Tudor London

A new edition of the detailed street map of the City of London 500 years ago - now reprinted and updated

Would today's London be recognisable to the Tudors?

The buildings and streets of Tudor London have almost completely disappeared.  The monastic houses were dissolved in the sixteenth century; the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed two thirds of the city; the Roman and medieval walls were largely swept away in the eighteenth century; Victorian roads and railways cut swathes through the medieval street plan; and the bombing of the Second World War destroyed most of what had survived the Fire.  Fewer than a dozen medieval buildings are left in the City of London today. 

But Tudor London still lurks beneath the surface! This map has been reconstructed by historians who have studied the surviving documents, and by archaeologists who have provided evidence from the remains now buried well below the present street level.

Their painstaking work has made it possible to create this map of the Tudor city as it was five hundred years ago in the early years of the sixteenth century when the Scottish poet William Dunbar admired London, and celebrated it as "The Flour of Cities All".

The map of London about 1520 was first created about 30 years ago by Col Henry Johns.  The Trust has now published a completely new edition, substantially expanded, revised and updated.  The map has been increased in scale to 1:2500, and is printed on a large map sheet (similar size to an OS Explorer map) in full colour, with a large number of building categories shown.

The map now covers a larger geographical area and includes part of Southwark on the south bank.  All the major buildings have been reviewed and most of them revised to take into account research and archaeology over the last 30 years.  The buildings are now coloured according to category (e.g. parish churches, civic and commercial buildings, defensive structures), and the map shows parish boundaries for the first time.

The wider geographical coverage allows us to show some of the buildings that were out in the fields beyond the city wall - the complex of St Mary Spital, for example.

The reverse of the sheet has a directory of all the streets and buildings shown on the map, as well as a map of the City of London's wards in 1520.  It has a brief history of the city, and information boxes on some of the themes of London's history - the river and waterfront, and the many inns shown on the map

ISBN 978-0-9934698-3-1    

RRP: £9.99

New printing with corrections and additions published March 2020

The map has been revised by Professors Caroline Barron and Vanessa Harding (both trustees of the Historic Towns Trust and experts on the history of London), Professor Martha Carlin who is an expert on medieval Southwark and Dr Nick Holder who has recently published a book on the religious houses of medieval London.

Publication of the map has been made possible by a generous grant from the London Topographical Society, and the Historic Towns Trust is very grateful to the LTS for its support.

Revising the map of Tudor London

The map's authors have written an account of the creation of the new version of the map, looking at some of the research and editorial decisions made during its compilation as well as some of the challenges faced in the recreation of any lost landscape in mapped form.  The article can be found here (or by accessing a PDF of the same article attached to the end of this page), along with a bibliography of the sources used in revising the map.

Professors Caroline Barron and Vanessa Harding have also written about the original map and the project to revise and update it, as part of the LAMAS Local History Conference, held in November 2016.  The article is available to read by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

A Layers of London webinar was broadcast on May 28th 2020 when the Trust's cartographer, Giles Darkes, described and explained the way that this map was made, along with its sister map of medieval London.  The webinar is available to watch on YouTube.

Note that the Historic Towns Trust does not sell its maps directly, but they can be easily obtained from bookshops or on-line book retailers.

 

_____________________________________________________

An extract from the map of London in 1520, revised for its second printing

_____________________________________________________

 

Part of the new map of London's wards in 1520