The Charles Close Society for the study of Ordnance Survey maps

Digital Images Archive

226. 1:25,000 Celtic Earthworks of Salisbury Plain: the Amesbury sheet (CCSA.CCS_218B_67/8)

One of the objectives of the Ordnance Survey’s Archaeology Officer, O.G.S. Crawford, was to map the Celtic Earthworks of Salisbury Plain at the 1:25,000 scale. Since at the time a civilian map at that scale did not exist, Crawford obtained permission to use the relevant sheets of the military series GSGS 3906. Six sheets were required: Charlton (Sheet 44/16 NW), Everleigh (Sheet 44/16 NE), Yarnbury (Sheet 44/16 SW), Amesbury (Sheet 44/16 SE), Grovely (Sheet 44/14 NW), and Old Sarum (Sheet 44/14 NE). Old Sarum was the only sheet to reach publication, in 1933, reprinted in 1937. A copy of the 1937 printing, held in Cambridge University Geography Department Library, had this Ordnance Survey type-written sticker appended to it:

Ordnance Survey. 1:25,000 Celtic Earthworks of Salisbury Plain. / These maps are intended mainly for use in the field. The sheet shows the system of Celtic fields as far as these have been discovered. Known archaeological features have been taken as a base and have been supplemented by additional data from air maps and field work. There has been no attempt to complete the map – rather it is a work dedicated to field archaeologists in the hope that their labours will amplify the next edition.

The successor to Old Sarum, the sheet immediately north of it (44/16 SE), was entitled Amesbury: this map reached proof stage in 1940. We do not know now the whereabouts of any copy of this proof. This poor image is taken from a 35 mm slide made over thirty years ago from a privately owned copy held at that time in the R.C.H.M.E. office in Salisbury. We were also given a monochrome photograph of the map, in which the detail is much clearer, which is now held in the CCS Archives at CCSA.OS_L191. The other four sheets were not even drawn, though a six-inch map with archaeological annotations, entitled Grovely, held in a private collection, is probably relevant.

The four-page Foreword to the Amesbury sheet, remarkably, was printed in April 1941 (HMSO print code Wt. P 1483-110. 300. 4/41 A.,P.&S., Ltd.)., Though it appears over the signature of the Director General Major-General M.N. Macleod, it was no doubt written by O.G.S. Crawford. There is a copy in the CCS Archives at CCSA.OS_595_17.