Historic Maps

A guide to the thousands of maps in our collections, primarily from the late 18th century when mapping became more common.

Maps are an amazing source of information, and in some cases works of art.  They can show how an area has evolved over time, and can help us to understand how our ancestors may have lived. The guide outlines the main series of historical and more recent maps available in our archives and local studies collections. More detailed guides are or will soon be available for each series.

Heritage Mapping Portal

The portal contains selected historical maps of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site which can be overlaid on a current Ordnance Survey map to see how the area has developed over the past 200 years.

Visit the Derbyshire Heritage Mapping Portal 

Ordnance Survey Maps

The earliest Ordnance Survey (OS) maps for Derbyshire were the 1 inch to 1 mile maps, published from 1840.  The most useful maps for charting the development of a particular place and identifying individual buildings are the 6 and 25 inch to 1 mile maps, published from about 1879.  For some larger urban areas, 50” to 1 mile maps were also produced.  The modern National Grid series begins in the 1950s, and began to change to metric measurements in 1969.  New editions of the map were produced approximately every 30-40 years, although sometimes the gap may be smaller or larger.

Our online catalogue currently only lists the maps by Ordnance Survey reference number rather than by place name.

A large number of OS maps, including for Derbyshire, can be seen on The National Library of Scotland excellent website with features to overlay the historic maps over modern satellite images.

Land Values Maps and “Domesday Books”

Extract of D595/LV/40.3 covering Swanwick

Land values maps are 2nd edition (c1900) Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile printed maps marked up to show property ownership. Drawn up following the 1910 Finance Act the accompanying schedules, known as ‘Domesday Books’, give names of owners, occupiers and brief details of property usage.

Together the maps and books provide a unique snapshot,  of property ownership around the time of World War One.  All maps and associated books can be found under reference D595.

Tithe Maps and Awards

The tithe was a tax payable to the Church, calculated as one tenth of annual produce (i.e. crops, goods or livestock). In 1836 the Tithe Commutation Act attempted to regularise this and commuted the levy into cash payments. To determine what amount should be paid a tithe award and map were produced.  Between 1836 and 1853, tithe maps were created for a large number of Derbyshire parishes and are a great resource for local, family and house historians as they are large scale maps accompanied by a schedule (award) giving a range of information including showing who owned and occupied land and property in a particular parish at that time.

By 1836, there were many parishes where no landowners still had to pay the tithe, so maps do not exist for these places, and even where maps do exist they may not cover the whole parish, for example, glebe (i.e. church) land is omitted and village centres may not be shown.  The accompanying schedule records owner, occupier, name, acreage and state of cultivation of each plot. Digital copies of most maps are available on the public computers at the record office.

Extract from the Denby tithe map, 1845 (D2360/3/122a)

To search the catalogue, enter the place name and word tithe in the Title field.  three copies of each map and award were produced: for the parish, the diocese and the Tithe Commissioners.  The Tithe Commissioners’ series are held at The National Archives, and the other two series are generally held at the county record office.

See our Tithe Maps guide for more information.

Parliamentary Enclosure Maps and Awards

Bonsall Enclosure Map, 1776 (Q/RI/19)

Enclosure is a term used to describe the surrounding of land with a boundary; thus converting pieces of common land into private property.

After 1750, the number Private Enclosure Acts for waste, common land and open fields greatly increased.  They became so numerous that, from 1801, public general acts were passed.  There are two parts to Enclosure records (1) the map showing numbered plots of land and boundaries, (2) the accompanying award detailing the ownership of each plot of land, its extent in acres, roods and perches and the rent-charge payable on it. The enclosure maps covering parts of Derbyshire primarily date between the 1760s and 1830s. Unfortunately, many of the awards, certainly in the 18th and early 19th century, tend to be written in prose in legal language, and can be difficult to use. The later ones tend to include a tabulated version of the award which is much easier to use.

In Derbyshire much of the commons and waste land had been enclosed by the 19th century, but less than 40% enclosed under an Act of Parliament in the late 18th to the mid-19th century.  Therefore, Parliamentary enclosure maps and their accompanying awards are limited in coverage.

Where they exist, the maps are generally on a large scale and the schedule records allocations of enclosed land, acreage, boundaries, and roads and footpaths. Search the catalogue entering the place name and word enclosure in the Title field.

