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March Museum acquires a new scan of the oldest map of Doddington, Wimblington and March



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March Museum is now proudly displaying a scan of the oldest known map of the area that dates back to around the time of Elizabeth I.

The map was drawn around 1600 probably for the then Lord of the Manor, but unfortunately the cartouche, the decorative box on the third panel, which would normally contain details of whom the map was made for, the date and the name of the surveyor, was left empty. It is the oldest known large scale map of the area.

The Manor of Doddington, which included March and Wimblington, was held by the Abbots of Ely since the 9th century and then, following the foundation of the See in 1109, the Bishops of Ely.

The photograph shows the map with from left David Edwards the museum archivist, David Copsey, chair of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Family History Society and Gordon Thorpe chair of March Museum following the map's installation. (57042241)
The photograph shows the map with from left David Edwards the museum archivist, David Copsey, chair of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Family History Society and Gordon Thorpe chair of March Museum following the map's installation. (57042241)

But in the 1580s Bishop Cox came under pressure to hand over Doddington and other valuable manors to the Crown. Bishop Cox died in 1581 before the arrangements could be completed and in an act of pique a new Bishop was not appointed for 19 years, during which time the revenues from the estates were received by the Crown.

In 1600 Bishop Martin Heton was appointed on condition that he handover Doddington and other manors immediately.

This was done and Doddington briefly became a Royal manor of Elizabeth I before being granted to Sir John Peyton in 1602, who was Lieutenant of the Tower of London at the time.

It seems that these quick changes of ownership at the start of the 17th century may be the reason for the incomplete cartouche.

The map itself is eight feet long by two feet eight inches depicting an area approximately six miles wide between Primrose Hill Doddington and Estover in March.

Each plot is marked with name of the owner, followed by “nat” for copyholder or “lib” for a freeholder.

Buildings are coloured red on the map, but there are also illustrations of Doddington and March St Wendreda’s churches, Doddington rectory and the windmills on Norwood common and in Wimblington. March Stone Cross is also marked. Intriguingly the Manor House within the moat at Doddington is not illustrated.

The Museum has held a copy of this map made in the 1930s by The Cambridge University Library for many years but we now have a new scanned copy on display of the original map, kindly funded by the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Family History Society.



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