British Library, Additional MS 63841
(The Aslake World Map)


Produced: England, 3rd quarter 14th century
Location: British Library, London, England, UK
Type: Map
Language: Latin
Illustrated: Yes
Media: Vellum
Dimensions: Height: 60 cm Width: 23 cm


The Aslake World Map: fragments of an anonymous world map with related items; probably of the third quarter of the 14th cent. From the late 15th cent. until after acquisition by the British Library, the fragments served as binding for a rental relating to the lands of Walter Aslake, primarily in Holme next the Sea, co. Norfolk. ... Circumstantial evidence suggests that the map may have been housed at Creake Abbey, Norfolk, prior to the fire of 1483.

A. Fragment showing the area between India and the Red Sea (top), the Canary Islands (bottom), Mediterranean coastline of Africa (left), 'Ethiopia inferior deserta', fanciful Atlantic islands and descriptions of the Marvels of the East (right); circa 1360-1375. Not to scale. Mostly Latin. ... The fragment can be dated from comparison with surviving portolan charts and from its Anglicana Cursiva Documentaria script which lacks any Secretary elements. The fragment represents about a quarter of the original. It shows a close resemblance in content and lay-out to the Psalter world map of 1275 or earlier (Add. 28681, f. 9), to the late thirteenth-cent. Duchy of Cornwall fragment and, to a lesser extent, to the Ebstorf world map of circa 1235-1245 and the Hereford World Map of circa 1290. There is, however, considerable textual variation and some variation in content. The toponymy of the Mediterranean coastline is largely taken from a portolan source. The map is adorned, in an apparently unsystematic manner, with ink drawings that are visible under ultra-violet light. Faded red and brown inks on vellum. 600 (max.) x 230mm. (max.).

B. A further fragment of the world map, formerly used as thongs for the binding. It contains fragments of place names, partly legible under ultra-violet light. Vellum. 480 x 8mm. (max).

[Adapted from the British Library catalog]

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