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BW05 | Maps of the Mizen over the centuries

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BW05 | Maps of the Mizen over the centuries

In 1993 Sue Hill went to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich to view maps of the Mizen over the years from Ptolemy to the nineteenth century.  They are held in secure stores and the white gloves were taken out  to handle the huge  beautifully illustrated books and charts. It was so exciting to see how the maps had developed over the centuries.  We were allowed to buy facsimile copies, which are reproduced here.  It is a unique collection.


The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London holds 900 atlases and 80,000 charts in the library and security outstations. Here at Mizen Head a unique collection of facsimile maps from that atlas collection has been assembled to show the development of mapping and navigation in the Mizen area from the early 1500s. From earliest times, Mizen Head, Cape Clear and Crookhaven have been important landmarks.

Guide to the Maps

John William NORIE, 1772-1843

The Complete British and Irish Coasting Pilot

A new edition arranged and improved by JW Norie, Hydrographer.

Published LONDON, J.W. NORIE & Co 1835


A new Chart of the West Coast of Ireland 1833-35

A Chart of the British Channel surveyed by Rear Admiral John Knight, 1806

Published LONDON; David Steel; 1806


CORK HARBOUR prepared by Rear Admiral John Knight, 1801

Published LONDON; David Steel; 1806


A Survey of Bear Haven and Bantry Harbour by Rear Admiral John Knight, 1806

Published LONDON; David Steel; 1806

Robert LAURIE ca. 1755-1836

And James WHITTLE 1757-1818


Map chart and print sellers and cartographic publishers at the ‘GOLDEN BUCK’ No 53 Fleet Street, London. In 1794, they took over the business of Robert Sayer and operated from there. From about 1797, Laurie concentrated on the publishing business. A large number of maritime atlases and pilots and revised editions of the works of Kitchen, Jeffreys and Apres de Mannevillette were issued between the years 1794 and 1812. Laurie retired in 1812 and died at Broxbourne in 1836. After Laurie’s retirement, James Whittle carried o the business with his partners son, Richard Holms Laurie until his death in 1818. Ultimately the business formed part of the famous nautical chart form of Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson.


The Irish Coasting Pilot, on a very large scale, with sailing direction on the charts.

Published LONDON; 1795


A Chart of the West and Southwest Coast of Ireland, surveyed by Huddart 1795

Alexis Hubert JAILLOT ca. 1632-1712

The most important French cartographer of the seventeenth century after the Sansons. Initially a sculptor, he became interested in geography and cartography after his marriage to the daughter of Micholas Berry, the famous map colourist. At first working in collaboration with Guillaume and Adrien Sanson, by 1680 Jaillot had established his own reputation.



Published PARIS; Jaillot; 1700

The year of publication 1700 is shown on the engraved title; the maps themselves are dated between 1692 and 1738.


Les Iles Brittaniques by Sanson, 1719

Nicholas SANSON, pere, 1600-1667

The founder of the great school of French geographers which flourished from the late seventeenth until the end of the eighteenth century. During this period, the leadership in European cartography passed from the Low Countries to France.

Sanson, a native of Abbeville, contributed greatly to the transition, his most important works being: Cartes generals de toutes les parties du monde and Atlas Nouveau both of which ran to several editions. Nicholas Fils (d.1648), Guillaume (d.1703), Adrien (d.1708) and his grandson, Pierre Moulard carried on the tradition. Many copies of the Sanson’s atlases contain maps by other cartographers and these are noted where they occur.




Published AMSTERDAM; SANSON; 1708

Cartes generale de Costes d’Irlande et des Costes Occidentales d’Angleterre.

Johannes van KEULEN (1654-1711)

The Van Keulen family was one of the most important Dutch publishers of sea atlases at the turn of the seventeenth century. Johannes van Keulen, pere, produced his Zee Atlas in 1680, which was reprinted in 1681. They were enlarged in successive editions (in five parts from 1687) under the title: De Groote Nieuwe vermeerderde Zeeatlas of Waterwerelt and published first by himself and later by his Son, Gerard, grandson, Johannes and great grandson Gerard Hulst.

This copy is the rare English version with the title and text in English and the chart cartouches in Dutch. The coloured title to part one was drawn by Jan Luyken and engraved by Aernout Naghtegael. Every chart is signed by Johannes van Keulen.

The great and newly enlarged Sea Atlas or Water World, containing exact descriptions of all the sea coasts of the whole world, according to their true situation upon the globe in longitude and latitude as well as in plano.

Published AMSTERDAM Johannes van Keulen, 1682.



