When doing the reading for last week I was fascinated by the development of navigation in medieval England. I was very intrigued by the Gough Map. First off, I was blown away by the fact that a map even existed in medieval times. The Gough Map was inly mentioned briefly in the text, so I did a bit of digging and found goughmap.org, and as it turns out, there is a lot of information about the Gough Map, but not a lot of information about how it came to be. The Gough Map is said to have been created around 1300. The most unclear thing about the Gough Map is that it is not clear who the author was. In 1809 the Gough Map was gifted to the Bodleian Library by Richard Gough. Richard Gough inherited the map from Thomas Martin in 1774. I found it funny that the map is named after the last person to have the map and not the first.
When looking at pictures of the man I was amazed by the detail and accuracy of the Gough Map. The map is very accurate in most regions including England and Wales, but the Gough Map is not even close to accurate when you look at Scotland. For a medieval map, it is very detailed. Some places have detailed towns. The Gough Map has red lines, like a present day map, but historians are not sure how the distance is measured even though there are roman numeral markings.
While the Gough Map is the most sophisticated for its time, but historians still cannot explain why some of the map is extremely detailed and why some parts are missing all together. The current theory is that the Gough Map is actually three layers of three different maps, from three different time periods. The first layer is believed to be from 1390-140 and shows all of Britain. The second layer shows the south of England to Wales and the third layer was only south-east and south-central England. When researching the different layers, I found it interesting that the last two layers were put on the Gough Map with color and some of the names of places were changed. This was most likely because of who was ruling the country at which time and the development of towns.
Fast forwarding to present day, a BBC television series, called In Search of Medieval Britain was done in 2008, following someone around the country while they navigated around England, Scotland and Wales while only using the Gough Map. The Gough Map has also been inscribed into the UK Memory of the World Register. The most fascinating thing that has been done with the Gough Map in present day is the online digitization. Over the course of a year the Gough Map was digitized in 2010-2011. The map is now available online for everyone to access. I have attached a picture of the original Gough Map from the goughmap.org below to make connection with the information above.