Linguistic Geographies

11 April 2011


Three centuries of language, script and cartography in the Gough map of Great Britain

A public exhibition in the Proscholium, Bodleian Library, Oxford

14 May – 16 June 2011


One of Britain’s truly outstanding medieval maps is on public display in the Proscholium, Bodleian Library. The ‘Gough map’ is a remarkable English depiction of Great Britain, created sometime during the later fourteenth century and subsequently amended during the fifteenth century.

The precise origins of the Gough map have long been uncertain despite much scholarly interest. Only recently has the map received careful palaeographical study, and this has yielded a great deal more insight into the map’s making and its use. The map was donated to the Bodleian Library in 1809 by the great antiquarian, Richard Gough, in whose volume on British Topography the map gained its first modern study. This exhibition includes both the Gough map – a unique manuscript – as well as Gough’s Topography, as two key documents of English cartographic history, providing viewers with a rare opportunity to see close-up the fine details of the map, and in particular the writing that appears on it. The map’s script is a key to understanding its making and use, and the exhibition offers new interpretations based upon an on-going research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The exhibition is organised by the Linguistic Geographies project team, with particular inputs from Nick Millea and Elizabeth Solopova. The team wish to thank the Bodleian Library for its support of this exhibition, as well as the Arts and Humanities Research Council. For more information on the project please visit

Further details on the exhibition at:

  • Opening Hours
    Mon-Fri 9am – 10pm (Vacation 9am-7pm)
    Sat 9am – 4.30pm (Vacation 9am-5pm)
    Sun: 11am – 5pm
    Admission Free





Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.