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sherbourne map
Staff at Dorset History Centre with the 1834 Percy map of Sherborne.

A huge and beautifully illustrated map of Sherborne dating from 1834 has been gifted by legal firm Porter Dodson to Dorset History Centre where it will be accessible to the public.

The parchment map which measures 2mx 1.3m had, for several decades, been the focal point of interest in the firm’s board room but due to an office relocation it proved impossible to accommodate the huge map in the new premises.

The map was created by cartographer Thomas Percy who was commissioned by the Wingfield-Digby family of Sherborne Castle. Two copies of the map were produced.

The map is unusually detailed. It shows the town of Sherborne and the surrounding countryside. Features on the map are colour coded e.g. dwelling houses in pink; churches in black; industrial buildings in grey; arable land yellow-brown; and pasture in green and the quality of the workmanship is still very evident nearly 200 years later.

Each plot on the map is numbered. Information about owners and land usage can be found in the map’s accompanying book of reference or ‘terrier’. It is a vital resource for anyone interested in the history of Sherborne and stands as a very fine example of early nineteenth-century cartography.

The map is now safely housed at Dorset History Centre, the county’s archive service in Dorchester. There it will be carefully conserved and digitised.

Councillor Laura Beddow, Portfolio Holder for culture and communities said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Porter Dodson for this generous gift and are delighted to be adding such a fantastic item to the public collection.’

Scott Bowley, partner at Porter Dodson Solicitors said: ‘We are extremely happy to gift the map knowing it will be preserved and enjoyed by the public at large for generations to come. Porter Dodson solicitors can trace it roots in Melmoth House back to 1899 and so Sherborne and its history is so important.’

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