This wonderful map was purchased by Derbyshire County Council in 1966 for £20. It was surveyed by Matts [Matthias] Aston, in 1722, and the man standing beside the scale on the map is presumably Matts Aston himself. The scale is 20 perches:1 inch; a perch was an old form of measurement (also called a rod or pole) equal to 5 1/2 yards.
In the top left corner is the coat of arms of the baronets of Aston in Cheshire, so this map must have been made for the 3rd baronet, Sir Thomas Aston (1666-1725). It measures 60 x 30 inches (about 150cm x 75cm) and is made of parchment which has been backed with linen. These are two very long-lasting materials, which explains why the map is still in such good condition.
Paula Moss, our Artist in Residence between 2011 and 2013 chose the map for our 50 treasures. She says: “I love the fact that as well as being a beautiful map, it’s also bursting with visual and poetic narrative. Small details such as a ladder propped up against the tree and the game keeper and their dog are exquisite – it’s a piece that I keep on coming back to.”
Nearly 300 years after its creation, the details in this map are a constant source of inspiration. The fruit tree with it’s ladder inspired the poem which is on the wall in our customer break room: ‘Somewhere in this Building’ by Matt Black, Derbyshire Poet Laureate 2011-2013. Matthias Aston also features on a mug, designed by Paula, which you can buy here at the Record Office. And you might recognise the compass rose, which has been reworked to create the ‘Made in Derbyshire 2015’ logo.