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Banburyshire, 1610
"The Garden of God"

This is an extract from an antiqued parchment reproduction of John Speede's map of the county of Oxfordshire, 1610, "described with the Citie and the Armes of the Colledges of the famous University, A. 1605".
This beautiful map, decorated with portraits and heraldic sysmbols, was published as part of Speede's "Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine", which showed English and Welsh towns and villages as they were in the reign of Elizabeth I. The atlas was available in both black and white, or hand-coloured.
This extract is reproduced with the kind permission of the publishers, The Olde Map Co. of Sennen Cove, Penzance, Cornwall.
Other beautiful and very reasonably priced maps are available from their website at www.oldmap.co.uk.


Banburye in 1610, some 30 years before the start of the English Civil War, in which Banburyshire would play a significant role. The original Banbury Cross is already gone from the town, having been detroyed by Puritans in July 1600. Banbury would not have a cross again until 1859.
In this map, we have village names which are both familiar and strange: Bloxham and Alderbury (Adderbury), Wroxton and Aulkrington (Alkerton), Wigginton and the Sibberdes (Sibfords).
This county map does not show roads. Instead, we have rivers, such as the Cherwell, and boundaries (Banbury hundred, Bloxham hundred and so on). Close to Shenington to the west is an area marked as part of Gloucetershire (GLO PARS).
The only two bridges shown over the River Cherwell in this section of the map are at Banburye and Ayno (Anyho). There is another bridge further south at the Heyfords (not shown here).
John Speede was a tailor by trade, and produced this atlas as a result of his love of history and cartography, and his country. He later wrote:

"But by what fate I am forced still to goe on, I know not unlesse it be the ardent affection and love to my native country; ... That this our Country and subject of History deserveth the love of her inhabitants, is witnessed even by forraine writers themselves, who have termed it the Court of Queen Ceres, the Granary of the Westerne World, the fortunate Island, the Paradise of pleasure and Garden of God ..."

NB. This map does not appear in the Banbury "side-by-side" section as it provides little detail of the town itself.

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