Thomas Badeslade and William Toms, I742

This unusual small map of Dorset, measuring 14.5 x 14 cms (6 x 5.5 ins) comes from a pocket-size atlas, published in 1742, called Chororgraphia Britanniae containing a set of maps of all the counties in England and Wales. The verbose preamble states: ‘This Collection (conveying a more comprehensive Idea of South Britain than any thing hitherto publish‘d) was first Drawn and compiled into a Pocket Book by Order and for the Use of his late Majesty KING GEORGE I by Thomas Badeslade Surveyor and Engineer, and now neatly Engrav;d by Will. Henry Toms.”

The claim that the atlas was ‘more comprehensive’ seems to be justified. The 42 county maps are engraved to a high standard. all towns and important villages (including Charmouth), together with roads and rivers. The ‘forked lightning’ effect for rivers persists from 16th and 17th century cartography, as do the ‘molehills’ for uplands. Following a pattern set in the Owen and Bowen maps twenty years earlier, the county title is placed outside the printed border.

A compass rose is positioned on the lightly stippled area to the north of the county. A strip of darker shading around the boundary has the effect of throwing the county into relief. The sea, by contrast is completely blank. except for shoreline ripples, a new cartographic convention, which carried on into the 19th century.

To the left of each map, within the printed border. there is a wealth of information giving the number of members returned to Parliament (shown with asterisks on the map following John Bayly’s 1773 map) the number of boroughs, market towns and parishes, and market days and fairs, only a handful of which still endure.

This is probably the first map of the county to show Dorchester’s distance from London alongside its name. However, since a standard length of a mile had not yet been adopted by all map-makers, the 97 miles mentioned is a considerable underestimate compared to the true (google) distance 127 miles.

Source: David Beaton, Dorset Maps, 2001, The Dovecote Press

Technical Notes

A single digital photograph of an original.

-> zoomable map

<- back to maps