Saxton's atlas showing the figure of Elizabeth I
the middle of the sixteenth century there were a number of map makers
at work in Tudor England, mostly employed by landowners eager to survey
their individual estates.
However, in 1573 Thomas Seckford, a wealthy Suffolk man and a member
of Queen Elizabeth I’s government, financed a mapping project
which was infinitely broader in vision. He commissioned from Christopher
Saxton a set of maps of the whole of England and Wales, thus creating
our first national atlas.
This project was to have such a lasting significance that Saxton
came to be called ‘the father of English cartography’.
His magnificent atlas forms the first exhibit in this study of English
map making from 1573 to 2003.