Published AMSTERDAM; Johannes van Keulen; 1682


Murdoch MACKENZIE, the Elder. 1712-1797.

In 1742, the Navy lent MacKenzie a theolodite, a plane table and a measuring chain., commissioning him to make a hydrographic and geographical survey of the Orkneys. He applied new scientific principles to measuring a base line on a frozen lake over three miles and observing its direction with relation to a magnetic needle. Then with the theolodite he took angles to intersect beacons established on the surrounding hills. Then he extended this network through the islands by a series of observed triangles. Finally, he checked the scale of the survey by taking the latitude by the meridian altitude of the sun. He mapped the coastline by taking compass bearings from a boat to his triangulated beacons ashore. He published the results in 1750 and was asked to do a survey of Britain and Ireland. In 1770 he retired after surveying around Ireland and Britain as far as Pembroke in South Wales.  His nephew took up the survey for the Admiralty using his Uncle’s methods, completing 59 charts on Ireland between 1775 and 1800.

A maritime survey of Ireland and the West Coast of Great Britain taken by order of the Right Honourable the Lord Commissioners of Admiralty Vol 1 containing the Maritime Survey of Ireland.

Published LONDON; Murdoch Mackenzie; 1776.


The South West Coast of Ireland, from the Staggs of Castlehaven to Dursey Island, 1775

Willem Janszoon BLAEU (1571-1638)

The original Dutch version of this work, Der Zeespiegel, was first published by Blaeu in folio in 1623. Ten further Dutch editions followed between 1624 and 1658 and the first English translation appeared in 1625.


The Sea Mirror containing a brief instruction in the Art of Navigation

Published AMSTERDAM; WJ Blaeu; 1635


Irish Coast: Mizen Head to The Old Head of Kinsale

John SELLER d.1697

Hydrographer to both Charles II and James II, being granted a monopoly by the former, for thirty years. Seller lived for many years at Wapping, London and had a shop at Exchange Alley, near the Royal Exchange where he sold maps, charts and other publications. A prolific compiler and published he had many notable works including THE ENGLISH PILOT, COASTING PILOT ETC.


THE ENGLISH PILOT (1671-1803) was an important sea atlas with a long, complicated history. New editions constantly appeared as the work was revised and updated. Seller and John Thornton were responsible for the early editions and then control passed to Thornton & Mount, Mount & Page and finally, Mount & Davidson.



Published LONDON; John DARBY; 1671-72

The East and West Coasts of Ireland.



Published LONDON; Richard Mount & Thomas Page; 1701



Published LONDON, Richard Mount & Thomas Page; 1701




Published DUBLIN; David Hay; 1772.



Published PARIS, Depot Generale de la Marine. 1800-24

This large series of 435 sea charts was prepared by the French Hydrographic Office l’Office de la Marine, at Paris. Many of the charts are reproductions or revisions of earlier work by Bellin, Jaillot. Apres de Mannevillette and Beautemps-Beaupre.


Vol IV Neptune des iles Britanniques

Cartes particulieres des cotes d’Irlande after Arnold and Mackenzie; 1803.






Earl of Dartmouth Collection 16th & 17th Century


  1. Munster The Province of Mounster. Map 27


  1. Limerick & Munster showing Estates. The original is drawn on vellum Map 22.


  1. Munster showing estates Map 20.


1635 William Johnson Blaeu. The Sea Mirror containing a brief instruction in the Art of Navigation and a description of the seas and coasts of the Eastern, Northern and Western navigation; collected and compiled together out of the discoveries of many skilful and expert sea-men by William Johnson Blaeu and translated out of Dutch into English by Richard Hynmers…..Amsterdam; WJ Blaeu; 1635. English text. Three parts in one short title; 32,128;155 pages; woodcut diagrams & views. 110 charts. Folio.


  1. Chart 85: Irish Coast: Mizen Head to the Old Head of Kinsale. Inset: Baltimore.


Johannes van Keulen produced the first sea atlas in 1680.

This rare, English text version of the Sea Atlas was published in 1682 in Amsterdam. English text with Dutch naps in three parts. 143 coloured charts. Every chart is signed by Johannes van Keulen.


1682 12. TITLE PAGE The great and newly enlarged Sea Atlas or Water world, containing exact descriptions of all the sea coasts of the whole world, according to their true situation upon the globe in longitude and latitude as well as plano.


  1. MAP 54 Nieuwe pascaert van de suyt syde van Yrlandt van Blasques van Waterfoort.


1784 11. Chart 59. De Haven von Corke with inset of Cape Clear & Mizen Head by Gerard Hulst van Keulen the Dutch cartographer took over from his father in 1779.


