The ‘Boldest Plagiary in the Whole Pack’

Blome, Richard, 1673. Britannia: or, A Geographical Description of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, with the Isles and Territories Thereto Belonging. Illustrated with a map of each county of England, besides several general ones
Detail of Blome’s Map of North Wales

Richard Blome
 

(1635?-1705) was a publisher and cartographer who produced a great number of maps, but none were his original work and he was often accused of plagiarism. Blome usually made no attempt to hide his sources and in 1696 the antiquary Bishop William Nicolson branded him the ‘boldest Plagiary in the whole pack’, accusing Blome of plagiarising William Camden and John Speed for text and maps respectively in his compilation of Britannia1. Indeed, the series of county maps combined in Blome's Britannia were based on the latest editions of the mapmaker, John Speed.

Blome’s section on Wales is divided into North and South Wales and is further sub-divided into county-by-county descriptions which include comments on the extent of the bounds, the quality of the soils, and the rivers and castles of each, followed by descriptions of the major settlements of the time. The market town of Lampeter, for example, is described as “indifferent good” but being very good for “Sheep, Heafers, Cows and Calves”. 

Blome, Richard, 1673. Britannia: or, A Geographical Description of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, with the Isles and Territories Thereto Belonging. And for the better perfecting of the said work, there is added an alphabetical table of the names, titles, and seats of the nobility and gentry that each county of England and Wales is or lately was, enobled with. Illustrated with a map of each county of England, besides several general ones. London: Printed by T. Roycroft for the undertaker, R. Blome. (PHI 01206). Presented to St. David’s College by Thomas Phillips in 1840.

Next