State of the nation: The medieval version of an 'A to Z'

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The Independent Culture

Can you tell what it is yet?

You may think this bizarre-looking map shows a far-off, exotic land. In fact, this is Britain. Known as The Gough Map, and named after Richard Gough, a rich gentleman who bought it in 1774 for half-a-crown (or 12-and-a half-pence), it has been published for the first time in book form. The original measures 45 by 22 inches and is the first geographical map of Britain. It was produced with a combination of pen, ink and coloured washes, on animal hide, and is thought to date from the 14th century. The map was kindly donated by Gough to the Bodleian Library in Oxford, in 1809, along with many of his other maps, prints, books, and drawings, as had been agreed under the terms of his will.

The Gough Map, with commentary by Nick Millea, is published by The Bodleian Library, £25. ISBN: 978-1851240227