John Norden - Encyclopedia

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JOHN NORDEN (1548-1625?), English topographer, was the first Englishman who designed a complete series of county histories and geographies. His earliest known work of importance was the Speculum Britanniae, first part. .. Middlesex (1593); the MS. of this in the British Museum (Harl. 570) has corrections, &c., in Lord Burleigh's handwriting. In 1595 he wrote a Chorographical Description of. .. Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Wight, Guernsey and Jersey, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth; the MS. of this is in the British Museum, Addit. MSS. 31,853. In 1596 he published his Preparative to ... Speculum Britanniae, dedicated to Burleigh, and in 1598 his Hertfordshire (Lambeth Libr. MSS. 521). Before his death he had completed in manuscript his account of five other counties; three of these studies were printed long after his death, viz. Essex, edited for the Camden Society in 1840 by Sir Henry Ellis from a MS. at Hatfield (see also British Museum Addit. MSS. 33, 769); Northamptonshire, known to have been finished in 1610, but only published in 1720; Cornwall, likewise finished in 1610, published in 1728 (see Harl. MSS. 6252). Of Kent and Surrey even the MSS. are now lost; parts of the latter are perhaps identical with sections of the Chorographical Description of 1595. In 1600 Norden was appointed surveyor of the crown woods and forests in Berkshire, Devon, Surrey, &c.; in 1605 he obtained the surveyorship of the duchy of Cornwall; in 1607, after a careful survey, he composed his valuable Description of the Honour of Windsor, with fine maps and plans in colour, dedicated to James I. (see Harl. MSS. 3749). In 1608 he was mainly occupied with the surveying of crown woods, especially in Surrey, Berkshire and Devon, and with the_writing of his works on forest culture - Considerations touching. .. raising. .. of Coppices, and. .. Relation of. .. Proceedings upon. .. Commission concerning new forests, to which he added in 1613 his Observations concerning Crown Lands and Woods (see Egerton MSS. 806; Ashmole MSS. 1148; and Lansdowne MSS. 165). In 1612 he was made surveyor of the royal castles in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall; in 1616 and 1617 he appears surveying the soke of Kirketon in Lindsey, as well as various manors and lands belonging to Prince Charles, afterwards Charles I. (see Cambridge University Library, Ff. iv. 30; London, British Museum Addit. MSS. 6027); his last works were a survey of Sheriff Hutton manor, Yorks, in 1624 (Harl. MSS. 6288), and England, an intended guide for English travellers, a series of tables to accompany Speed's county maps, executed in 1625, shortly before his death.

Norden's maps of London and Westminster (in his Speculum Britanniae of 1593) are the best representations known of the English metropolis under the Tudors; his maps of Middlesex (also from the Spec. Brit. of 1593), of Essex (1594, 1840), of Hertfordshire (1598, 1723) and of Cornwall (published in 1728; see above) are also noteworthy; in the last-named the roads are indicated for the first time in English topography. Norden also executed maps of Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex, for the fifth edition (1607) of Camden's Britannia, also maps of Middlesex, Essex, Sussex, Surrey and Cornwall for J. Speed (1610). Several important cartographical works of his are lost: e.g. his Map. .. of. .. Battles fought in England from. William the Conqueror to. Elizabeth, in 16 sheets, formerly in the Bodleian Gallery, Oxford, of which some part is probably preserved in the Invasions of England, an appendix to the Prospect of the most Famous Parts of the World, by J. Speed (1635); and his View of London, in 8 sheets, made c. 1604-1606, and View of London Bridge, published in 1624; in the Crace collection at the British Museum is an earlier View of London by Norden (1600), and an 1804 reprint of the View of London Bridge; a map of Surrey by Norden, said to have been copied by Speed and Kip in Camden's Britannia of 1607, has also disappeared.

Besides the works noticed above, see the accounts of Norden by C. Bateman in Speculum Britanniae, pars Cornwall (1728), and by Sir H. Ellis in Spec. Brit., pars Essex (Camden Society, 1840); also H. B. Wheatley in Harrison's Description of England (New Shakspere Society, 1877), and C. H. Coote's article in the Dict. Nat. Biog. (C. R. B.)

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