Sketch Map, Derbyshire, ca. 1550, L.e.144

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For related articles, consult Manuscripts (disambiguation).

A facsimile of this item was featured in a temporary display in the Founders' Room during the installation of Age of Lawyers, one of the Exhibitions at the Folger in 2015.

More information about this manuscript and others from this collection can be found in the Guide to the Bagot Family Papers.

This display was curated by Caroline Duroselle-Melish, the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Early Modern Books and Prints at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Item Label

Sketch Map, Derbyshire

Ca. 1550

Facsimile of L.e.144

LUNA Digital Image

This pen and ink sketch map was likely drawn in the 1550's as part of two lawsuits involving Sir Humphrey Bradbourne (b.1513-d.1581) over the use of a brook in Derbyshire. Both of these lawsuits arose from repeated altercations between several generations of the Bradbourne and Beresforde families over propriety rights to water usage from the watercourse represented in the map.

Bradbourne asserted that he held exclusive proprietary rights to manipulate the flow of the brook from the parish of Bradbourne to where the watercourse entered the River Dove near the parish of Ashebourne. Beresforde countered the assertion, saying that he possessed use rights to the waters as they flowed in his lands and that the brook actually lost the name "Bradbourne Brook" at the Fenny Bentley parish boundary, becoming "Bentley Brook" for its remaining run to the Dove. Beresforde's trenching to divert water to power a fulling mill (a process in woolen cloth making) was firmly within Fenny Bentley parish. Bradbourne sent his men to break up the trenches and remove the water diversion anyway.

Bradbourne The draftsman of the map depicted the brook in question with a wider inked line running lengthwise along two sheets of paper sewn together. The parishes (bound by thin parallel lines) are named, as well as a hanful of Sir Humphrey's land holdings, but the watercourse itself remains unnamed. The drawing focuses on showing where diverse use-right disputes occurred along the watercourse's flow. One example seen in the labels on the map is "a weyre [weir] maide by Sir Thomas Cocken grand fayer [grandfather] & pulled downe by Sir Humfrey Bradborn plaintif."

The map offers a visual summary of intergenerational struggles between prominent Derbyshire families over the highly valuable flow of this watercourse. Because of the map's economic and legal value, it would need to be kept for future generations, and L.e.144 possibly followed Sir Humphrey's daughter, Anne, to the Ferrers Family with her 1584 marriage to Humphrey Ferrers (b.1541-d.1607)

In the late nineteenth century, Sir Thomas Phillips, who amassed one of the largest book and manuscript collections of all time, acquired the Ferrers Family papers, which are now at the Folger Library. Many manuscripts from this collection are included in the exhibition The Age of Lawyers.

See L.L. Yim, "The Watercourse in Variance: Resituating a Tudor Manuscript Map from Derbyshire," Imago Mundi: International Journal for the History of Cartography, 68.2 (forthcoming June 2016).