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Cornwall and its Wonders

Cornwall/ England. SPEED, J. [London, 1610/ 1676]
Cornwall. 15 x 19 ¾ inches
Fine hand color; reinforced at bottom of centerfold, else excellent.


A very attractive example of a map of the county of Cornwall in southwestern England. It is decorated liberally with coats of arms, ships and sea monsters. It was the work of Dutch engraver Jodocus Hondius, who engraved many of the plates of Speed’s atlases.
There is an inset view of the walled borough of Launceston and several depictions of historical and geological wonders of the region, which are also discussed in the verso text. “In the parish S. Clare, two stones are pitched, one of them inscribed in a strange character, and the other called the other half stone…” These are now known to be fragments of medieval crosses. Speed describes a set of notable standing stones as well: “The Hurlers also, fabuled to be men metamorphosed into stones but in truth show a note of some victory, or else are so set for Land marks.” Lastly, a remarkable stone formation called the Cheesewring is noted: “There also the Wringcheese doth show it self, which are huge Rocks heaped one upon another, and the lowest of them the least, fashioned like a Cheese, lying pressed under the rest of those hills, which seemeth very dangerous to be passed under.”

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