A taste of what’s to come

Excerpt from the 1798 Yates map of Staffordshire, 2 inches to the mile (about 1:110,000 scale) – click for a large version.

I have new (old) maps. Scored by top local history operative [Howmuch?], they’re big and need scanning properly, which I’ll try for this week. Just look at the excerpt above – Brownhills at the turn of the nineteenth century. The draftsmanship and cartography are incredible, and the names. We can see the nomenclature of a whole area in evolution. You may need to save the image, it’s very large. Have fun…

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9 Responses to A taste of what’s to come

  1. stymaster says:

    That’s fascinating. First thing I spotted is that the Daw End branch canal is there and goes to Hay Head, but the later Rushall Canal is missing.

  2. Jim says:

    Bob have you seen the excavations on the turf island opposite the pub the foundations of the old turf inn have been uncovered I think this is the building marked on this map on the Watling street directly to the left of the first letter O in Offlow. I wonder what’s happening there is it being developed?

  3. D.Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    no sign of Frog Hall on this map..opposite the Rising Sun or just along the Watling Street…what happened to Hogley Lodge since 1798..sort of where the Saxon gold was unearthed? and a Cats Hall by the High Street Toll bar?
    Good to see that Jockey Fields, and the Coppy Wood(s) ( Goblins Wood) seem to be SSI now.
    Turnpike tollgates yet to show on OS maps in 1798 ?
    When did contour lines make their first appearance on OS maps.Does anyone know? at the same time as trig points?
    David Evans

    • Hi David

      This is a sketch map. Despite the apparent accuracy it’s not surveyed in any meaningful geometric way, and many things on it are figurative rather than absolute. Places like Aldershawe are quite wrong, and there’s an awfully odd kink in the Chester Road, Hence I suspect Hogley Lodge is probably what became Warrenhouse or even the lock cottage or Long Pound. If one overlays this on a current map, one suspects the rolling distortions are more to do with visual balance in the drafting than meaningful topographic representation.

      I pointed out that Jockey Meadows were an SSSI a week or so to some apparent surprise and scepticism. I confirmed this on a post on my 365daysofbiking mini-blog here:


      The click-through link from that post takes you to the page on Walsall Council’s website detailing the astonishing range of species there.

      I also point out that Coppice Woods, or Goblin’s Wood, is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation rather than a SSSI. There’s an important distinction. The Jockey Meadows SSSI was notified in 1994, 17 years ago, and demonstrates the need for a forward looking approach to our environment. Few of the locals who aren’t actively engaged with ecological issues realise what a treasury the area is.

      This is Yates map, not an Ordnance Survey map. This would have taken a decade or more to compile, and the O.S. didn’t come into existence until 1791, and for the first few decades was more concerned with strategic mapping than general countrywide coverage. It would take some 70 years before there was any cohesive, geometrically and catographically accurate mapping record, which we see as the First Edition, which marks the tollgates a section of which I posted a couple of weeks ago. Nothing on this map should be taken as evidence, although the temptation to forge new histories out of it seems to remain strong. It’s a fragment, like every other historical record. and should be treated with suspicion until other records confirm.

      Turnpikes and the like weren’t really of much interest to Yates, who was compiling a gazetteer, really, a beautiful artwork detsiling road distances and prominent features. He was appealing to a different group to the later surveying geeks of the government and military.

      Contour lines didn’t really appear much until the Second Edition, around the turn of the 20th century. They weren’t really terribly accurate, and so the retriangulation of Britain was started in the 1930’s, the first trig pillars didn’t appear until 1935, as part of this process.

      Best wishes


  4. D.Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    interesting to see colour in this map! Were the lodges hunting lodges, perhaps? ..connection to “Hay” ..?The production process also ….for the time..I wonder how many of Yates maps went into production. Thanks for the info.
    Nowadays we only have to “click “( and that’s a challenge!) on Google Earth and we can zoom into a town square, or whatever we want. This Yates map would have been very advanced for its time !

    David Evans

  5. Pedro says:

    The draftsmanship and cartography are incredible indeed!

    Thanks for all the hard work in sharing, Pedro

  6. Pingback: Unfolding the map « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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