Leeds tribute to cartographer Christopher Saxton

MAPPING OUT: One of the maps drawn by Christopher Saxton, which went on display at Leeds Central Library in 2015.
MAPPING OUT: One of the maps drawn by Christopher Saxton, which went on display at Leeds Central Library in 2015.
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His drawings in the 16th century mapped out the country’s landscape and paved the way to understanding the geography of the planet.

And now the life of West Yorkshire-born cartographer Christopher Saxton, who created the first atlas and map of England and Wales, was commemorated at a ceremony in Tingley.

A Yorkshire Rose plaque 
has been installed outside the New Scarborough Inn, in Tingley, by the Yorkshire Society, close to where the famous map-maker lived in Dunningley.

After being commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I, Saxton’s atlas – the first of its kind – was published in 1579 and went on to shape future maps for centuries to come.

Peter Barber, Yorkshire Society committee member, said: “It was a very good atmosphere on the day.

“The ceremony was one of our best and people were really supportive.”

The commemoration event last week also featured a talk from local historian Clive McManus, of the Morley Archive group, about the life of Saxton and his achievements in map-making.

It was held during the popular annual Morley Arts Festival.

Yorkshire Society members, including chairman Keith Madeley, attended alongside Coun Judith Elliott and the Mayor of Morley, Coun Robert Finnigan.

Though there is some dispute over 
Saxton’s official birthplace, he lived for a period in the Tingley area.

Coun Elliott said: “I’m very pleased the we were able to include the Yorkshire Society’s plaque unveiling at the arts festival this year.

“It was something really special.

“Saxton was a very dedicated chap and the work that he did in that day and age was just unbelievable.

“He has named Dunningley on the maps so it was obvious that it was very dear to him and, as such, we would like to claim him as one of our own.”

The plaque was originally unveiled 30 years ago at the former White Bear pub in Tingley.

The site, which has been plagued by vandalism and problems throughout a lengthy planning dispute, is now set to be demolished.

But members of the Yorkshire Society stepped in, and organised the re-dedication ceremony to ensure Saxton’s memory – and his important work – is not forgotten.

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