BLAEU, Joan (1596 - 1673). Comitatus Northvmbria Vernacule Northumberland. Amsterdam: c. 1647.
Single sheet (20 x 23 ¾ inches sheet). Full margins. Engraved map with original hand color in outline.
A very decorative map of Northumberland, the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. This map is beautifully decorated with an elaborate title-cartouche held by 2 cherubs, a figure cartouche with the scale of map ("Milliar. Anglica quorum."), a cartouche with the royal coat of arms, 2 ships and 11 family coats of arms (incl. 3 blank shields). Depicts Hadrian's Wall as the Pictes Wall, from Newcastle to beyond Carlisle.
Northumberland is a northernmost county in North East England; bordering with Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south and Scotland to the north. The county of included Newcastle upon Tyne until 1400, when the city became a county of itself. Northumberland expanded greatly in the Tudor period.
Northumberland has a rich prehistory with many instances of rock art, hillforts such as Yeavering Bell and stone circles like the Goatstones and Duddo Five Stones. Most of the area was occupied by the Brythonic-Celtic Votadini people, with another large tribe, the Brigantes to the south. Northumberland is often called the "cradle of Christianity" in England, because Christianity flourished on Lindisfarne-a tidal island north of Bamburgh, also called Holy Island-after King Oswald of Northumbria (reigned 634-642) invited monks from Iona to come to convert the English. Lindisfarne saw the production of the Lindisfarne Gospels (ca. 700) and it became the home of St Cuthbert (ca. 634-687, abbot from ca. 665), who is buried in Durham Cathedral. Bamburgh is the historic capital of Northumberland, the "royal" castle from before the unification of the Kingdoms of England under the monarchs of the House of Wessex in the 10th century. After the Restoration of 1660, the county was a centre for Roman Catholicism in England, as well as a focus of Jacobite support. Northumberland was long a wild county, where outlaws and Border Reivers hid from the law. However, the frequent cross-border skirmishes and accompanying local lawlessness largely subsided after the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England under King James I and VI in 1603.
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