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The Gazetteer of Early Modern England and Wales.[1]


In using maps and texts to create the Gazetteer of Early Modern England and Wales (EMEW), we are fortunate to be building on the work of others, including:

And in particular:

Paula Aucott and Humphrey Southall have highlighted the potential and limitations of gazetteers,[3] and an excellent example of gazetteers being used to illuminate historical texts is the geotagged edition of Camden's Britannia on Humphrey Southall's Vision of Britain Web site.

Our open-licenced EMEW Gazetteer will be an important resource of temporospatial data for the study of economic, demographic, and transport development in England and Wales between 1530 and 1680.

Linking Data

We are linking our own dataset to features in existing datasets and gazetteers by using Recogito to tag place-names in texts and points on maps. Recogito requires these 'Authority Files' in a very particular format, and so we have developed a configurable conversion program (written in PHP) which can be found here.

We have in some cases reconfigured the searchable text of each feature in order to streamline the geotagging process within Recogito.

Users' Guide to Viae Regiae Customised Meta-Gazetteers for Recogito

  • Administrative Areas: the centroids of 20,779 administrative areas, derived from various sources (Recogito cannot display areas, only points). Type the category of administrative area you're looking for, followed by its name, for example "commote elfed" (case insensitive). Recognised categories are parish, commote, cantref, hundred, and county (click for source references).
  • CAMPOP Towns: 3,915 settlements identified by The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure that could be considered to be a town at some time between c.1611 and c.1900. Points are placed, generally, as close as possible to the oldest identifiable structure within a settlement, and so this gazetteer is considered more authoritative for our purposes than any of the other settlement gazetteers. We are grateful to Leigh Shaw-Taylor and CAMPOP for making available their as-yet unpublished point data.
  • County Junctions: 304 points where three or more ancient county boundaries meet. Search by county, so for points where Cheshire meets two or more other counties, enter "junction cheshire".
  • GB1900: 1,171,234 points extracted from the Second Edition County Series six-inch-to-one-mile maps covering the whole of Great Britain, published by the Ordnance Survey between 1888 and 1914. We are grateful to Humphrey Southall for making available here the data from this crowd-sourced text extraction project.
  • GB GeoNames: 64,318 modern place-names from the GeoNames geographical database. To be used only to gain a rough geographical fix on a location not found in one of the other gazetteers.
  • Hillforts: 4,125 locations in England and Wales identified by Wikidata as hillforts. These have been indexed as "HILLFORT" together with the names of the counties in which they are located, so in order to find a hillfort in Shropshire you might simply search for "hillfort shropshire". You might also find it by name, for example "stevenshill", "hillfort stevenshill", or "stevenshill shropshire".
  • Historic England Bridges: 227 extant bridges listed by Historic England, filtered by probable construction date before 1680.
  • Landing Places: 832 mainly-coastal locations identified in surveys undertaken in 1565, georeferenced by Stephen Gadd. Some points represent settlements, but most are best-guess locations of quays.
  • Monasteries: crossing points of the churches of the 588 monasteries in England and Wales dissolved between 1535 and 1540, georeferenced by James Cameron for his MonasteryQuest™.
  • Rivers: 96,515 points along named watercourses (at roughly half-mile intervals), derived from the Ordnance Survey Open Rivers GIS. Points (except MOUTH-type) are searchable by county, so the quickest way to locate a river in Anglesey would be to search for "river anglesey" (case insensitive). You can narrow the search by including the river name (for example "river caradog"). You can also search for a confluence, for example "confluence anglesey", or "confluence caradog" (which returns the confluence of Afon Crigyll and Afon Caradog), a source, or a mouth.
  • Tudor Bridges: 1,470 bridges, ferries, and fords, identified from various Tudor sources and georeferenced by Stephen Gadd. Most are unnamed, but the gazetteer includes some toponyms from both Leland and 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps. Bridges identified on Saxton maps can be located with the search term "SAXTON"; all features include the searchable term "BRIDGE" and the name of the historical county in which they are located; any feature recorded as a ferry or ford is also searchable as such. Therefore, the quickest way to locate a bridge identified by Saxton in Hampshire would be to search for "saxton hampshire" (case insensitive); Briton Ferry in Glamorgan can be found by searching for "ferry glamorgan" or "briton ferry", but the latter may also return many non-specific results if other gazetteers are also in use.
  • Wikidata EW: 26,176 locations in England and Wales identified by Wikidata as settlements.

Please contact us with other suggestions!


  1. Image from Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, Historia Naturae, 1635.
  2. We owe particular thanks to James Heald for his creation of an England and Wales subdataset.
  3. Paula Aucott and Humphrey Southall, Locating Past Places in Britain: Creating and Evaluating the GB1900 Gazetteer, International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, Volume 13 Issue 1-2, Page 69-94.