Robin Langhorne's notes on his copy of the Norden 1598 map

Notes on the copy made by Robin Langhorne, of the Sillifant copy of the 1598 John Norden terrier of the Crediton Hundred.

A portion of the town from Norden's map copied by Robin Langhorne

[One of the museum's cherished possessions is the copy of the Norden 1598 map made by one of the museum's founders, Robin Langhorne, and subsequently presented to the museum by Robin. It is a set of maps, and many pages of accompanying text containing information on land use - a bit like a 16th Century tithe map and apportionment. Robin also wrote some introductory notes on the maps and the process of copying them, and they are repeated here in full. They make interesting reading in their own right, and anyone considering using the Norden map for research is strongly advised to read them beforehand]

Observations on the Sillifant copy of Norden’s terrier of Crediton Hundred 1598

In September 1992, the copy of John Norden’s ‘terrar’ came into my hands. Only a brief glance at the large volume was enough to persuade me to make my own copy; I have spent the last month on the project and have now finished.

R.E. Langhorne 14th October 1992

To copy the map I placed an acetate sheet divided into 1” squares on the page and copied the lines on to a similar grid with a fine ball-point pen. For the colours I used felt tip pens – these give a garish appearance to my copy but in most cases serve to accentuate the road and river pattern which makes identification of the locality easier.

For place-names and personal names on the maps I have used capital letters throughout. Although the handwriting of the copyist is generally good there are several instances of ambiguity – I have generally added a question mark when I have been uncertain of my reading.

For all the purely written pages in the volume I have used the typewriter. In general I have tried to give an impression of the layout of each page – to make it exact would have required a facsimile.

The provenance of the original document is curious and uncertain.

Presumably John Norden was the servant of William Killigrew, but a local man. Plainly he knew much about Crediton before he began to write this survey for the extraordinary volume of detailed information would not have been collected in a mere 3 years,  (we are told that William Killigrew acquired the manor in 1595) nor could the necessary surveying and measurement be accomplished in that time. It is possible that the former owners or agents of the manor made theier paper and accounts available to the new owner. Could John Norden have been the bailiff or agent before the change of ownership? [Note: we now know that John Norden was a cartographer of national renown.]

The Sillifant copy, for so I shall call it, presents some interesting questions. The only thing we know for certain is that it was presented to the Governors of Crediton Church by Arthur Onslow Sillifant of Coombe House, himself a governor, in November 1917. This is 2 years after the original was destroyed in the fire at Creedy Park in 1915. (The note at the back of the Sillifant copy wrongs states that the fire was in 1913).

When was the Sillifant copy made? It would appear that the handwriting throughout is of the mid 19th century but that is very much the opinion of a non-expert. It is a pity that the copyist left no personal observations on his work.

Who was the copyist? For want of further evidence it must be assumed that he was in some way connected with the Sillifant family – relation, friend, professional man. The later maps are not quite as meticulously drawn as the earlier ones; this suggests an amateur whose time or enthusiasm was not being paid for. Whoever it was, he knew how to read the no doubt crabbed writing of the 16th century.

Why was it copied? The 19th century was a time of great antiquarian interest among the gentry and the appearance of the original could well have engendered the same sort of enthusiasm the the re-appearance of the Sillifant copy has engendered today. It is possible that such a copy, more legible than the original could be useful to the new local government body, the Improvement Commissioners, instituted by the act of 1836. (Here it is slightly irrelevant but fascinating to note that the current sewerage works in the town are following exactly the line of the Litterburn).

The arrangement, binding, numbering and general presentation of the Sillifant copy raise more questions, the answers to which must be largely surmise.

1 Each map was drawn on a size of paper 22” x 15” approx., which was too small for some sections; the latter had to be extended on to the backs of the main sheets. Plainly, from the first it was intended to be an estate book. The Sillifant copy matches so nearly to the original according to the quoted statement affixed to the inside of the back cover – except of course the copy is not on vellum.

2 When the Sillifant copy was bound, the numbering of the pages created a problem. It is likely that the copyist followed the original. After the Title Page and the page illustrating the scale, the summaries are numbered at the foot of each page up to page 7.

Then the maps begin with a description of each one at the front. Each section (generally 3 pages, occasionally 4) is given a large Roman numeral. (The very first section clearly shows by the beheaded numeral that the maps were bound after all had been completed). After 25 major maps, there are further summaries beginning again at no. 1 and reaching 12. This numbering proved cumbersome for quick reference; somebody, possibly the copyist, has numbered each sheet (as opposed to page) in pencil, reaching 60 with number 56 occurring twice – I have referred to these as 56A and 56B.

3 The copyist of the Sillifant copy had to decide how he was going to write the names of people and places. He chose cursive script of a copper-plate type, i.e. the style then current; John Norden would similarly have used his contemporary style. I have chosen to use capitals throughout as today’s cursive script is far more variable than any of those in general use in the past.

