Crediton map comes home

Part of an unique map giving a bird's-eye view of Crediton over 260 years ago has been acquired by the Devon Heritage Centre for permanent preservation with generous support from the Friends of Devon's Archives.

The historic map dating from 1743 has been purchased at a sale in London by Devon County Council with financial assistance from the Friends and the Crediton Area History Museum Society. Historians have long been aware that this map fragment might still survive, as a larger part of the same town map, which is owned by a local family, has been on deposit in Devon County Council's Record Office since 1978.

The new piece of map (below) shows part of one of Devon's most ancient towns just months before a large part of Crediton was destroyed by fire. At least sixteen people died on 14 August 1743 - more than the number who perished in the Great Fire of London.

(Click on image to enlarge. Full image opens in new window and may take a few moments to download).

The County Council's Executive Member for Culture, Councillor Sheila Hobden, said: "This is a really wonderful acquisition for the Devon Heritage Centre. I hope many people take the time to look at this piece of history and enjoy it."

John Draisey, the Devon County Archivist, said: "It is still a mystery who actually drew this map which gives amazing detail about what Crediton looked like over 260 years ago. Now we have catalogued the map and made it some protective packaging, local historians in Devon will be able to examine this long missing piece in the jigsaw of Crediton's history."

Committee members of the Friends of Devon's Archives were present at the Heritage Centre on 8 August when the newly acquired portion of the map was unveiled before the Mayor of Crediton, local historical society members and Councillor Hobden. Simon Dixon, project officer for the Friends of Devon's Archives eighteenth century project was on hand to give a brief talk on the historical context of the map. The map is currently on display in the search room of the Devon Heritage Centre.

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