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## Pont Maps of Scotland, ca. 1583-1614 - History

**Mysterious Numerals on Pont, Gordon, and Adair maps** by Bob Henery

Many maps by Pont, Gordon, and Adair have numerals written on them, some in a prominent position in the middle of the map, near the top, yet others in a top corner, and some deliberately bleached out making them nigh impossible to read. Jeffrey Stone (1) says of the numerals:

*"The numerals seem to bear no relation to Cash's list, nor to the record provided by Gough (1780) of their relative position " in the Advocates' Library ". The origin and meaning of the numerals is a mystery."*

It turns out that there are three or more sets of numerals, one related to Gough's list of 1780 (2), one related to Cash's list of 1907 (3), and others whose only known characteristic is that they are bleached. Which numerals are on any given map is rather variable. Pont's map of Clydesdale has three numerals: a prominent **73** top mid left, a very faint bleached 4 (?) just above it, and a 34 top right (Figure 1).

**Figure 1. Numerals on Pont 34 Clydesdale.**

Cash labels this map "Pont 34", and this explains the numeral 34 top right. I cannot explain bleached numerals anyway, so I have set the bleached 4 aside, leaving 73 as the numeral relating to Pont 34 in Gough's list (see the last entry in Table 1).

For other maps, we ignore bleached numerals, and also numerals equating to Cash's map numbers. The remaining numerals are usually prominent, usually near the top middle of the map, and these mysterious numerals I will call "Gough numerals", and write them in bold font. Occasionally the Gough numerals are difficult to read, or may be read in different ways. I have chosen that which best fits Gough's order. For example, **81** could be **18** upside down, so I have choosen **18** for map 2 in opening XV (see Table 1).

The Advocates Library held the maps in a single volume with 50 openings. In Table 1 we list all the maps in the order given by Gough in 1780, with a short version of Gough's description of each map, together with the numeral identified and its location on the map. Generally the numerals in Table 1 form an uninterrupted sequence from **1** to **75**. One exception is Gordon 54 in opening XII, a single manuscript with two maps, one numbered 42 (but bleached) and the other 43. These numerals clearly do not belong to the Gough sequence, which otherwise gives numerals to manuscripts. In any case, numeral **42** is attached to another map, Pont 19, in its proper place in the Gough sequence. I would conclude that both numerals 42 and 43 on Gordon 54 belong to the bleached set. Numeral 82 on Gordon 48 is also out of sequence, but the largest numeral in the whole Gough sequence is only **75**, so numeral 82 may have some other explanation.

Though the map in the first opening is now missing ("The west coast..."), that is the only casualty since Gough's list of 1780, and it may be significant that the Gough sequence starts with numeral 1 in the second opening. Perhaps the Gough numerals were written after this map was lost. Some numerals are missing in the whole Gough sequence, for example numeral **15**, which we would expect in opening XII or XIII. It is possible that this numeral is on the back of a manuscript, or was on a segment of map lost by wear and tear.

The mysterious numerals imply a slight rearrangement compared to Gough's list of 1780, with numeral **75** preceding numerals **72** and **73**, for example. This is consistent with Fullarton's observation of 1858 (4) that the maps were no longer in the order given by Gough. It is also consistent with these particular numerals being the handiwork of Cash in 1907, who says that his first step "was to number the maps consecutively in the order in which they were then bound, so that subsequent identification would be easy" (3)

**Table 1. Gough's list of maps in the Advocates Library (opening, number, description), the "mysterious" numerals on the maps, and the modern names of the maps.**

Gough's list of maps (1780) | Numbers of the maps (? added 1907), and modern map names | ||||

Opening | Number in opening | Gough description of map (abbreviated) | Mysterious Numeral | Location of numeral on map | Map name (Cash 1907) |

I | West coast, rivers Forth, Tay, in black pencil and ink | Lost | |||

II | Teviotdale, Ettrick, Lothians, Forth, Tay | 1 | top middle | Gordon 6 | |

III | 1 | Caithness, Southerland, Ross, Mearns, Murray | 2 | top middle | Gordon 2 |

