1604 map of Lancashire discovered at Rylands


A unique 17th century map of Lancashire found at John Rylands Library has been placed on display for the first time in 400 years.

The unique 17th century map found at the John Rylands Library

The unique 17th century map found at the John Rylands Library

The Elizabethan hand-drawn document, which shows towns and villages including Diddsbury (Didsbury), Garton (Gorton), and Stopford (Stockport) – provides a fascinating glimpse into centuries past.

The map was created by cartographer Herald William Smith and has lain virtually untouched in the Manchester library’s collection for nearly 40 years.

The spidery script – which could almost be taken from JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings – shows that present day districts were known by different handles during the time of William Shakespeare.

The map, which shows the Rivers Tame and Irk in striking detail, includes districts such as Straingwaish (Strangeways), Wordsall (Ordsall), Edgcroft (Agecroft). and Prestroich (Prestwich).

It is thought the map was made between 1602 and 1604 – long before Manchester became a thriving industrial powerhouse.

The document was bequeathed to the Manchester University-run library by Leonard Penna, a collector from Cornwall.

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