Speed’s map of Glamorganshire
By SPEED, John , [1676].

Glamorganshyre with the sittuations of the cheife towne Cardyff and ancient Landaffe described.

British Isles English Counties
  • Author: SPEED, John
  • Publication place: [London]
  • Publisher: And are to be sold by Thomas Bassett in Fleet Street, and Richard Chiswell in St. Pauls Churchyard,
  • Publication date: [1676].
  • Physical description: Double-page engraved map with hand colour, slight frame-burn.
  • Dimensions: 390 by 515mm. (15.25 by 20.25 inches).


A map of Glamorganshyre from the 1676 edition of the first large-scale atlas of the British Isles, Speed’s ‘Theatre’. In the top left-hand corner is an inset town-plan of ‘Cardyff’ and in the top right-hand corner is a plan of ‘Landaffe’.

Accompanying text in English, ‘An Alphabetical Table of all the Towns, Rivers, and Memorable Places mentioned in Glamorgan-shire’ and ‘Glamorgan-shire’ is printed on the verso. 

John Speed (1552-1629) was the outstanding cartographer of his age. By trade a merchant tailor, but by proclivity a historian, it was the patronage of Sir Fulke Greville, poet and statesman, that allowed him to pursue this interest in earnest. His ‘Theatre of Great Britain’, from which the present work is drawn, was first published in 1611 or 1612 and is ‘the earliest English attempt at atlas-production on a grand scale’ (Skelton). Drawing heavily on the work of Saxton and Norden, little of Speed’s cartography is original (he acknowledges, ‘I have put my sickle into other mens corne’), instead it is his blend of cartography and history, incorporating town-plans, vignettes, and genealogy, that makes Speed an innovator.

This map is from the 1676 edition of the ‘Theatre’, published by Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell.


  1. Chubb XXV.