Old Hampshire Mapped

Transcription and Spelling

orthography The place names on all maps studied have been read as accurately as possible. The place names on the maps sometimes use abbreviation and contraction signs that are no longer familiar today. Contractions inside or at the end of a word are often shown by a superscript line over the remaining letters, this is transcribed by a tilde (~). An equals (=) or colon (:) on the map is, usually, either an unwanted hyphenation which has been closed up in the transcription, or indicates abbreviation which is transcribed by a stop (.).

place names We think the names to be the most important clue to the identity of settlements. We have been able to match most of place names on the old maps with a name from a modern map; a settlement, or perhaps just a farm name, or a road name. We have failed in some places. The pairing of a modern place name to the old is not to be taken as a firm statement that this is what the old place is now. It is just an indication of where the old place might be looked for on today's map; it's our best guess. An old place Tertiodean on Norden's map, 1607, looks as if it relates to today's Dean, for example. On some maps it looks as if place names are attached to more than one symbol, for instance at Warneford on Norden's map.

Rivers are useful in confirming the identity of settlements; places are usually in the correct order even if not quite the correct position. However there are errors: Sopley, Avon and Winton on the River Avon are in the wrong order on Norden's map, for example; and Warmansbri is put on the River Hamble, whereas it should be on the River Meon.

Where settlements are close together on the ground the symbols might be spaced out a little to get them clearly drawn on the map.
spelling Many of the old place names are spelt 'funny', differently from today's way; that is not to say that one or the other is more correct, now or then. It is possible to see a lot of unimportant differences; coomb, comb, coombe, combe, and so on. Does it really matter? We are ready to be convinced that the minor variations truly mean something, but haven't yet been persuaded. There are differences where the map maker has had to write down a name given by a local, and has spelt it as best he may from the countrified pronunciation; we are not saying that that pronunciation is wrong either. An old place Sinckles sounds as if it relates to today's St Clair's Farm which is in the right position, to give one instance. There are other instances where it looks as if the map engraver has misread the crabbed handwriting of the surveyor, perhaps misunderstanding an abbreviation, CAston becoming Caston instead of Crux Easton, or Easton becoming Laston. Perhaps the misreading is the map maker copying wrongly from his own scrappy field notes. Just how did Upper Clatford get named Platford, and how did Hartton get written for East Anton! by Morden.

All in all, do not take spelling variations too seriously; but do enjoy them.

Gibson Edmund Gibson' preface to the 1695 edition of Camden's 'Britannia':-
The Maps are all new engrav'd, either according to Surveys never before publish'd, or according to such as have been made and printed since Saxton and Speed. Where actual Surveys could be had, they were purchas'd at any rate; and for the rest, one of the best Copies extant was sent to some of the most knowing Gentlemen in each County, with a request to supply the defects, rectifie the positions, and correct the false spellings. ... this whole business was commited to Mr Robert Morden ... to revise them, to see the slips of the Engraver mended, and the corrections, return'd out of the several Counties, duly inserted. Upon the whole, we need not scruple to affirm, that they are by much the fairest and most correct of any that have yet appear'd. And as for an error here and there; whoever considers, how difficult it is to hit the exact Bearings, and how the difference of miles in the several parts of the Kingdom perplex the whole; may possibly have occasion to wonder, that there should be so few. Especially, if he add to these inconveniencs, the various Spelling of Places, wherein it will be impossible to please all, till men are agreed which is the right.

References Coates, Richard: 1989: Place Names of Hampshire: Batsford (London):: ISBN 0 7134 5625 6

Hector, L C: 1966: Handwriting of English Documents: Edward Arnold (London)

Simpson, Grant G: 1973: Scottish Handwriting: Bratton Publishing (Edinburgh, Lothian):: has a concise and simple description of abbreviation and punctuation in medieval manuscripts

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Old Hampshire Mapped