Pont Maps of Scotland, ca. 1583-1614 - Biographies
Timothy Pont: the facts
Our knowledge of Timothy Pont has to be pieced together from just a few known facts. Those in bold below relate to Timothy Pont; those in plain text are to provide contextual information.
|1566||James VI crowned king of Scotland.
|1568||Mary Queen of Scots, James's mother, flees to England.
|1574||Timothy Pont's father, the Rev. Robert Pont, bestows
an annual grant of church funds on him.
|1577||Sir Francis Drake sets out to sail round the world.
|1580||Pont enrols as a student at St Andrews University. (Acta
Rectorum Session 1580/81, St Andrews University MS Records UY/305/2/f.9;
|1582||Edinburgh University founded.
|1583||Pont graduates from St Andrews University. (Faculty
of Arts Bursar's Book, 1583, St Andrews University MS Records UY/412/f.62r)
Father's annual grant of funds to Timothy renewed. (Cash, 1901)
|1584-85||Serious outbreak of bubonic plague in Scotland which may
have affected Pont's itinerary. (Shrewsbury, 1970)
|1587||Mary Queen of Scots, in exile in England, is executed.
|1592||Pont receives a commission to undertake a mineral reconnaissance
of Orkney and Shetland. He may have carried out this survey the following
year. (NLS Adv. MS 19.1.24, f.33; Kinniburgh, 1968; Moir, 1973, p.38).
|1593||Pont's father assigns him £140 - the bulk of an annuity
received from Edinburgh Town Council. (Edinburgh Town Council MS Records,
vol.IX, p.412, 21 February and 29 June 1593).
|1596||Pont completes his map of Clydesdale. This map (Pont
34) is the only surviving map to bear a date ('Sept et Octob: 1596 Descripta').
This and other evidence indicates that Pont may have ended his travels
by April 1596. (Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland, 1596-97,
p.40, 20 July 1596; Megaw, 1969)
|1600 or 1601||Timothy appointed minister of the parish of Dunnet,
Caithness. (Church of Scotland, Book of Assignation and Modification
of Stipends, 1607-15, NAS MS E.47/8)
|1603||Union of the Scottish and English Crowns: James VI of Scotland
inherits the throne of England on the death of Elizabeth I and becomes
James I of Great Britain.
|1605||Pont is in Edinburgh and draws his annuity. He was probably
attending the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. (Edinburgh Town
Council MS Records, 29 May 1605, vol.XI, p.337; Moir and Skelton, 1968,
|1605||Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, London
|1609||Pont applies for a grant of lands in the north of Ireland,
but is unsuccessful. (Reg. Privy Council of Scotland, vols.VIII, p.330,
and IX, p.lxxxi; Moir, 1973, p.39)
|1610||Pont's signature on a charter from Sutherland shows that
he is still 'Parson of Dunnet' on 7 December 1610. (C. Innes), 1855, vol.2,
pt.2, p.789; Moir and Skelton, 1968, p.151)
|1603-12||Pont's map of Lothian and Linlithgow engraved in Amsterdam
by Jodocus Hondius the elder, probably between 1603 and 1612. (Moir and
Skelton, 1968, p.151)
|1611||Pont lends 1,000 merks in gold to the Earl of Caithness.
(NAS, RD1/225 f.119)
|1614||Another minister is recorded at Dunnet, showing that
Pont is no longer minister there. (H. Scott (ed.) Fasti Ecclesiae
Scoticanae, vol.VII, p.119)
|1615||Isobel Pont, recorded as Timothy's 'relict' or widow,
collects a debt due to Timothy in Tongue. This was for the sum of 300
merks lent to his sister Margaret and her husband Alexander Borthuik
in 1607. (NAS, RD1/225 f.119)
|1620||The Pilgrim Fathers land in New England.
|1625||Death of King James VI and I. Charles I accedes to the
|1629||King Charles I records in a letter that his father,
James VI and I, had intended financial support for Pont's project.
He directs that James Balfour should now receive the money to further
the plan of publishing the maps. (C. Roger, 1885, p.339; Moir and Skelton,
|1630||Pont's map of Lothian and Linlithgow, dedicated to James
I, first published in the Mercator-Hondius atlas.
|1642||Civil war breaks out between Charles I and the English
|1648||Robert Gordon of Straloch praises the work of Pont
in a letter to Sir John Scot of Scotstarvit.
(Blaeu, 1654; trans. Cash, 1901, & Cunningham, 1999; Moir and Skelton, 1968, p.149)
|1649||Charles I executed in London. Charles II accedes to the
|1654||In Amsterdam, Joan Blaeu publishes volume five of his
Atlas Novus. Its maps of Scotland are based mainly on Pont's work.
View Atlas Novus