N is for….

29 October 2013

…. John Norden. Norden was born in Somerset. He entered Hart Hall, Oxford, in 1564 and graduated BA in 1568 and MA in 1573. He subsequently led an itinerant existence, though for much of his life had his home in Middlesex. In 1592, he was living on the outskirts of London in Walham Green, Middlesex and by 1607, he was at Hendon, Middlesex, where he remained until 1619, before moving to the parish of St Giles in the Fields, where he eventually died in 1625. He was married and had at least two sons, John Norden junior, and Josias.

John was a writer of county histories, surveyor and mapmaker (~1548-1625?) who planned to follow Camden and Lambarde by writing a series of county chorographies illustrated by small maps. He called his project ‘Speculum Britanniae’. He was also a prolific writer of devotional works.

After obtaining the backing of Lord Burghley, in 1591 he began a careful survey of more than a dozen counties. His project sadly collapsed upon the death of Burghley in 1598. Only Middlesex (1593) and Hertfordshire (1598) were published during his lifetime with posthumous editions covering Northamptonshire (1720), Cornwall (1728), Norfolk (1938) and Suffolk (1976).



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