Chester is fortunate to have been "mapped" many times. To save space we have not included copies of all the maps here (they tend to be large). One of the early maps is unique in that it is the first image of the ground actually taken from the air, by a balloonist in 1785.
For a great tool to compare maps throughout the years, Cheshire Archives and Local Studies has their Cheshire Tithe Maps Online website. This is a comprehensive overview of the Cheshire area with 9 maps to compare and search.
For a wide selection of relatively modern maps see this collection at the National Library of Scotland. Climate maps can be found on the Weather page.
Maps on this site
- Braun and Hogenberg - 1581. The first known, detailed map of Chester. This is useful in that it shows many buildings which still exist today (churches, the castle) although much of these have been modified or reconstructed over the years. The City Walls are shown in quite good detail, especially the towers around the walls. Many of the current streets within the walls already exist at this date.
- Smith Map - c.1588. Almost contemporaneous with the above but showing slight differences in the layout of the streets. Details of individual buildings, particularly along The Rows are probably not accurate.
- John Speed - 1610. A few years after the previous two, and by now the Watertower appears to be on dry land. There appears to be no sign of the Phoenix Tower in this one, but the waterworks have appeared at the Bridgegate.
- Hollar's Map - 1660's. The Phoenix Tower is back and the Watertower is definitely out of the water. The waterworks are still in the center of Bridgegate so that dates the map before the destruction of the waterworks tower in the Civil War.
- Hemingways Map - showing the city at the time of the Civil War (1645). However his Bridgegate has the waterworks tower in the position it was rebuilt in somewhat later, now above the western side of the Bridgegate. In details, Hemingway's map is not particularly accurate
- Lavaux Map - just before the Canal (1745). A recognizably more modern style of map, with the new course of the River Dee below Chester quite clear. The Watertower now stands well clear of the River Dee. No canal yet! Lavaux marks many individual buildings as the homes of noted residents, and research has revealed much more about many of these individuals.
- Mutlow and Stockda1es Map - engraved by J.Mutlow, published by John Stockdale in 1795. This shows the original canal, with no branch to Ellesmere Port.
- Coles Map - engraved by John Roper for publication in "The Beauties Of England And Wales", that was published in parts, from c.1804. The Ellesmere Port branch of the canal appears.- Much growth around the Watergate.
- 1872 OS Map - The Ordnance Survey Map from 1872. Chester before the ring-road, but the Grosvenor Bridge and the railways have arrived. Building outside of the old city area is just starting.
Some other maps of Chester
The Gough Map
The Gough Map of Britain is one of the earliest maps to show Britain in a geographically-recognizable form. The map is named after one of its former antiquarian owners, Richard Gough (1735-1809) who bequeathed the map to the Bodleian Library in 1809. The text on the Gough map is the work of at least two scribes: the original 14th-century scribe and a 15th-century reviser. Some of the map’s writing dates it to around the 1370s, placing it in the latter part of King Edward III’s reign. However, there is also evidence of later over-writing of some of the map’s place-names which demonstrates a continued interest in and use of the Gough Map into the first thirty years of the fifteenth century. Chester is shown as a large city compared with others, being portrayed as having City Walls and a church with a tall spire - possibly St Peter - the present church dates from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, with modifications in the following three centuries. Formerly the tower of St Peter's had a steeple which was removed and rebuilt in the 16th century, taken down in the 17th century, then rebuilt and finally removed "having been much injured by lightning" about 1780.
The map is oriented with north to the left and east at the top, unlike modern maps (this was typical of maps at the time). The part reproduced below shows Wales, with Chester in the center of the upper left quadrant. The River Dee can be seen, as can the road from Chester to Shrewsbury.
- Millennium festival trail - a guide to historic Chester;
- Roman Festival Trail - just the parts of Roman Chester;
- Crime Maps for Chester;
Sources and Links
- Mapping Medieval Chester;
- ChesterWalls.info maps;
- Maps of Chester and Cheshire from "Genmaps";
- Chester Civic Trust's Millennium festival trail has a downloadable map;
- The Buck Brothers prosepect of Chester 1728;
- Burdett's map of Cheshire 1777;
- Walls Heritage Trail downloadable pdf;
- Maps of Chester at Vision Of Britain (good if you like maps);
- More maps of Chester;
- even more.... - most impressive!;
- The Gough Map;
- Roman Roads of Britain;
- Cheshire Local History Society: maps page;