Historic Towns Atlas cover for York
Publish date: 
Oxbow Books for the Historic Towns & York Archaeological Trusts


An illustrated atlas of the history of the remarkable city of York, concentrating on the growth and form of the settlement across two thousand years.  

Important since Roman times, the city of York grew to become one of the most prosperous, densely settled and influential cities of England in the medieval period and beyond.  The atlas charts the development of the city up to the advent of the railway age.

The volume is edited by Dr Peter Addyman (formerly Director of the York Archaeological Trust) and written by a team of experts in the various phases of the development of this important city.

The atlas text covers:

  • Roman York
  • Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian York
  • Early and late medieval York
  • York 1530 to c.1700
  • York c.1700 to 1840
  • A summary of York from 1840 to the present day

The atlas incorporates a comprehensive gazetteer which explains the origins and development of all principal buildings, streets and features shown on the maps, with a grid-reference for location.

Some 25 or so maps show the city at various phases in its development, the complex parish boundaries of York, and York in its regional and local settings. The volume also includes a specially produced version of the second edition OS one-inch map of York and its surroundings, and modern maps of York in 2015. 

At the heart of the atlas is a detailed map of the city at 1:2500 showing all the sites of York's most important buildings and structures on a base map of c.1850, the first time that such a map of the city has been made. 

Most of the maps in the volume are presented as PDFs on a CD as part of the book.

The volume also includes historic and modern aerial photographs of the city centre, and ninety or so illustrations of the main buildings, streetscapes and prominent topographic features of the city..

The maps, text, gazetteer and illustrations are presented in an A3 stiff card binder, a format allowing for maps of different date to be compared side-by-side.

The atlas has been reprinted

The atlas was published in December 2015.  Owing to high demand, it rapidly sold out.  Two reprints  (with minor corrections) have been made. The atlas is available from York bookshops, other bookshops to order, or from on-line retailers.

It can also be ordered through Oxbow Books, and the price is £70.

Article in The Times

An article about the York atlas, written by its archaeology correspondent, Norman Hammond, appeared on page 82 of The Times on Saturday 10th September 2016. Mr Hammond talked to Peter Addyman, the volume's editor, and discusses the background to the project and what it reveals about York.  The article describes the depiction of York as a 'Northern powerhouse as being 'splendidly documented' in the volume.


"The Atlas will take its place as an essential source of reference for students of the history, geography, and archaeology of York. This is assured not only by the excellent standard of mapping and illustration, but also by the clarity of writing in the accompanying essays… Indeed, the value of this volume is not only as a lasting statement on the historic development of York, but also as a standard against which future atlases and similar projects — whether online or in hard copy — may be judged."
Steven P. Ashby
Landscape History (16 May 2017)

"...the fullest and most up-to-date history of this great city and its archaeology, buildings and topography yet produced."
Tim Tatton Brown
Journal of the British Archaeological Association, (Vol. 169, Issue 1, 2016)

"As a concise but comprehensive history, this text will undoubtedly serve as a standard reference work and introduction for many years to come; its balance of scholarly depth and synoptic overview make it particularly suitable for teaching, and use in considering York within comparative urban history."

"...there is no question that the York atlas is a tour de force of scholarship, and is recommended to all urban historians."
Justin Colson
Urban History vol 44, 3 (August 2017)

[Note that, to be able to see the reviews in full through the 'Reviews' links below requires access rights to the on-line journals cited, usually gained through membership of a university library, or similar.]