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Articles on the History of Essex, Researching your Ancestors,
and British History
Essex on the map.
Using maps to discover the history of Essex and its people.
Maps are great assistance to the local historian and genealogist. These are links to various maps of Essex which are available on the internet (links will open in another browser window). Some are very good quality, but others are frustratingly, very blurred, or are only available in good quality format through commercial sources, or require a personal visit to an archive.
The most comprehensive and best maps for Essex are:
The Chapman and Andre 1777 maps at 2 inches to the mile. Some are linked below, but the best source is the archives at the Essex Record Office.
The Ordnance Survey maps at 6 in. and 25 in. to the mile published from the mid-19th century onwards. These can also be found at the Essex Record Office or on the links detailed below.
Finally, the Title Map for each parish. These mostly date from 1837 to 1850 and provide a detailed map of the parish with a land ownership schedule. This example is from our Kelvedon Hatch tithe page. Again these are available at the Essex Record Office.
Early maps of Essex in varying quality and size.
These includes a small selection of the 1777 Chapman and Andre maps in high definition.
1786 John Cary’s map of the area of Ongar and Blackmore is very similar to the Chapman and Andre’s map.
Chorographia Britanniae website
Badeslade map of 1741. Shows main roads and towns. with comments on their market days. Unusual angle viewed from the east.
W Toms map of 1742 with more detail.
London Ancestor website
Map which accompanies the Report of the Boundary Commissioners for England and Wales,1885.
Ordnance Survey Maps for the 19th century
The best quality images by far are from the excellent National Library of Scotland's website. They provide the Ordnance Survey's six-inch series for England and Wales between 1842-1952. Either as individual sheets, or a zoomable overlay layer (1888-1913) on modern Google and OS maps, or as a zoomable layer (1888-1913) side-by-side with modern Google and OS maps.
British-history.ac.uk or through the links supplied for each location in our A to Z of Essex places. They are at medium resolution and some individual details are difficult to make out, but they are detailed enough to identify some individual houses and features, and follow the trail of a census return.
Francis Frith (Commercial)
Similar quality but a high quality image can be purchased.
Reasonble quality images but no save option. High quality images for framing can be purchased.