Further brief observations on individual sheets concerning the copying, handwriting, colouring etc. rather than the historical or topographical.

a. First fly-leaf inside cover has W. Pope Esq. written in pencil and a number 207 in red, and circled.

b. The introductory sheet quoting Mr Towgood does not appear to be in the same hand as the main body of  the copy.
The note about the grant to William Killigrew and the reason for the survey is in another hand, much more recent, certainly 20th century.

c. On sheet 2, under William Bodley, there appears to be the only attempt by the copyist to quote an actual rent (xij d)
Did the original contain the crossing-out of the word ‘Estates’? Easte has been written in using different ink, suggesting a re-reading by the copyist and the correction of his error.

d. On the back of Sheet 2 under the Vicars of the Colledge the numeral 2 in pencil has been placed before farlinges.

e. On the back of Sheet 3 it appears that the copyist could not read the forenames of Arondell, Pridiaux or Dunscombe. Similarly there are many such on Sheet 4.

f. On sheet 5, there are several gaps in the references. Was this so in the original or were they illegible to the copyist?

g. The whole map on Sheet 6 appears to have had the names written in quite another hand although the insets are recognisable as the chief copyist’s work. Perhaps we was experimenting with a clearer script where so much had to be included.

h. Sheet 9. No rents included. Surely they must have been in the original?

i. Sheet 10. The points of the compass are clearly wrong. Did the copyist write S instead of N?

j. The colouring of the whole areas green e.g. Henry Harris, does not signify woodland. Why is it there?

k. Sheet 18. This map is more carefully coloured and is generally a more finished and polished piece of work. Was the original so coloured? Was it done because the map includes the residence of the most important man in the district, Sir William Periam?

l. Sheet 20. After the meticulous nature of the previous map, some of the writing on this map appears hurried, although still legible.

m. Sheet 22. The names on the parcels of land near the road junction by Mr Pridiaux’s land, coloured in buff, are barely legible. Were the originals like this, and the copyist felt that he had to write something? That hardly seems in character with the majority of his work.

n. Sheet 25. No rents included.

o. Sheet 26. Much green shading again.

p. Sheet 30. From this point ,mostof the maps are confusing to read since North points to the bottom of the pages, but not wrongly as in Sheet 10.

q. Sheet 40. There are certain pencilled names near Wootton.

r. Sheet 46. Woollacote, Wullacote, Wullacotte!

There is in the possession of the Governors of Crediton Church an exercise book containing notes made by the Rev G.T.Llewellyn on the original document. I quote from his introduction to these notes written on the inside front cover of the exercise book:
‘Notes from a Manuscript book of Maps of the whole and portions of the Crediton Hundred, made by John Norden in the year 1598: Now in possession of Sir J.D.Ferguson-Davie of Creedy Park’. (Here he has written in much smaller writing to squeeze it into the space between his two paragraphs: ‘Burnt in the fire at Creedy Park in the early morning of Nov 4th 1915. A copy with errors and omissions was given to the Governors by Mr Sillifant of Combe. The fire commenced adjacent to the supposed fire-proof cupboard in the Morning Room, the S.W. corner of the house.’)

‘On the back of my copy of the map of Crediton Town I have copied the pedigree of the book as entered in the original. Geo. Bent M.D. of Exeter was father of our Rev G. Bent, Vicar of Sandford from 1771 to 1814 and grandfather of Mrs Llewellyn. He was also one of the Corporators of Crediton Church.’

Both the Terrier and this exercise book deserve and need much more study.

I have made this copy so that it may be readily available for local investigators while the Sillifant copy can be placed in the Devon County Record Office.

R.E.L Oct 1992

Stuck with sticking plaster on the back cover:

Pedigree of the Original of this Volume

Insertion within the covers of the smooth (crossed-out) liver-coloured and smooth calf-bound Book of parchment (crossed-out) vellum leaves, on which were many maps of Crediton Town and Hundred, and Sections and Estates of the Hundred, done to scale by hand, and partly colour lined:

‘This book is supposed to be given to Serjeant Maynard on some suit at law, it was left by said Serjeant Maynard to Sir Duncombe Colechester his son-in-law a gentleman of some considerable estate in Gloucestershire. It was given to Mt Mitchell vicar of Veryan in Cornwall by Maynard Chichester Esq. about the year 1741, and by the said Mr Mitchell it was given to Geo. Bent of the City of Exeter M.D. in the year 1771 in the presence of John Burton of Northfriend (?) in the County of Devon Esq. and of the Reverend Mr Denis Rector of Inwardleigh in the same county’

‘In the custody of Thomas Michel Ch. 1740 of Robert Wight Rector of St Mary Arches Exon 1756, of George Bent M.D. 1775’

(The above appears written in different hands)
It was copied from the original by G.T.Llewellyn.

** The Revd. G.T.Llewellyn Vicar of Sandford, who copied the above from the original, married the great, great grand-daughter of the above named George Bent M.D.. No other names than those given above were in the original, which was destroyed by fire at Creedy Park in 1913.
Oct 8th 1933
(** Those sections marked thus are in a different hand from the main part of this note, the latter being in the hand of the Revd. G.T. Llewellyn. See my note R.E.L. 1992)