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The English cartographer John Bill

RICHARD NICHOLSON of CHESTER

A WORLD OF ANTIQUE MAPS AND PRINTS

James Pepper looking at an atlas

THE CARTOGRAPHER

JOHN BILL - JUST ONE EDITION

Born in the 16th century. A mapmaker and printer who produced a series of small county maps of England and Wales. The look rather like Pieter van den Keere's maps but are so much rarer

The abridgment of Camden's Britannia. With The Maps of the seuvrall Shires of England and Wales. Printed by John Bill Printer to the King's most excellent Maiestie, 1626

  •  Title page to The abridgement of Camden's Britannia ... John Bill 1626

    Title page to The abridgement of Camden's Britannia ... John Bill 1626

Just the one edition of this atlas published in 1626

16th century gentleman

John Bill was born in 1576. Although probably born up north he worked in London from around 1590. He was apprenticed to the printer John Norten in 1592 and was involved in the production of Theatre of the Whole World published in 1606. This was a version of the Abraham Ortelius atlas with English text. He was a successful businessman having addresses as a printer at Northumberland House, St. Martins Lane, Aldersgate and Hundson House in Blackfriars, London. John Bill became associated with the King's Printing House from 1617. He became Master and Freeman of the Stationer's Company. Sir Thomas Bodley well known for his support for the Oxford University library commissioned John Bill to travel abroad collecting books. The library was re-opened on 8th November 1602 under the name of "Bodleian Library".

Although John Bill's English county atlas was entered in the Stationer's Register in 1620 it was not until 1626 that *The abridgment of Camden's Britania With The Maps of the severall Shires of England and Wales* was published.

There is just the one edition of this now rare series of miniature county maps by this English cartographer. Rather similar in style the miniature county maps by Pieter van den Keere but slightly more attractive and with flamboyant lettering and much larger blank margins. They were amongst the first maps to show degrees of longitude and latitude marked on each map. The English text on verso does not match the map. This was done so that when you are viewing a map on the right hand side of the atlas (recto) the descriptive text appears on the left hand side (verso). You will probably find it difficult to locate a John Bill map for the county of your choice but that just adds more excitement to the quest. I have read that perhaps the number of copies printed was less than 200.

Listen instead of Reading
Map of England and Wales by John Bill

The English Counties

in the order that they appear in my copy the atlas. This varies slightly from the listing in Chubb which shows Hertfordshire, Oxford and Buckinghgamshire wereas the order in my copy of the atlas is Hertfordshire, Buckingham and Oxfordshire.

  •  Cornwall, John Bill 1626

    Cornwall, John Bill 1626

  •  Devonshire, John Bill 1626

    Devonshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Dorsetshire, John Bill 1626

    Dorsetshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Somersetshire, John Bill; 1626

    Somersetshire, John Bill; 1626

  •  Wiltshire, John Bill 1626

    Wiltshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Hampshire, John Bill 1626

    Hampshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Berkshire, John Bill 1626

    Berkshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Surrey, John Bill 1626

    Surrey, John Bill 1626

  •  Sussex, John Bill 1626

    Sussex, John Bill 1626

  •  Middlesex, John Bill 1626

    Middlesex, John Bill 1626

  •  Kent, John Bill 1626

    Kent, John Bill 1626

  •  Essex, John Bill 1626

    Essex, John Bill 1626

  •  Buckinghamshire, John Bill 1626

    Buckinghamshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Hertfordshire, John Bill 1626

    Hertfordshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Oxfordshire, John Bill 1626

    Oxfordshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Gloucestershire, John Bill 1626

    Gloucestershire, John Bill 1626

  •  Worcestershire, John Bill 1626

    Worcestershire, John Bill 1626

  •  Warwickshire, John Bill 1626

    Warwickshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Northamptonshire, John Bill 1626

    Northamptonshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Bedfordshire, John Bill 1626

    Bedfordshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Huntingdonshire, John Bill 1626

    Huntingdonshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, John Bill 1626

    Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, John Bill 1626

  •  Suffolk, John Bill 1626

    Suffolk, John Bill 1626

  •  Norfolk, John Bill 1626

    Norfolk, John Bill 1626

  •  Lincolnshire, John Bill 1626

    Lincolnshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Rutlandshire, John Bill 1626

    Rutlandshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Leicestershire, John Bill 1626

    Leicestershire, John Bill 1626

  •  Derbyshire, John Bill

    Derbyshire, John Bill

  •  Staffordshire, John Bill 1626

    Staffordshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Nottinghamshire, John Bill 1626

    Nottinghamshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Yorkshire, John Bill 1626

    Yorkshire, John Bill 1626

  •  County Durham, John Bill 1626

    County Durham, John Bill 1626

  •  Northuberland, John Bill 1626

    Northuberland, John Bill 1626

  •  Cumberland, John Bill 1626

    Cumberland, John Bill 1626

  •  Westmorland, John Bill 1626

    Westmorland, John Bill 1626

  •  Lancashire, John Bill 1626

    Lancashire, John Bill 1626

  •  Cheshire, John Bill 1626

    Cheshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Shropshire, John Bill 1626

    Shropshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Herefordshire, John Bill 1626

    Herefordshire, John Bill 1626

The Welsh Counties

in the order that they appear in the atlas

  •  Radnorshire, John Bill 1626

    Radnorshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Breconshire, John Bill 1626

    Breconshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Monmouthshire, John Bill 1626

    Monmouthshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Glamorganshire, John Bill 1626

    Glamorganshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Carmarthenshire, John Bill 1626

    Carmarthenshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Pembrokeshire, John Bill 1626

    Pembrokeshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Montgomeryshire, John Bill 1626

    Montgomeryshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Merionethshire, John Bill 1626

    Merionethshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Cardiganshire, John Bill 1626

    Cardiganshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Caernarvonshire and Anglesey, John Bill 1626

    Caernarvonshire and Anglesey, John Bill 1626

  •  Denbighshire, John Bill 1626

    Denbighshire, John Bill 1626

  •  Flintshire, John Bill 1626

    Flintshire, John Bill 1626

List of Maps in the Atlas

  • Cornwall
  • Devon - Shire
  • Dorset Shire
  • Somerset Shire
  • Wilt Shire
  • Hant Shire
  • Barke Shire
  • Surrey
  • Sussex
  • Kent
  • Middlesex
  • The County of Essex
  • Hartford Shire
  • Oxford Shire
  • Buckingham Shire
  • Gloucester Shire
  • Worcester Shire
  • Warwick Shire
  • Northampton Shire
  • Bedford Shire
  • Huntingdon Shire
  • Cambridge Shire and Isle of Ely
  • Suffolke
  • Norfolke
  • The Countie of Lincoln
  • Rutland Shire
  • Leicester Shire
  • Stafford Shire
  • Darby Shire
  • Nottingham Shire
  • Yorke Shire
  • The Bishoprick of Durham
  • Northumberland
  • Cumberland
  • Westmor Land
  • Lancashire
  • Cheshire
  • Shropshire
  • Hereford Shire
  • Radnor Shire
  • Breckock Shire
  • Monmouth Shire
  • Glamorgan Shire
  • Carmarden Shire
  • Penbroke Shire
  • Cardigan Shire
  • Mountgomerie Shire
  • Merionyth Shire
  • Carnavan
  • Denbigh Shire
  • Flint Shire

References:

  • Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers Revised Edition A - D
  • Antique Maps of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by R. C. E. Quixley, Expanded by J. M. E. Quixley
  • The Printed Maps in the Atlases f Great Britain and Ireland. A Bibliography, 1579 - 1870 by Thomas Chubb
  • Miniature Antique Maps by Geoffrey King, 1996

AN ANTIQUE MAP OR PRINT MAKES THE PERFECT GIFT

RICHARD NICHOLSON of CHESTER

Stoneydale
Pepper Street
Christleton
Chester
CH3 7AG

Telephone
01244 336004

International
44 1244 336004

email:
richard@antiquemapscom

Richard Nicholson

I have been buying and selling antique maps since the early 1960's during which time I had a gallery in Watergate Street, Chester for 30 years. I am now able to offer through my websites a personal service to map and print collectors.

The English cartographer John Bill

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