Collecting maps from children’s books and historical fiction of Rosemary Sutcliff

I am embarking on a hunt got all the maps that appear in Rosemary Sutcliff books, of all types. I hope readers can help ….

Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

6 thoughts on “Collecting maps from children’s books and historical fiction of Rosemary Sutcliff”

  1. One map readers should be wary of is the one published by 18th century antiquarian Charles Bertram, whose convenient “discovery” of a medieval manuscript conveniently filled in all sorts of gaps in Britain’s Dark Age history and was gratefully received when he published it as a book titled “De Situ Britanniae”. This has in more recent times been proven to be a complete fraud, though rather alamingly is still quoted as a genuine source on the internet. It’s a good reminder of how misinformation gets repeated over time until it eventually becomes accepted as received wisdom.

    See Charlotte Higgins’ article about tis hoax history with picture of the map here:
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/19/history-roman-map-18th-century-hoax

    I personally encountered Bertram’s hoax chronicle some years ago when trying to find out if there was any basis for the Roman naval station of Theodosia based at Dumbarton which Rosemary Sutcliff mentions in the preface to her novels, “Mark of the Horse Lord”. This naval station makes a significant appearance in the story.

    I hunted high and low, and despite many snippets online confidently detailing its existence, there was no actual supporting evidence to be found anywhere. I finally did what anyone does when stumped- I consulted a librarian – in this case a friendly and helpful one with an interest in local history based at Dumbarton. He confirmed my suspicions about this purported naval station by explaining that it originated with “De Situ Britanniae” and only existed in Bertram’s imagination. Though a good guess on Bertram’s part – it would seem logical that the Romans might have made use of a hill fort like Dumbarton – apparently absolutely no evidence to date, either archaeological or documentary, has been found of a Roman naval station at the site.

    This is of course no reflection on Rosemary Sutcliff, who was making use of information still believed at the time to be reliable, and merely says that “you will not find the ruins of a Roman Naval Station at Dumbarton Rock; though a strong tradition says that there was once one there and that it was called Theodosia”.

    She does provide a map of Britain in the Second Century at the beginning of “Mark of the Horse Lord” (one for your collection), though it has to be said that the existence of the northern province of Valentia as shown in it is subject to considerable doubt these days.

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  2. I actually came to this page from an Internet search for a map of “Mark of the Horse Lord”. Rosemary Sutcliff is probably my favourite author, and I have recently been rereading all her books in e-book format. Unfortunately – the e-books do not seem to contain maps (I have a recollection that some of the library print ones I read as a child might have done) – and I was actually wondering how many of the novels have extant maps at all. It would definitely add to my enjoyment of these books if there was a map to refer to, as I sometimes find the use of the ancient names for places a bit confusing (although atmospheric). I had been thinking of making my own map of this particular novel as I was surprised to discover halfway through it, that some of the events take place virtually in my back garden (I live in rural Argyll on the slopes of Beinn Donich which features in the novel).

    So it would be great to know which of the books there actually are maps of and I would be happy to contribute to trying to create ones where none currently exist.

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    1. Thanks for offer. Am still collating those I can find.
      Shame about some modern reprints, especially e-books, is they do not include the original illustrations of any type.

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  3. Hey there, what a great project! What maps do you have so far? I can start going through my books and taking pictures of some of the ones you don’t have when I get around to it!

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