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Stamford and the Gough Map, The Earliest Known Image of the Town.

Chris Hunt

In 1809 Richard Gough donated a medieval map to the Bodleian Library which today bears his name.

The age of the map is uncertain. The previous owner of the map to Gough believed that it dated from the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), whilst scholarship in the 19th century considered a date of c.1300. Historical evidence from the map itself suggested a date between 1355 and 1366. The reasons behind these dates is that the image of Coventry shows a city wall which was first constructed in 1355, and the latter date of 1366 as in that year the town of Sheppey in Kent was renamed Queenborough. More recent studies have however suggested a later date for the map based on handwriting and stylistic evidence towards then end of the 14th century and then revised as late as the 1430’s. Although of course the original map may date from the time of Edward I (1272-1307)  and the Gough Map is a later revised and updated copy produced in the time of his grandson.

The map has the east to the top of map with the west to the bottom of the page. Stamford is shown on the Gough Map as a walled town with two gates and a church with a spire on a river which is shown in green (on the image below). A road running from the south in this image (top right) which crosses another water course at Wansford, then passes through Stamford before going north to Grantham (bottom left).