III | 2 | England divided into Roman provinces, | Gordon 1 | ||

III | 3 | Kyle, Carrick, to Mull of Galloway | 3 | top middle | Gordon 60 |

III | 4 | Shire of Gallaway | Gordon 61 | ||

IV | 1 | Dumfries, Cumnock in Kyle, Selkirk | 4 | top middle | Pont 35 |

IV | 2 | Cantyre | Gordon 39 | ||

IV | 3 | Cunningham from Clyde to Irvine | 5 | top left | Gordon 59 |

IV | 4 | Tweedale and Roxburgh, Clyde to Glasgow | Gordon 56 | ||

V | 1 | Shire of Etterick Forest | 6 | top middle | Gordon 57 |

V | 2 | chart of the entry into river Tay [Marr] | Pont 31 | ||

V | 3 | Maimor in Lochabir Tim Pont | 7 | top middle | Pont 13 |

V | 4 | Lochs Goyll, Lung, and Gherr, part of Lennox | Pont 16 | ||

V | 5 | Glastrie and Ardskeodenish, Loch Fyne | Pont 15 | ||

VI | 1 | Loch Lomound, Loch Loung | 8 | mid right | Gordon 49 |

VI | 2 | Loch Lomound from Glinshyro to Dunbritton | 9 | top middle | Pont 17 |

VII | Tay, coast of Fife, Loch Lomond | 82 | top left | Gordon 48 | |

VIII | Sea coast from Cromarty to Tay | 10 | top middle | Gordon 4 | |

IX | Part of Orkney, coast from Duncansby to Bamff | 11 | left middle | Gordon 3 | |

X | north east coast, from Dunrobin to NE of Murray frith | 12 | top middle | Gordon 18 | |

XI | Adair's Mid Lothian | 13 | top middle | Adair 9 | |

XII | 1 | Edderacheules | 14 | left middle | Pont 3 |

XII | 2 | North Fife, Falkland | 42 | bottom right | Gordon 54A |

XII | 3 | Abernethie, Londores, Mugdrum, and Newburgh | 43 | bottom right | Gordon 54B |

XIII | 1 | properties of Leys on the river Dee | Gordon 31 | ||

XIII | 2 | Part of Murray containing Elgin, Spynie | Gordon 23 | ||

XIV | Cromarty point to Redhead on east coast | 16 | top middle | Gordon 25 | |

XV | 1 | outlines of Angusshire | 17 | top left | Gordon 45 |

XV | 2 | Fife by James Gordon, with plans of Cowper | 18 | bottom left | Gordon 53 |

XVI | East Lothian, by Adair | 19 | top middle | Adair 10 | |

XVII | 1 | Keanrosse 1642 by James Gordon | 20 | top middle | Gordon 52 |

XVII | 2 | Forth, Ben Lomond, Monteith | Gordon 51 | ||

XVII | 3 | coast, from Dunrobin to Findhorn | Gordon 17 | ||

XVIII | 1 | course of Dee river | 61 | top right corner | Gordon 28A |

XVIII | 2 | Devern in Banffshire, Cabrach to Strathbogie | 61 | top right corner | Gordon 28A |

XVIII | 3 | Draught of river Dee | 62 | top right corner | Gordon 28B |

XVIII | 4 | Athol and Rennoch | 22 | top middle | Gordon 40 |

XVIII | 5 | country above Perth | Pont 24 | ||

XVIII | 6 | Course of Tay | 38 | top right corner | Pont 25 |

XIX | West Lothian by Adair | 23 | top middle | Adair 8 | |

XX | 1 | Part of Argyllshire, lochs Sheill, Dowich and Luong | Gordon 15 | ||

XX | 2 | Loch Aw in Argyleshire from Cheulchurn | 24 | right middle | Pont 14 |

XX | 3 | All river tilt, parts of Badenach, Marr, part of Dee | Pont 20 | ||

XX | 4 | Dee from Birse to Innerchat | 25 | top left corner | Gordon 29 |

XXI | Aberdeenshire and adjoining counties | 26 | top middle | Gordon 32 | |

XXII | Loch Ness, Inverness to Cullen, Spey | 27 | left middle | Gordon 5 | |

XXIII | 1 | Yla, Gleney, Lintrathen | 28 | top middle | Gordon 43 |

XXIII | 2 | Findhorn river | Gordon 22 | ||

XXIII | 3 | Loch Lochy to Glencoe | 29 | top middle | Gordon 37 |

XXIII | 4 | Loch Tay, river Tay to Weemys | Pont 18 | ||

XXIV | 1 | Lochaber, lochs Ness, Rennach and Timmell | 30 | top middle | Gordon 38 |