John Seller, Hydrographer to both Charles II and James II for thirty years. He was a prolific compiler of maps, charts and publications. The English Pilot was an important sea atlas with a long and complicated history. It was constantly being brought up to date. The first edition was published in 1672 and the last in 1803.


1672 The English Pilot 1st Edition published by John Darby in London. 2 books in 149 coloured charts.

The English Pilot. The First Book. Describing the sea-coats, headlands, soundings…in the whole Northern Navigation…The Second Book. Describing the sea-coasts…in the whole Southern Navigation…collected for the general benefit of our own country-men by John Seller. The foot of the second preface is signed by John Seller and dated “from my house, at the sign of the Mariners compass, at the hermitage stairs in Wapping, this 10th day of November 1670”.




  1. PAGE 21


  1. PAGE 23


  1. PAGE 30


  1. CHART 31


1701 The English Pilot 3rd published in London by Richard Mount & Thomas Page. Edition 29 charts, 21 later editions.




  1. PAGE 21


  1. PAGE 22


  1. PAGE 23


1772 The English Pilot 10th edition published in Dublin by David Hay. 27 uncoloured charts.




  1. PAGE 55


  1. PAGES 56 & 57


  1. PAGE 58


1700 Alexis Jaillot. The maps are dated from 1692-1738. Alexis Herbert Jaillot married the daughter of Nicholas Berey, the famous map colourist and became the most important French cartographer of the seventeenth century. He worked with the Sanson’s before establishing his own reputation.


Atlas Francois 173 maps in 2 volumes. Paris 1700.

Atlas Francois, contenant les cartes geographiques dans lesquelles sont tres exactement remarquez les Empires, Monarchies, Royaunmes et Estats de l’Europe, de l’Asie, de l’Afrique et de l’Amerique…a Hubert Jaillot, geographe ordinaire de la Majeste.


  1. MAP 9


  1. A new hydrographical survey of the West Coast of Ireland


1708 Nicolas Sanson pere the father of a great school of French Geographers which flourished from the late seventeenth century until the end of the eighteenth century. He moved the centre of cartography from the Low Countries to France. Cartes generales de toutes les parties du monde and Atlas Nouveau ran into several editions. Atlas in three parts i) 18 coloured plates of ships, 12 coloured plates of flags, 30 printed and coloured charts, 1 world chart and 29 charts of the Atlantic Coasts of Europe ii) 9 printed and coloured charts of the Atlantic coasts of Europe iii) 32 printed and coloured charts of Africa, Asia ad America. Published in Amsterdam in 1708.


  1. TITLE PAGE Le Neptune Francois ou Atlas Nouveau des cartes marines. Levees et graves par ordre expres du Roy. Par Mr Sanson. Reveu & mis en meilleur ordre par les Sieurs Pene, Cassini et autres. Tome I/A Amsterdam. Chez Pierre Mortiere Librare sur le Vygen Dam. 1708


  1. CHART 10 Carte Generale des Costes d’Irlande et des Costes Occidentales d’Angleterre


1795 The Irish Coasting Pilot on a very large scale with sailing directions on the charts. LONDON; Laurie & Whittle; 1795. Surveyed by Huddart 1795. 6 charts.


1776 Murdoch Mackenzie Snr; Hydro-surveyor to the Admiralty. Produced Ireland Volume I of an Atlas in 2 volumes; 28 printed charts and 1 plate of Coastal elevations of Ireland. Published London; 1776.


  1. TITLE PAGE. A maritime survey of Ireland and the West of Great Britain taken by order of the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of Admiralty Vol 1 containing the Maritime Survey of Ireland.


  1. CHART I


  1. CHART V






Neptune Francois. Published in Paris by the Depot Generale de la Marine 1800-1824/ 11 volumes with 435 charts. Volume IV Neptune des Iles Brittaniques. 31 Charts.


1803 8. CHART 19. Carte des cotes occidentales d’Irlande


1822 9. CHART 21 Carte particulieres des cotes d’Irlande. After Arnold & Mackenzie 1803.


1828 Capt Sir John Knight Hydrographer Surveyed Steel’s Charts of Ireland 1801-1806. Published London 1828 by David Steel. There were 11 charts.


  1. CHART 4


  1. CHART 10


  1. CHART 11


1835 John William Norie. The complete British & Irish Costing Pilot. Published London 1835. 16 charts.


  1. CHART 9B A new chart of the west coast of Ireland. Inset Bear Haven.


Contact Us

Mizen Head Signal Station
Mizen Tourism Co-operative Society Ltd.
Harbour Road
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E: info@mizenhead.ie

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