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John Speed: Leicester

Map: LEICS226
Cartographer: John Speed
Title: Leicester
Date: 1614
Published: London
Width: 22 inches / 56 cm
Height: 17 inches / 44 cm
Map ref: LEICS226
This county map of Leicestershire is an archetypal example of Speed’s models for his county maps.

A plan of the major town, Leicester is situated on the lower left. Unusually, this plan is not credited to Speed but rather the source is currently considered anonymous. The plan is very detailed, with a numbered key to major locations above it. A small, more subdued royal coat of arms has been placed in the upper left corner.

The right border illustrates a row of armorial shields with a panel above it which both relates and stresses the continuity of the local aristocratic families which can trace their ancestry to the Saxon period.

On the lower right, there is a vignette showing the Battle of Bosworth Field, possibly the most famous conflict of the Wars of the Roses where Richard III lost his life and was buried in an unmarked grave that was discovered only very recently.

The map bears the name of Jodocus Hondius as the engraver prominently on the lower centre and Speed’s name a little confusingly on the city plan although the panel refers to Speed being responsible for the map as opposed to the plan.

English text on verso. Image available on request.