it is stated that the Island is in form, "long and narrow." Both these characteristcis have been overaccentuated, so much so as to impair the accuracy of the map. It must be remembered that- the old English mile of 2428 yards was used at the date of Durham's survey.

It will be noticed that there is a chapel shown on the Calf islet. Spanish Head is indicated by "Spalorek," and Kentraugh is written "Caltregh."

"Min Hugh," indicates the ancient mines at Bradda Head. Chaloner mentions that "ore of lead is near unto the sea at Mine Hough, and has been experimented by Edward Christian (Governor 1628-35) to hold much silver, and that veins of this mine, by its 'brightness, may be plainly discovered in the- rocks towards the sea" Poyll Vaaish is written "Polt Basle." St. Kathren's Chapel has -completely disappeared since Durham's time, when it was apparently a conspicuous object. Friary Bemaken, written "Friry Bewmaken," is also prominent on the map. Kirk Marown appears as "Kirk Mortown" ; while Dalby is spelt as it is still sometimes pronounced"Dauby."

The name "Whetston" appears in the neighbourhood of Snaefell. This name• is on many subsequent copies of Durham's map, s,,metimes varying to Whitston, and Whiston. It may apply to the prominent white stone known as the "Sharagh Vane." Bishop's Court is written "Court." Shellagh --Point and Jurby Head were apparently prominent headlands in 1595.

The Lhen is shown as an extensive sheet of water with a good entrance from the sea. Ballalough, and Dlalar Lough, have both disappeared since Durham's time.

Judging by the position of Lezayre Church, the course of the Sulby River, as shown, is a matter of general inaccuracy in the map. The hamlet of Cranston is prominent.

Only two bridges are shown on Durham's map - at Douglas, and at Ballasalla. The fort at Douglas is sketched in position. and parish boundaries are roughly indicated.

The ornament on the map is well worth notice. The shading of the sea areas is a characteristic distinctly Dutch in origin, and shows the influence of the great school of Dutch and Flemish cartographers founded not many years before; although in the first edition by Speed, 1605 [actually this was a proof state and such maps are very rare], the sea areas were unshaded. Representatives of the four countries bordering the Irish Sea are seen riding curious sea monsters, and displaying the standard of their respective nations. Relations between England and Scotland had been none too cordial during the period before 1595-only eight years had elapsed since Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded -and the figures representing these two nations, each bearing a Royal standard„ seem to approach each other from opposite sides of the Island, as though each laid claim to it. The ships shown in combat, too, also appear to display the rival ensigns of St. George and St. Andrew.

The United Kingdom (of England and Scotland) was inaugurated in 1603, before Durham's map was published by Speed, and an appropriate coat of arms is shown in the north-west margin of the map.

Durham's map, after the first edition by Speed of 1605, always; appears with the sea areas shaded; and up to 1662, there is no map-seller's name on the map. In 1666, and subsequently, mapsellers' names appear.

The map "Mona Insula," issued in the Novus Atlas by Joannes Jansson, Amsterdam, 1646, is a copy of Durham's map, and has little original matter on it outside the ornament-which is interesting, as showning that horsemen were employed to assist Surveyors in the early days of map making. The map is in the earliest issue of the atlas, and in the fourth volume.

Bleau's atlas was also issued from Amsterdam in 1658, and contained the map "Mona"-another copy of Durham. This atlas has an elaborate frontispiece, worthy of inspection. The artist has endeavoured to indicate the races from whom the English have descended.

The small map included in Daniel King's "Vale Royal" also follows Durham; but there are many additional details. These are said to have been supplied by Chaloner, who was appointed Governor of the Island when it was held by Lord Fairfax during the, Commonwealth. The arms of Lord Fairfax are shown in the southeast margin.

The Chickens (rocks) make their first appearance on the map,, and there is an attempt to show the sheadings. But the most interesting feature of the Vale Royal map is what I believe to have been an effort made by Chaloner to sketch in some of the roads or bridleways of the Island.

The appearance of roads as a settled and uniform feature of maps is usually dated at about the middle of the eighteenth century, though roads appeared on special maps, and on a few general maps, for a considerable time before this. About the same date as Durham's map of the Isle of Man (1595), roads began to make their appearance on a few of the county maps in the South of England. They were still quite a rare feature on any map in 1656, when the Vale Royal was published, even sketched roughly as they are on the map of the Isle of Man. It is possible that Chaloner had seen roads shown similarly on continental maps, where the subject had received some little more attention.

