Cartographer: Saxton, Christopher
This is a map of Staffordshire from the 1583 edition of the Saxton atlas of England and Wales. This atlas was first published as a whole in 1579. It consists of 35 coloured maps depicting the counties of England and Wales. The atlas is of great significance to British cartography as it set a standard of cartographic representation in Britain and the maps remained the basis for English county mapping, with few exceptions, until after 1750.
During the reign of Elizabeth I map use became more common, with many government matters referring to increasingly accurate maps with consistent scales and symbols, made possible by advances in surveying techniques. Illustrating the increasing used of maps in government matters, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State, who had been determined to have England and Wales mapped in detail from the 1550s, selected the cartographer Christopher Saxton to produce a detailed and consistent survey of the country. The financier of the project was Thomas Seckford Master of Requests at the Court of Elizabeth I, whose arms appear, along with the royal crest, on each map.
Here Saxton’s name appears in the decorative scale bar, as does the name of the engraver of this map, Franciscus Scatterus, one of seven English and Flemish engravers employed to produced the copper plates for the atlas. The Elizabethan coat of arms appears in the top right hand corner and the Seckford arms of appear beneath this.