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16th Century
17th Century
18th Century
19th Century

Maps for a Small Country

An exhibition of historical maps and atlases of Scotland,
held in Glasgow University Library

18th Century


MARTIN, Martin.
A New Map of the Western Isles of Scotland. In a Description of the Western Islands of Scotland. London: 1703. Engraved by Herman Moll.
424x335mm. Scale l'':13.3mls
Mu3 - y.25

In 1698, Martin Martin travelled with John Adair on his surveying expedition to the north west of Scotland. During the summer months, Adair surveyed the west coast of Ross, Skye and the Western Isles from Lewis to Uist, producing a journal, seven charts and two sheets of views of the coasts, which were to form the second volume of his Description of the Sea Coast and Islands of Scotland. Martin was factor to Lord MacLeod on Skye and may have acted as interpreter for Adair. Certainly, he was also involved in the animosity between Adair and Sibbald, who wrote of Martin's description of the Isle of Skye, ''It heth him coast much paines & expense, and John Adair in steed of rewarding him as he promised, heth treated him scurvily''. A map of St. Kilda accompanied Martin's A
Late Voyage to St. Kilda which was published in 1698. Whether Martin was the original cartographer of these charts or made use of Adair's manuscripts cannot be ascertained but this depiction is completely different from those of Mercator and Blaeu and it was to be the basis of maps by Moll and Kitchin.

Dr. Samuel Johnson's father put Martin's book into his hands in his youth and the impression it made upon him was one of the influences which led to his own
celebrated tour of the Hebrides in 1773.

Bibliography: MOORE, J.N. ''Scottish cartography in the later Stuart era, 1660-1714”
Scottish Tradition, vol. 14, 1986-87, pp28-44.

Detail of map showing some of
the Western Isles.
Click on image to enlarge.
  MOLL, Herman. Galloway contains, The Shires of Wigton and Kirkcudbright
In Scotland Delineated; or Thirty Six New and correct Maps of North Britain.
London: 1745. Plate 3.
195 x 265mm. Scale 1'':7.5mIs.
Mu5 - g.25

Herman Moll was a Dutchman who arrived in London about 1680 and lived there until his death in 1732. Initially, he worked for other publishers but then began his own engraving business, publishing sheet maps and complete atlases. His industry enabled him to dominate the English map market in the early decades of the eighteenth century. Moll acknowledges Gordon, Pont and Adair as his sources in this companion to his description of England and Wales but comparison with earlier maps shows this to be a poorer depiction with inferior engraving and fewer place names than appear in Blaeu's atlas.

This edition of the atlas is merely a re-issue of the 1725 original with a new, re-dated title page which omits Moll's name. It comprises two general maps and thirty-four maps of shires or districts, each with a plate number. The Blaeu atlas was unwieldy and long out of print whereas this publication was relatively portable. It is likely that the publishers' aim was to exploit the interest in Scotland following the Jacobite Rebellion by their ''new'' maps and a 1745 date, pricing it at the 1725 level of 8 shillings.

Bibliography: HODSON, D. County Atlases of the British Isles Published After 1703: a bibliography. VoI.1 . 1984. pp127-132.

Detail of map showing the
shire of Wigton.
Click on image to enlarge.
Detail of map showing plan of the battle of Gladsmuir.
Click on image to enlarge.
ANON. Plan of the Battle of Gladsmuir.
In The gentleman's Magazine, vol 15: 1745.
105 x 140mm.
Stack Periodicals.

A diagrammatic sketch of the battle of Prestonpans on 21st September, 1745 where a renowned Highland charge scattered the inexperienced Hanoverian troops and dragoons under Sir John Cope in a matter of minutes. This map accompanies a published letter from one of Cope's officers and illustrates the troop dispositions and actions. It is one of at least seven maps of the engagement published that year to meet the demand for information from the public.
  KITCHIN, Thomas. The Islands of Shetland drawn from the best authorities. In Geographia Scotiae: being new and correct maps of all the counties and islands in the Kingdom of Scotland. London: 1749. Plate 32.
145 x 165mm. Scale 1'':13.3mls.
Bf73 - e.9

Kitchin was an important London engraver and publisher who also held the post of Hydrographer to King George II. His output of atlases and maps covered a working period of more than thirty years and included more than a dozen maps of Scotland, this first pocket atlas and a series of Scottish county maps published in the London Magazine between 1763 and 1781. His 1745 engraving of John Elphinstone's map of Scotland marked a notable advance in accuracy, particularly of the mainland, and the 32 maps of this atlas are all clearly based on this depiction, with some additional names from Moll. It is interesting to note that the three maps of the Lothian counties are all noted as ''surveyed by Mr. Adair'' and may be related to the Cooper engravings of c1735-37.