XXIV | 2 | Birse, Dee, Banchories, Tanner | Gordon 30 | ||

XXIV | 3 | Strathardill and Glenshee | Pont 27 | ||

XXIV | 4 | Lochaber, with lochs Ness and Lochie | 71 | top right corner | Gordon 36 |

XXV | 1 | Strathern, from Glen Ammond to Kinkardin | 32 | top middle | Pont 21 |

XXV | 2 | North Esk river | 50 | top right corner | Pont 30 |

XXV | 3 | Prossynn and South Esk rivers | 50 | top right corner | Pont 30 |

XXV | 4 | Renfrewshire, Clyde to Flattertown | Gordon 55 | ||

XXVI | Hydrographical map of Forth by J. Adair | 34 | top middle | Adair 4 | |

XXVII | 1 | barony of Renfrew | 35 | top middle | Pont 33 |

XXVII | 2 | Cowel, Lochaw, and Lorn | Pont 12 | ||

XXVII | 3 | Tay, from Lyon river to Dunkeld | 36 | left middle | Pont 23 |

XXVII | 4 | Angus, from loch Ordy, to Yla | 36 | left middle | Pont 23 |

XXVII | 5 | Ochell Hills, Ern | Pont 22 | ||

XXVII | 6 | Nether Stormont, Tay at Ruthven | Pont 22 | ||

XXVIII | 1 | Glen Yla, Ruthven to Lintrathen | 37 | top middle | Pont 28 |

XXVIII | 2 | Part of Angus, Airly, Kirk of Alyth | 37 | top middle | Pont 28 |

XXVIII | 3 | outlines of the same | 37 | top middle | Pont 28 |

XXVIII | 4 | Dumbarry, Airly to Cowper Angus | 37 | top middle | Pont 28 |

XXVIII | 5 | lower Buchan, from Kynaird's head | 38 | top middle | Gordon 33 |

XXVIII | 6 | Loch Shinn and environs | Gordon 12A | ||

XXVIII | 7 | Lochs Imberboll, Quinag, Ben More Assynt | Gordon 12B | ||

XXIX | East Fife from Dysart to Fife's ness by John Adair | 39 | top middle | Adair 7 | |

XXX | 1 | Strathbogie and Ainzie | 40 | top middle | Gordon 26 |

XXX | 2 | Rosshire, Tayn Frith to Tarbat ness | 41 | top middle | Gordon 20 |

XXX | 3 | Coygach and Lochbreyn | Gordon 14 | ||

XXX | 4 | Glenelg, loch Carroun and Kiserness | Gordon 14 | ||

XXXI | 1 | river Garry, part of Loch Eyracht | 42 | top middle | Pont 19 |

XXXI | 2 | Cathenesia | Gordon 9 | ||

XXXII | 1 | Draught of river Charrron, from Tim Pont (back) | 43 | top middle | Gordon 19 |

XXXII | 2 | Edera Chules between Strathnavern and Assyn | Gordon 11 | ||

XXXII | 3 | Sutherland, Strathuskel, Strathcharron | 45 | bottom right | Gordon 10 |

XXXII | 4 | west coast, from river Meaty to loch Owrin | Gordon 13 | ||

XXXIII | Strathern, Stormont by Adair 1683 | 46 | top middle | Adair 2 | |

XXXIV | 1 | Lochs Garry, Lochie, Ness to Inverness | 47 | top middle | Pont 5 |

XXXIV | 2 | friths of Tayne, Cromatie | 48 | top middle | Gordon 16 |

XXXIV | 3 | NE coast, Buchan Ness, Inverugie to Ythan | Gordon 35 | ||

XXXV | 1 | Strathdon, river Don, to Foulford | 49 | right middle | Gordon 27 |

XXXV | 2 | Part of Aberdeenshire, Inverugie, Pitsligo, Ythan, Fyvie | Gordon 34 | ||

