Sources

National Library of Scotland 

1. William Roy's Military Survey of Scotland 1747-55.  The originals are  in the British Library: good copies, reduced versions and original protractions.  The on-line digitised version is available provided by the  National Library of Scotland. It was the only detailed and comprehensive map of Scotland in existence prior to 1800.  It  was conceived and commissioned exclusively for a military purpose, which is important because  bridges matter so much to the military.  It predated the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and  Turnpike roads.  Measurements were made with a Gunter's Chain and simple triangulation with a gun sited non-optical early theodolite.  Much of the detail was recorded by rough judgement and sketching.  There is an abundance of detail and waterways are carefully recorded with every contour.   Bridges are easily identifiable.  This makes it the perfect historical baseline resource.  On this site, the date ascribed to finding a bridge  on Roy's map is '1750'.  The Military Survey ( on-line) can be found at  http://maps.nls.uk/roy/index.html

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2. Timothy Pont's manuscripts are available, digitised and on-line provided by the  National Library of Scotland.  These late 16th century documents comprise the oldest detailed maps of the mainland but only a proportion still exist.  It is probable that Pont merely walked the course, but that alone, in its day, was a remarkable accomplishment.  Bridges are identified, though sometimes without much clarity and oaccasionally it can be difficult to distinguish them from other detail.  Many of the maps are more in the nature of sketches or drafts- often messy and over-written.   It can also be difficult to identify precisely a Pont bridge and locate it on a modern OS: more interpretation and guesswork are required than with Roy.    Pont also provided a wealth of descriptive text and this  material along with his maps, on 38 sheets, was taken in hand by Balfour Scot and Gordon to provide the basis of Blaeu's Atlas.  On this site, the date ascribed to  finding a bridge on Pont's map is '1600', which may be rather later than the survey date.  Timothy Pont's maps, on-line,  may be found at http://maps.nls.uk/pont/

3.  Blaeu's Atlas Novus Vol V was published in 1654.   Much of the material was from Timothy Pont, who had died around 1613.   In 1629 Pont's  maps and manuscripts were bought from his family by the historian Sir James Balfour.  Balfour passed on the material to atlas maker William Blaeu in Amsterdam, who enlisted Sir Robert Gordon and Sir John Scot to assist in preparing  the maps for engraving and publication. The existing maps were expanded with  texts, other maps were consulted and some additional surveys were done.   The beautiful maps in the Blaeu atlas have a great deal more clarity but probably no more precision than Pont provided; the geographical area covered is considerably wider.   On this site, the date ascribed to a finding on this atlas is a compromise of '1640'.  The Blaeu Atlas on-line may be found at http://maps.nls.uk/atlas/blaeu/



Other Links

Additional Information on William Roy, the Roy map and 18th century roads  and road network may be found at http://www.roysroads.co.uk

Many of the linked references have pointed the reader to the resource pages of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The main website URL is  http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/

Many links also take the reader to British Listed Buildings http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/

Supporting material on engineering as well as for some individual bridges from The Institute of Civil Engineers.   
http://www.ice.org.uk/topics/historicalengineering

Old Roads of Scotland has provided many items of supporting material and cross references. http://www.oldroadsofscotland.com

The Old and New Statistical accounts of Scotland have been regularly scrutinised; particularly the 1791-99 Old Accounts for every parish in Scotland, often describing roads and bridges.    edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/ 

A further invaluable resource is the three volume series of Walter Macfarlane’s Geographical collections relating to Scotland.  Volume 1 describes early 18th century parishes; not comprehensive geographically, but a range of attributed and unattributed essays on the geography and social history of the country.  Volumes II and III offer descriptions from the 16th and 17th centuries, more loosely based on parishes; this material has been largely attributed to Robert Sibbald, who in turn gathered information from Timothy Pont, John and Robert Gordon and others.   The material from these volumes is older than the Roy maps and older than the statistical accounts.   https://archive.org/details/geographicalcol00macfgoog


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Dec. 2012                                      Site last updated  May2017