Great Addington Maps 


On this page I have brought together all the earliest maps I could find that I thought were of interest.

One of the very earliest maps showing the Addingtons, c1565

This is an extract of a map from an atlas that belonged to William Cecil Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State. 

Great Addington is in the centre of the map with Little Addington just below it. The lines are rivers. Roads are not shown. The dotted line denotes the county border.

Burghley used this atlas to illustrate domestic matters. It is hand produced and is from before 1570 and probably the work of John Rudd (1554-1570).

Rudd was Vicar of Dewsbury and had a keen interest in cartography and had been engaged in the 1550’s in making a ‘platt’ (plot) of England. In 1561 Rudd was granted leave to travel further to map the country and it is likely that this map is from that period. 

The original map is held by the British Library and can be found here.

Bowen & Kitchin Map of Northamptonshire 1760

This is an extract of the Bowen and Kitchin map of Northamptonshire, published in 1760. The map is full of colour, especially the elaborate map title (see detail panel). 

Colourful detail of the Bowen & Kitchin map of 1760

John Cary's Map of Northamptonshire 1801

This is an extract of John Cary's map of Northamptonshire, published in 1801. It has fine details including the minor roads and tracks that were missing from the Bowen & Kitchin map.

The road from Finedon to Thrapston - part of which is the modern A510 - was a toll, or turnpike, road (denoted by the darker line along the side of the road). The toll booth was situated near the "round house" just outside the parish boundary. It is marked as "Peterboro Rd from Oxford".

Turnpike road were controlled by Turnpike Trusts. These started around 1730 and by 1825 there were more than 1,000 such trusts controlling 18,000 miles of roads.

The Addingtons are shown as Addington Magna and Addington Parva, names which were used in the Medieval period but had not been used for some time. For some reason during the Georgian period the old place names started to be used again.

The road going from Little Addington (Parva) towards Irthlingborough is shown just as a track and presumably was therefore not that good. 

A detailed map of the village from circa 1803. 

This map is asociated with the inclosure documents. The author is unknown, but it is of an excellent quality. 

There are a number of buildings shown which no longer exist, though it is fun to identify the properties that still stand.

I believe the buildings in red were the houses and those in grey are barns, workshops, etc.

The building numbered 35 near the bottom of the image is "Home Farm", though it is not given that name in the accompanying documents and predates the existing building which is was rebuilt by James Rennie Wilkinson in the late 19th century.

In Bridges History of Northamptonshire from 1719 this is the building referred to as "the Manor", and is probably the site or even the remains of the Medieval manor house of the de Vere family.

The building numbered 56 near the centre-left of the image, down and left from the church (No. 1), is now known as Great Addington Manor, but at the time of the enclosure was known as "The Mansion". Despite its modern name it was not the original manor house which was in a different location entirely (near No. 35) and has long since been demolished.

More information about this map, the inclosures of 1803 and the people living in the village at that time is given in the Georgians section of the History.

Image from Mike Lower, 2020.

Preliminary Ordnance Survey  drawing 1816-1817

This is an extract from the pen and ink sketch map produced by William Hyett and was his preliminary work in preparation for the later Ordnance Survey maps. The map is held by the British Library and can be found here. Hyett was a military map maker and worked for the Ordnance Survey from 1805 to 1817. Hyett collected information through first-hand experience by walking the land, adding details of man-made and natural features to a triangulated base map.  This drawing would have been one of the last he produced.

In 1803, Great Addington's Medieval open fields had been enclosed and the fields are very much as they are today.  However, Little Addington was still managed in the Medieval open-field system until 1830 and this can be seen on the map; the area around Little Addington is one giant open field without hedges or fences.  

This map, therefore, uniquely enables us to see side by side the two villages with both the Medieval open fields and the modern enclosed fields that we see today. 

The full drawing covers part of the valley of the River Nene as it meanders through farmland and the towns of Wellingborough and Irthlingborough. Mills are depicted throughout the area, especially along the course of the Nene. With coal absent from the area, natural resources, predominantly wind and water, were used for industrial processing.

The British Library possess 351 of the original preliminary drawings made by the surveyors between the 1780s and 1840. 

Being significantly larger in scale, the preliminary drawings show much more detail than the printed maps. Together, they present a picture of Regency England and Wales unparalleled in its accuracy. 

Ordnance Survey 1885 

This is my favourite old map of Great Addington and the first produced by the Ordnance Survey. The colouring of water features is all original and was not repeated in later maps. The full map can be found at the National Library of Scotland (NLS).  This map scale is in the format used at the time of 6 inches to mile. There was also a series of OS maps produced that were at a far more detailed level of 25 inches to the mile, at which point individual houses can be determined within rows. The first series produced in the 1880's have colouring to rivers and buildings, sadly however the map for Great Addington is not held by the NLS and may even have been lost- though the maps of the surrounding area and villages is available.  The later 1890's 25:1 series are available at the NLS, but lack the colouration of features.

An interesting aspect of this map, is that due to the use of coloured water features we can clearly see the mill pond formed by the two streams near the corn mill (now demolished) at the southern end of the village. This mill-pond is mentioned in many texts and can also be seen on the 1803 inclosure map and the 1817 preliminary OS drawings. There is a mill pond mentioned as far back as the Domesday Survey of 1086 though its precise location is not given.

Parallel to the Ringstead road is the quarry and tramway.  It was in this area that the 5th Century Anglo-Saxon cinerary urn was found and is now held by the British Museum. 

Also shown, bottom right, is Ringstead Mill and Ringstead Station, both of which are long gone.