Britannia, John Ogilby, 1675
These were a method of showing routes across England & Wales, characterised by using a set of short, narrow maps showing the road and its side-tunings. A printed page would have many strips, with the top of the first strip being continued at the bottom of the second strip, etc. To show how they slowly changed, I have shown the strip showing the same place from each of the mapmaker’s publications.
About 100 years after the first county maps by Christopher Saxton, John Ogilby created the first (and it turned out only) volume of Britannia. There are 100 plates showing roads, split into Direct Independents (the major roads from London), Direct Dependents (major roads starting on a Direct Dependent), Cross Independents (major cross-routes) and Accidentals (other notable roads), plus 200 pages of description – all at a consistent 1 inch to a statute mile (ie 1,760 yards, c.1,600 meters) scale, or 1:63,360. There is a dot for each furlong (220 yards, c.200 meters), plus at each mile the number of miles from the road’s start. Significant side roads are shown along the routes, plus buildings and other features close by the roads.
Britannia was also issued without the descriptive text pages in 1675 (and for the first time with plate numbers, inside the bottom right corner), and then again in 1698 with just 48 pages of text
The routes shown can be viewed as very reliable depictions of actual roads. However, it was a very bulky book, frankly more of a “coffee table” book than a guide to take with you, perhaps of use that you could take imaginary journeys around the country whilst sitting at home, or perhaps to impress your friends with your level of knowledge of the country.