Britannia .... or, an Illustration of the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales: by a Geographical and Historical Description of the Principal Roads Thereof, Printed by the Author

Item author: John Ogilby
Item date: 1675
Grant Value: £600
Item cost: £12,000
Item date acquired: 2010
Item institution: National Trust, Belton House
Town/City: Grantham
County: Lincolnshire

Details: The library collections at Belton, Lincolnshire, are among the finest in any National Trust house. The Library and Study, each containing about 6,000 books, give an almost complete picture of book collecting over 350 years. This copy of Britannia, which had been sold from Belton House before the National Trust acquired the property in 1983, has the bookplate of Sir John Brownlow, Baron Charleville and Viscount Tyrconnel, and a Belton House label. It is of outstanding importance both as a milestone in the history of cartography and as a record of the interests of one of the main book collectors in the Brownlow family. Its compiler, John Ogilby (1600-1676), was an extraordinary polymath who combined successive careers as a dancing master, courtier, theatre owner, poet, translator and compiler of geographical works and atlases. Britannia is a road atlas in the form of 100 strip maps (similar to today’s satellite navigation devices) covering 2519 miles of road in England and Wales. It constituted the first major advance in cartography since Tudor times and helped to standardise the mile at 1760 yards.