The Gough Map of Great Britain (also known as The Bodleian Map) is the oldest surviving road map of Great Britain, dating from around 1360. Drawn in pen, ink and coloured washes on two skins of vellum, the map’s dimensions measure 115 x 56cm. It was donated to the Bodleian Library in Oxford by Richard Gough in 1809, along with the rest of his collection of maps, prints, books and drawings, under the terms of his will.
Although the map is undated, clues are given by certain features, such as the town of Sheppey which changed its name to Queenborough in 1366, but is still marked as Sheppey on the map, whilst paleographic evidence suggests the mid- to late fourteenth century.
Once the reader is aware that the map shows east at the top, then the outline of Great Britain quickly becomes familiar. Rivers are given strategic importance, with the Severn, Thames and Humber predominant, and even the loop of the Wear at Durham readily evident. Other physical features are identified by symbols, for example a tree locates the New Forest.
Routes between towns are marked in red on the map, with distances included in Roman numerals, also marked in red, best seen on those roads radiating out from London, and also along the Welsh coast.