Estate, Manorial and Other Maps

Barlborough estate map, 1723 (D505/72/8)

Estate maps exist from the 17th century. Surrounding areas, even if contiguous, may be left unrecorded and individual buildings in other ownership not noted.  Details given vary significantly but may include field names, tenants’ names, land use and cultivation, water and other landscape features, mills and similar buildings (sometimes a separate document).

Search the online catalogue using the place name and word map in the Title field.  For maps created before 1800, including items held in other repositories, see Derbyshire Record Society’s Catalogue of Local Maps of Derbyshire (2012). Where these maps are held at Derbyshire Record Office, you can find the detailed Record Society description in the online catalogue.

Quarter Sessions deposited plans

Plan of Stockport and Marple Bridge turnpike road, 1821 (Q/RP/1/34)

From 1773 all plans of proposed roads and from 1792 all plans of proposed canals in Derbyshire were deposited with County Quarter Sessions.

Later, plans were required in advance of all public utilities (including railways, tramways, gas, electricity and water supplies) authorised by Acts of Parliament.  Some plans refer to proposals which were never carried out.  Often detail on plans is confined to the route of the undertaking.  Most plans date from the mid to the late 19th century and are held under reference Q/RP.

Printed County Maps, with Town Plans

Many printed maps were produced commercially. The first such map for Derbyshire was produced by Christopher Saxton in 1577 (ref: D369/G/Maps/1). The earlier maps are often found in both the archives and local studies collections, with 20th century maps often in the local studies collection only.

Explore Saxton’s 1577 map via the British Library’s online gallery.

Maps accompanying sale catalogues

Printed maps included with early property sale catalogues may be useful sources of evidence for country houses, farms, and other substantial properties, especially in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Further Reading

There are lots of published guides in the local studies collection, from general guides about using maps for historical research (e.g. B. P. Hindle (1989) Maps for Local History) to guides for specific types of map.

See also: Derbyshire Mapping Portal, http://derbyshiremaps.derbyshire.gov.uk/, which uses web-mapping technology to overlay many types of information on one modern map.

Matthew Goodden of Abergavenny: toll gate entrepreneur, forger of railway tickets

We have published a few previous posts about Roger’s work as a cataloguing volunteer.  In the following post, Roger tells us about another recent discovery in the records of the Thornsett Turnpike Trust:

A document in this collection which made me curious was an invoice from Matthew Goodden of Abergavenny for water and gas supplied to a Thornsett toll house: why might someone living in Abergavenny have a commercial interest in a toll gate situated in New Mills? In turnpike days entrepreneurs made a business out of toll collection. Local turnpike trusts would let out toll collection to the highest bidder: the lessee, having paid a fee, expected that the money they collected in tolls would amount to substantially more than the fee. Matthew Goodden was one such lessee.

From census records and a baptism register it is clear that Matthew Goodden was born in Yeovil, son of a toll collector. As a youth he collected tolls at Smallway gate, Castle Cary, close to the Galhampton gate operated by his father. The subsequent development of Matthew Goodden’s enterprise, not only with toll roads but also with toll bridges, can be traced through historic newspapers.  His name, sometimes under alternative spellings of Godden or Gooden, appears in local newspapers particularly through his appearances before local magistrates: characteristically as accused or accuser in disputes with travellers. One interpretation might be that he was a man who gave offence and took offence easily. An alternative is that disagreements about the toll payable were inevitable given the ambiguities in toll schemes. Disputes might easily arise given different tolls, for example, for a chaise in private use and a cart carrying goods. How should a journey be charged if a cart passed through a gate only to return loaded with goods a few minutes later? No toll was to be charged for someone riding to church: but did that concession apply to someone claiming to be travelling to a distant church when their local parish church was accessible without passing through the toll gate?

As a young man Matthew Goodden appears to have had interests in the south west of England. The parish register entry for his marriage in 1846, the subsequent baptisms of three children and the census of 1851 show that within a few years he lived in toll houses at Heavitree, near Exeter; West Lydford, Somerset; Nubbis Ash near Cam, Gloucestershire and Downside, Shepton Mallett. An announcement of Matthew Goodden’s temporary insolvency in the London Gazette in 1856 lists further toll houses in Gloucestershire where he had worked: Hawbridge at Deerhurst; Mythe and Ashchurch near Tewkesbury. By 1861 he was at Dowdeswell near Cheltenham: his first wife Hannah Mundy was buried there in 1862. Later Ann Williams, a young woman from Dowdeswell, became Matthew Godden’s “wife”.