ROYAL SCOTTISH GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY, The Early Maps of Scotland to 1850. Vol.1: 1973, pp.93-4.

Detail of map showing
part of the Shetland Islands.
Click on image to enlarge.
  SMEATON, John. A General Map of the Country betwixt the Forth & Clyde extracted from a map of Sterling Shire &c by William Edgar 1745, shewing the Course of the intended canals. [1764] Engraved by Andrew Bell.
335 x 580mm. Scale 1'':1.5mls.
Mu25 - y.28
Detail of map showing one of the possible
routes for the Forth - Clyde canal.
Click on image to enlarge.


While the early stimulus to private land surveying came from the rural and agricultural sectors, the development of industry and trade in the later eighteenth century attracted surveyors to the large new engineering projects of the age. This map accompanies Smeaton's original report concerning the practicalities and expense of a Forth - Clyde canal, published in 1764. He suggested two possible routes via the valleys of the Bonny and Kelvin and, alternatively, by way of the Forth, Endrick and Leven. The former route, following the line of the Antonine Wall, was begun in 1768 - the most important engineering work of its kind to that date. Financial delays hampered its completion until 1790, under the supervision of Robert Whitworth, at an approximate cost of £330,000 for its 35 miles. This plan shows both the proposed routes and is based on the Edgar county map of 1743. Edgar himself was an able cartographer with a fine plan of the city of Edinburgh (1742) and several manuscripts to his name. His death in 1746 while serving with Cumberland's army cut short a promising career.
  [BARRIE, James]. A Plan of Part of ye City of Glasgow & Course of the Burn Molendinar.. [1764]
500 x 435mm. Scale 1'':50 yards
RB3078 (previously Bh23 - b.5)

Although not covering the whole of the city, this unsigned plan is of great significance in being probably the earliest surviving map of Glasgow at a detailed scale. Prepared as proof for the Magistrates and Town Council in an action for damages at the Court of Session, the map, in association with the surviving case papers and a printed copy of the process, throws much light on life in the mid-eighteenth century town. After a protracted litigation, the final judgement ruled in favour of the pursuer, William Fleming, by which the council were ordered to pay damages. From the depositions of the witnesses, it can be ascertained that James Barrie, an experienced land surveyor, mapped the ground in December 1764 including ''the lying of the Streets and Grounds adjacent thereto". Barrie had been employed by the Council on several occasions and was later to be appointed the town's first official surveyor.

Detail of map showing the route of the Molendinar Burn to the River Clyde.
Click on image to enlarge.

  The plan concentrates on the Molendinar Burn and its various dams but also indicates much of the town area about Glasgow Cross. naming many significant buildings. Flemings final account of 1767 lists the expenditure of £4-12-6 as half payment for the engraving of two plans, the magistrates meeting the other half. When this is compared with his solicitor's fee for ''a very frequent and troublesome correspondence'' of 15 guineas, the relative expense of producing such maps can be realised.

Detail of map showing part of the
estate lands on the western shore
 of Loch Lomond.
Click on image to enlarge.

ROSS, Charles. South Port Toumnahurich, Shigartan, Hillhouse, Tyna Crove, Tyinloine, Miln of Finlays, Ross Finlays, Shantron, Shimore, Shibeg, Blaruile. In A Book of Maps of the Estate of Luss belonging to Sir James Colquhoun Baronet surveyed & planed by Charles Ross. 1776.
Manuscript. 290 x 480mm.  
MS Gen 1006

The career of Charles Ross is typical of many of the land surveyors of Scotland in the second half of the eighteenth century. Originally a factor, he worked as an estate and county map-maker, nurseryman and architect. The author of a guidebook to Loch Lomond, he was also interested in local antiquities. Land surveyors played a significant part in the agricultural changes of the time, particularly in such matter as division of commonties and the move from infield-outfield systems to a more geometrical field pattern.
    Ross's style gives the impression that he was largely self taught and certainly his work tends towards plainness in design. This plan comes from one of a series of books of estate maps of lands on the western shores of Loch Lomond prepared for the Colquhoun family. As can be seen in the occasional note, Ross does not merely record the land but gives some indication of its quality and, elsewhere, his reports include recommendations as to the way improvements should be made.