XXXVI | Stirling, Forth, down to West Lothian by Adair | 51 | top middle | Adair 3 | |

XXXVII | 1 | Strathnavern, from loch Bellachchorn | 52 | left middle | Pont 2 |

XXXVII | 2 | County of Murray | 53 | right middle | Pont 8 |

XXXVIII | 1 | Buchan, from Ythan by Tim Pont | 54 | right middle | Pont 10 |

XXXVIII | 2 | west coast, Loch Ewe, Loch Broom, Gruinard | 55 | bottom middle | Pont 4 |

XXXVIII | 3 | Glen Elchegg (i.e. Elg) | 55 | bottom middle | Pont 4 |

XXXVIII | 4 | back part of Rosshire | 55 | bottom middle | Pont 4 |

XXXIX | west part of Scotland, Clydsdail, Nithsdail by Adair | 56 | top middle | Adair 11 | |

XL | 1 | Dee from Kincardin O'Neil to Aberdeen | 57 | left middle | Pont 11 |

XL | 2 | Dureness, Westmoyn, Kintail | 58 | left middle | Pont 1 |

XL | 3 | Angus, south Esk, Prosyn and Yla rivers, Lintrathen | Pont 29 | ||

XLI | 1 | Strath Braen, lochs Monarr, Mayly, Benachan | 59 | left middle | Gordon 21 |

XLI | 2 | Ben Lawers, Dee, Tanar, Strathavon | Pont 7 | ||

XLII | The sheriffdome of Ettrick forest by Adair | 60 | top middle | Adair 12 | |

XLIII | 1 | Strathdon, river Don, lochs Awin and Builg, river Avin | Gordon 24 | ||

XLIII | 2 | coast between Spey and Diverne | 62 | right middle | Pont 9 |

XLIII | 3 | Part of Buchan, Banff, from Spey to Deveron | Pont 9B | ||

XLIV | 1 | Abernethy and course of Spey | 63 | top right | Pont 6 |

XLIV | 2 | course of river Marke or north Esk | 64 | top middle | Gordon 44 |

XLV | Orkney by Adair | 65 | top middle | Adair 1 | |

XLVI | 1 | Clackmananshire | 106 | top right corner | Adair 6 |

XLVI | 2 | Clackmananshire, more beautifully done | 68 | right middle | Adair 5 |

XLVII | 1 | parts of Perthshire and Angus, Carse of Gowry, Yla | 69 | bottom right | Gordon 41 |

XLVII | 2 | Part of Perthshire, Carse of of Gowry and Angus | Pont 26 | ||

XLVIII | 1 | Nithsdail, described by Tim Pont 1644 | 70 | top middle | Gordon 62 |

XLVIII | 2 | Description of Merse (Berwickshire) | Gordon 58 | ||

XLVIII | 3 | Eskdail, Eusdail | 71 | top middle | Gordon 64 |

XLVIII | 4 | Eskdale, Eusdail, and Liddisdail, Solway frith | Gordon 63 | ||

XLIX | 1 | part of Angusshire with Yla, Lintrathen loch | 75 | top middle | Gordon 42 |

XLIX | 2 | Tay from Perth, Fife coast, Eden, Leven waters | Gordon 47 | ||

XLIX | 3 | Stirlingshire and Lennox, Daldowie on Clyde | Gordon 50 | ||

XLIX | 4 | Stirlingshire and Lennox, but fuller | Pont 32 | ||

L | 1 | east coast, from Orkney, Caithness, to Cocket | Gordon 7 | ||

L | 2 | Tay, up to Perth, St Andrews | 72 | top right | Gordon 46 |

L | 3 | Shetland, Fair Isle | Gordon 8 | ||

L | 4 | Clydesdale, confines of Tweedale | 73 | top middle | Pont 34 |

(1) | The Pont Manuscript Maps of Scotland, Jeffrey C. Stone, 1989, pp 12-15. Beware two typos in Appendix I: Pont 35 = IV/1; and Gordon 59 = IV/3. |

(2) | Gough, R., British Topography (London, 1780). |

(3) | Cash, Scottish Geographical Magazine, p 575, (1907). |

(4) | Fullarton, J., ed., Topographical Account of the District of Cunningham, Ayrshire (Glasgow, 1858) , page xxvii. |