With his brother Robert, Matthew Goodden acquired interests beyond the south western counties. In 1853 they faced magistrates in Dorset about a dispute at a toll gate at the Passage Bridge, Portland and magistrates in Wiltshire about a dispute payment at the Devizes Green turnpike. In the 1860s Matthew Goodden’s name appears in connection with toll roads in Hornsey and South Newington in London and Shavers End on the road from Dudley to Wolverhampton. Perhaps the brothers over-reached themselves: in 1866 they were formally ejected from a contract in relation to a turnpike road near Huddersfield. It is around this time that Matthew Goodden is described as living at the Old Brewery toll gate in Dudley; here at some point a new partner, Harriet Hill, joined Matthew Goodden‘s household. She had been the wife of a fellow toll collector the Dudley area. By 1874 Matthew Goodden had become lessee of tolls for a road in Abergavenny and the census taken in 1881 shows him and Ann living at the toll house on Brecon Road Abergavenny: later they lived at nearby Gilwern. Toward the end of the nineteenth century the practice of providing for road construction and maintenance through tolls was discontinued. But some bridges remained subject to tolls and Matthew Gooden was able to continue as a toll collector at the Glangwryney (or Llangrwyney) bridge over the River Usk in the parish of Llangenny between Crickhowell and Abergavenny. The Llangenny parish registers are available on line and record that Matthew Goodden died at Glangwryney in 1903. He was succeeded as toll collector by his brother Robert, who not only moved into the toll cottage but also married Harriet Hill just ten weeks after Matthew Goodden’s death.

Clearly Matthew Goodden’s interests in turnpikes at various locations across England and Wales involved him in substantial travel. It is ironic that a man who made his living from road users made much use of the railways. While travelling on their trains he was not above taking the railway companies for a ride. At Gloucester Assizes in 1859 he appeared with his brothers having boasted about travelling by train without a ticket. In 1868 he was convicted of a similar offence by magistrates at Dudley. Then on a Friday evening in December 1870 at Derby Midland station Matthew Godden’s ticket for a journey from Rotherham to Smethwick was inspected by a railway employee Levi Till. He was immediately suspicious: Smethwick was not a Midland Railway Company station and that company did not issue such a ticket. The subsequent events were widely reported in local newspapers across the country. Matthew Goodden was taken into police custody: a number of tickets were found in his pockets as well as letters, numbers, a printing frame and ink. He was also holding about £190 in cash, said to be toll receipts. In his bedroom at the Old Brewery toll house were found about one thousand forged railway tickets, with names of a variety of stations, together with rolls of paper, printing materials and ink. Some genuine tickets were also found, bearing alterations to dates and destinations. At Derby Assizes the prosecution failed to persuade the court that a charge of forgery was appropriate: Matthew Goodden pleaded guilty to misusing tickets and was imprisoned for two years. The sentence was served in Nottingham prison. He was caught again in July 1890, travelling by train from Abergavenny to Hereford. At Hereford Assizes he was this time convicted of forgery and sentenced to twelve months in prison. He served the sentence in Hereford prison.

On This Day: ‘Hathersage New Road’

From the Derby Mercury, 9th August 1820:

HATHERSAGE NEW ROAD

The Hathersage new branch of turnpike road was opened on Thursday, by the Wellington coach running that line in the early part of the day, on which were placed some of the trustees of the road, the surveyor, the undertakers, and as many workmen as could sit upon the roof thereof.  On arriving at Hathersage, the passengers were met by hundreds of the inhabitants, and the venerable Major Shuttleworth, with his usual liberality, supplied the company with ale, spirits, punch, &c. while the coach pulled up in the front of his mansion, the bells of the church ringing, and the populace rejoicing at being accommodated with a better and easier line of road, which they had so long wished for.  On arriving at the George Inn, the workmen had a treat given them, and spent the remainder of the day in making merry, having finished their labours.  

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derby Mercury – just ring to book a microfilm reader.  If you have a Derbyshire library card you can also view 19th century issues of the newspaper here.