Bibliography: ADAMS, I.H. ''The land surveyor and his influence on the Scottish landscape" Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol. 84, 1968, pp248-255.

Detail of map showing the road from Aberdeen.
Click on image to enlarge.

TAYLOR, George and SKINNER, Andrew. The Road continued from Aberdeen by Old Meldrum to Banff. In Survey and Maps of the Roads of North Britain, or Scotland. London, 1776. Plate 31.
448 x 186mm. Scale 1'':9 furlongs
HX 82

George Taylor and Andrew Skinner were surveyors in Aberdeen who together produced a number of road-maps, including a companion volume for Ireland in 1778. This work was the first to show Scottish roads in strip map form and contains 61 plates, generally divided into 3 strips at a scale of about one inch to one mile, giving in all over 3,000 miles of road. On each map, each mile is marked and an impression of the visible topography indicated. The atlas was supported financially by the Commissioners for the Forfeited Estates but problems of raising money, mostly through inadequate subscriptions, were to dog the surveyors' careers. They afterwards moved to North America and served as surveyors with the army. A small octavo abstract of this survey with lists of the roads and the distances of settlements from Edinburgh and each other was also produced in 1776.

Bibliography; ADAMS, I.H. “George Taylor, a surveyor o' pairts'' Imago Mundi, vol.27, 1975, pp55-63. R.S.G.S. op cit pp122-3.

ARMSTRONG, Mostyn John. County of Lanark. In A Scotch Atlas; or description of the Kingdom of Scotland.. divided into counties, with the subdivisions of sherifdoms... London, 1777. Plate 13.
Engraved by H. Ashby
190 x 140mm. Scale 1'':8mls.
Mu11 - a.23

Mostyn Armstrong worked in association with his father Andrew to produce a series of county maps of Scotland, including Berwickshire in 1771 and Ayrshire in 1775. It has been suggested that the son was not a particularly capable surveyor - only one county survey was carried out on his own, possibly with some other assistance, and his other works were often criticised. Richard Gough had a low opinion of the Scotch Atlas: ''his pretension to actual survey is entirely chimerical: he copied others, in grafting mistakes of his own, and run over the counties in a strange cursory manner...Armstrong has attended to his own and the engravers profit more than that of the public or their information”¹. The atlas appears to have been produced after his move to Norfolk in 1776. It comprises two general maps, a map of the Edinburgh district and twenty-seven county sheets, each accompanied by a short description. The major road network is indicated but hills remain inadequately represented. Despite the contemporary disparagement of the volume, two later editions appeared in 1787 and 1794.

Bibliography: R.S.G.S. op cit pp118-120. STRAWHORN, J. ''An introduction to Armstrongs' map'' in Ayrshire at the time of Burns being Collections of the Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 2nd series, vol. 5 1959, pp232-255. GOUGH, R. British Topography. Vol.2, 1780. p588

Detail of map showing area around the town of Lanark.
Click on image to enlarge.

Detail of map showing
road into Dunbarton.
Click on image to enlarge.

RICHARDSON, Thomas. Road continued from South Cairndow-lnn to Dunbarton. ln Guide to Loch Lomond, Loch Long, Loch Fine and Inveraray. 2nd edition. Glasgow, 1799. Plate 6.
175 x 125mm. Scale c1'':2mls.
Bo5 - k.19

By the end of the eighteenth century, Scotland was becoming a fashionable tourist area. The travel writings of Dr. Johnson and Pennant, combined with improved roads and a more stable society opened up a once obscure and hostile part of the British Isles to the leisured of society. With this development came a growth in the number of guide books and histories of particular parts of the country. Several surveyors including Charles Ross, were to publish such literature, often illustrated with their own maps. Richardson was an estate surveyor working largely in Lanarkshire. He produced a plan of Hamilton in 1800, a detailed map of Glasgow and its environs in 1795 and a travelling map of Scotland, with the principal roads and distances, in 1803. This road map shows part of the guide's route along the northern shores of the Clyde and, like most strip maps, concentrates on features on or close to the route.