Longsleddale Map Notes
An extract has been made from each map used for the Lakes Guides project, that shows Longsleddale, a civil parish in Westmorland, now in Cumbria. The map features, symbols and labelling, have been studied for places in the parish. Why Longsleddale? simply because we live there; it is the area we know best and are most interested in. Studying all maps at this level would be nice, but would take more time than we have, and we wanted to try a detailed look at a small area. The places identified in the tabulations are in the parish. A line had to be drawn somewhere. Places outwith the parish can be seen on many of the map extracts, but the coverage varies, and consistency is important; so, Longsleddale only.
The more you look closely the more you distrust maps, of any period.
Rivers, in particular the River Sprint, are a strong
clue to other features. Even when unnamed it is possible
to recognise tributary streams.
Early maps suggest relief very roughly, usually
with hillock symbols. It is possible to believe that
the valley is defined more or less well on some of
When hill hachuring takes over the definition of valley, pass, and individual hills is more credible, but still uncertain unless supported by a label.
Contours, particulary when supported by layer colouring, give a better idea of the shape of the valley and its hills. Labels, even if just a spot height, enable reliable identifications of some hills.
The most curious thing on early maps, and on small
scale maps at any period, is why particular houses and
farms are chosen to be included on the map. Inclusion is not
a reliable measure of importance. Nor is it a
reliable indicator of age. Nor is it a reliable indicator
of position until the more scientific mapping begins at
medium scale in the 18th century.
It is possible to find clues about who copies who if
the inclusion, position, and the spelling of the labels
of places are studied. Inclusion and spelling are
tabulated for a range of features to enable this.
Placename labels on a map are not an authoritative guide to the names of places, on modern maps or on old.
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