There was not sufficient detail on the map to enable Chaloner to sketch in the bridleways with much accuracy-some of the routes shown are, therefore, somewhat difficult to establish on a map of to-day. Other portions of the roads still exist and can be traced. The routes are approximately:-starting from Ronaldsway, Derbyhaven, a track or road goes by way of the bridge at Ballasalla to the Round Table; thence skirting Glen Rushen and the flank of Slieau Whaullian, on to Douglas. Starting off this by the road to Ballawilleykilley, near the present Parish Church of Marown (the point of departure being more clearly indicated on a subsequent map by Phillip Lea), a road goes over Cronk Macaillyn; thence by the Lharghee Ruy to the west of Colden and Slieau ny Maggle ; thence east of Sartfell, Slieau Freoaghane, and perhaps west of Slieau Dhoo-descending to the side of the ancient Ballalough, where a branch road or track leaves for Ramsey; and ending, finally, at the Lhen, which, as I have mentioned, appears to have been a considerable sheet of water at that time.

The sketches engraved by Hollar around the margin of the map, are both novel and interesting. One of them is described as "The Prospect of that which is Cald Charing Cross, where the rare Grotto is," (sic). Was this reference to Charing Cross a joke by Chaloner, or did the Stack remind him of the Cross erected at Charing to Queen Eleanor by Edward I.?

Hollar, the engraver, was born in Bohernia. and carne to England when a young man, where he was later appointed "His Majesty's Designer." His map of England is similarly surrounded by miniature portraits of Kings.

In 1673, Richard Blome issued his "Britannia, or Geographical Description of England," which contained a small map of the Isle of Man. This is again a reduced copy of Durham's map, and bears a dedication to the Earl of Derby. Bishopscourt. is shown on Blome's map as "Sorte."

Another copy of Durham's map was published by P. Schenk and G. Volk, at Amsterdam c. 1690,- entitled "Mona Insula ; vulgo, The Isle of Man" [no it was Jansson's plate reused]; and a similar map was published in Italy, perhaps at Venice, about 1695.

The "Isle of Man," a reduced copy of Durham, included in the same sheet with other British Islands, was published by Phillip Lea in 1695. On this map "Spalorek" still appears, but "Spanish Head" is also written near to it. The names Cuterdon (Kitterland), Derby Bay, and Derby Fort appear. "Snafeld" is written with the name "Snawble" near it, and this is copied on to subsequent maps.

We now come to a definite change in the coastal outline of the Isle of Man, as shown on charts and maps. Capt. Greenville Collins, a younger brother of Trinity House, was given charge of the Merlin yacht in 1681, and ordered to survey the coasts of the Kingdom. This occupied seven years-charts being published from time to time as they were ready. One of these charts, on a small scale, dedicated to Sir John Lowther, and showing portions of the coasts of England, Wades, and Scotland, together with the Isles of Man and Anglesey, was published in 1689.

All the charts were issued collectively in a large folio, under the title of "Great Britain's Coasting Pilot," in 1693. They were printed by a namesake, Freeman Collins, who may have been a relative of Capt. Collins. Fortunately, a large scale chart of the Isle of Man waters, dedicated to the Earl of Derby, was included in this marine survey.

The copy of Captain Collins' chart in the Manx Museum, was engraved by Herman Moll, a Dutch cartographer, who, according to the Dictionary of National Biography, came to London about the year 1698. Moll could not, therefore, have engraved any of the early issues of Capt. Collins' charts, and the Museum copy probably appeared in 1724, when Moll published a large number of maps of England and Wales.

Being a chart, or marine map, constructed for the use of seamen, the prime consideration was the presentation of an accurate view of the coasts, and such details as were required for navigation purposes. Much of the detail shown in the interior of the Island was apparently copied from older maps. The Stack, at Spanish Head, still appears as "Charing Cross." Ballaugh Parish Church, "St. Mary's, is shown as St. Ballaugh. There are a few new details-bridges are shown at Castletown, and at Peel; the "Barrow" (sic.) is indicated south of the Calf Islet; "Greenwick Head" is written to Santan Head.

A sketch of Peel Castle appears at the top right corner of the chart; while in the lower left corner appears a dedicatory tablet, with ornament emblematical of the productiveness of the Island and of the seas surrounding it.

It is interesting to note that one of the original manuscript charts of the Isle of Man waters, by Capt. Collins, R.N., is now in the possession of the Hydrographical Department of the Admiralty.

The new and more accurate outline of the Island furnished by Capt. Collins' marine survey, was quickly adopted by subsequent cartographers.

The coastal form shown on the small map entitled "Man I," which is included in the sheet, "The Smaller Islands in the British Ocean, by Robert Morden," published about 1700, was probably copied from Capt. Collins' Chart. It will be observed that on this small map many of the principal names, such as Ramsey, Maughold, Laxey, Douglas, etc., appear with their modern spelling. Snaefell, however, is written "Snafield," while a short distance from it appear "Snawble" and "Savable." Skyhill is indicated as "Sceafull." This map was also issued with Gibson's Second Edition of Camden's Britannia 1722. The date of Morden's map, 1700, marks a convenient point at which I may close this short, account of the early maps of the Island.

I am indebted to Edward Lynam, Esq., Superintendent, Map Boom, British Museum, for much information; and to A. J. Davidson, Esq., A.R.I.B.A., for permission to reproduce his 1605 Durham map.


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