Roy Military Survey of Scotland, 1747-1755

Map originals, images and bibliography

Roy Map Index

Original protractions and fair copies

Although there were original protractions made of both the maps of northern and southern Scotland, various copies were made, in particular a fair copy of northern Scotland. (No such fair copy was made for southern Scotland.)

The maps were retained by David Watson until his death in 1761, then passed briefly to the Royal Library, who lent them to William Roy sometime after 1763. From these, various reduced copies in manuscript were made. After Roy's death in 1790 all the maps were returned to the Royal Library, and transferred on to the British Museum in 1828.

The digital images

Sometime before 1844, the two sets of rolls (12 rolls as the fair copy for the north, and 10 of the original protraction for the south) were remounted as 38 sheets of unequal size (one to six further sections) Each sheet was backed on linen and dissected further into six compartments, preserved in eight slip cases to form a composite map of all of Scotland.

Roy Map boxes and strips
The Roy Map slip cases containing folded Roy Map strips at the British Library.

It is the smallest dissected part of these sheets that were photographed in the late 1980s and scanned. The 1,100 digital images were seamed together into their original strips and the strips then fitted together and rotated to a best-fit correspondence with modern outlines for ease of searching. These maps are all held in the British Library today at Maps K.Top.48.25-1.a-f.

The Roy Reference shown on this website is the unique identifier for the particular part of the Roy Map, incorporating a Strip Number (1-38), a Section Number (1-8) and a Part (a-f). Read further information about the Roy Map Reference.


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Further Information