Posted - 01-02-2018 No Comments

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#LoveMaps – Gerald Morgan

Gerald Morgan, Historian, Teacher and Author takes part in our #LoveMaps campaign.

A 1702 Map of Wales

In 1697 was published the first edition of The History of Wales, by William Wynne (1671-1704), priest and fellow of Jesus College, Oxford. He lived in Oxford at least until 1702, when he was given the rectory of Llanfachraeth, Anglesey, but seems never to have been there. The book’s title-page acknowledges that Wynne had taken the text of The Historie of Cambria (1584) and tweaked and tidied it. The volume was reissued in 1702, with further editions in 1774, 1812 and 1832. The text is laborious to read, but this was the only history of Wales available until William Warrington published his substantial and highly readable The History of Wales in 1786, with subsequent editions.

The 1702 reissue of Wynne’s work is what concerns me today. In it there is a map of Wales, the first ever to appear in a book about the country, though the plate had been used once before in a book of maps of the counties of England. The map was the work of John Sellers. It’s small – 14cm by 12cm, so cannot be compared with the splendid map by Humphrey Lhuyd. Shortage of space forced Sellers to abbreviate the names of eight of the twelve counties of Wales; Monmouthshire is outside the Welsh border on Sellers’s map.

A few names have been horribly mistreated, e.g. Carnarvan, Laninthevery (Llanymddyfri, i.e. Llandovery), Bradsey for Bardsey, etc. Anglesey is strangely misshapen. But to me the great virtue of the map lies in the proud words THE WELSH SEA across what is known as the Irish Sea. I would be happy to renounce the name of Cardigan Bay if we could restore Sellers’s title.

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