A map of the county of Essex

By John Chapman and Peter André 1777

Digitally redrawn by Andrew Macnair 2015


Chapman and André’s survey of Essex was the first map of the county that allowed contemporaries to place their village, local market town and even their own house within the immediate landscape. Surveyed at the unusual scale of two inches to the mile it contains a wealth of detail that earlier maps did not even attempt to portray and it predates the Board of Ordnance (later the Ordnance Survey) by almost forty years. It was one of a series of county maps published by private cartographic entrepreneurs in the second half of the eighteenth century and because it was surveyed before Parliamentary Enclosure it records landscape features that were to disappear over the subsequent five decades.

The digital version presented here is an exact copy of the original except that the hachures, used to show hills and vales, are omitted. It allows us to see major landscape patterns, such as the distribution of commons and woodland, the wetland along the south-eastern fringes of the county as well as the configuration of highways and minor roads. It also highlights lesser features, such as watermills, windmills, individual owners of halls and estates and even the double gallows on Barking Level.

An 18th century plane table used in surveying