Yesterday evening at the Senedd eight new pieces of documentary heritage were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World UK Register. The only item from Wales to be included was The Survey of the Manors of Crickhowell & Tretower by Robert Johnson (1587), held here at the National Library of Wales.
This survey is a part of the Badminton Collection held in the Library’s Map Collection. Like many other such estate surveys of the period it includes a textual description of the estate, its extent, its properties and tenants; unlike most other surveys this survey also includes a set of maps produced as part of the survey. This is the earliest example of a grand estate atlas designed as a coherent volume of decorative estate maps.
The survey contains the earliest extant set of estate maps for Wales and is a unique record of the locality at a particular point in time; its significance lies in the fact that it is the earliest example of its type in existence and therefore acts as a precursor to all later surveys which include maps, most of which did not appear until two centuries later.
At the ceremony, the Librarian Linda Tomos spoke about the Library and I was privileged to be able to give a presentation about the survey to the audience, which included the First Minister Carwyn Jones, who then presented the awards to each institution, including ours, which was collected by the President Rhodri Glyn Thomas.
If you want to see the volume, it is on display in the Peniarth exhibition space for the next few days and the digital version is available on the Library’s website.
This post is also available in: Welsh