John Speed

John Speed

Farndon, Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority, Cheshire, England
Death 28 Jul 1629 (aged 76–77)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial London, City of London, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 4316 · View Source
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Cartographer. Born in Farndon, Cheshire, England, the son of a tailor. At about age eighteen, Speed was admitted to the Merchant Tailor's Company in London. He married two years later and would eventually father twelve sons and six daughters. While working in London, Speed developed a strong interest in history, particularly antiquities and genealogies. His first cartographical work, a four sheet wall map of Canaan in Biblical Times, was published in 1595. His interests led him into acedemic circles and he joined the Society of Antiquaries. At the age of 48, Speed’s talent was encouraged by Sir Fulke Greville, who gave Speed an allowance to enable him shift his career from tailor to researcher and cartographer. His ‘Historie of Great Britaine’ was published in 1611 along with his atlas ‘The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine’ which contained the first set of individual county maps of England and Wales as well as maps of Ireland and a general map of Scotland. Two years before his death Speed published ‘A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World’ which was the first world atlas produced by an Englishman. His health then failed rapidly as he suffered from apparently progressive blindness and other ailments. He died at age 77 and a monument at St. Giles, in Cripplegate was erected to him in the church, comprised of a bust, flanked by two stone doors with inscriptions. Damaged during the Blitz, only the bust now survives.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 6 Jan 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4316
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Speed (1552–28 Jul 1629), Find a Grave Memorial no. 4316, citing St. Giles Cripplegate Churchyard, London, City of London, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .