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Finding Manuscript Maps in the United Kingdom

This guide provides an introduction to manuscript map holdings in national, university and local libraries, and references to published catalogues and other reference works. It provides a point of entry for locating a variety of types of manuscript maps.

Primary reference works on library holdings

Wallis, Helen (ed.) Historians' Guide to Early British Maps. A guide to the location of pre-1900 maps of the British Isles preserved in the United Kingdom and Ireland (London, 1994). The most extensive guide to the subject, this guide provides information on the holdings of almost 450 institutions.

The History of Cartography. Volume 1: Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean (Chicago, 1987). Includes lists and locations of manuscript maps.

In addition, many published catalogues and hand-lists exist for individual institutions, many of which may be consulted in the Map Library Reading Room of The British Library.

Use the links below to explore this guide.

Ancient Cartography

  • Ancient Egyptian and Babylonian cartography
  • Greek and Roman cartography

Medieval Cartography

  • Medieval world and regional maps
  • British and European local plans

Renaissance and Later Cartography

  • British estate plans from 1575
  • British enclosure and tithe plans
  • Military maps
  • Preparatory drawings for printed maps
  • Sea charts
  • Mapping of Europe
  • European mapping of areas outside Europe
  • Indigenous African, Oceanic and American mapping