Map Name Extraction Project


Based on

Historic Parishes of England & Wales

Electronic Map - Gazetteer - Metadata

Roger J P Kain - Richard R Oliver
Published in 2001 by History Data Service, UK Data Archive, University of Essex

The Book's introduction

"This book introduces a newly compiled Electronic Map of the historic (mainly pre-1850) parishes, townships, and other local administrative areas of England and Wales which is set to become a standard reference resource. The book describes the data and the method of compilation, and includes an abbreviated version of the full Gazetteer/Metadata which serves as a hard copy index to the places located on the Electronic Map.


  • the value of a map of the 'historic parishes' of England and Wales
  • the inadequacy of existing published maps of 'historic parish' boundaries
  • sources of parish boundary information for the Electronic Map
  • compiling the Electronic Map boundaries
  • the topographic underlay for the boundary mapping
  • abbreviated Gazetteer/Metadata
  • 12 figures and tables, 243 pages

The Electronic Map covers the whole of England and Wales, and is organised by Ordnance Survey Sheet number. The map consists of scanned bitmap images of the Ordnance Survey one inch to the mile (1:63,360) New Popular Edition maps (1945-8) with National Grid. It contains the boundaries of some 18,233 places, and is arranged as three electronic 'layers'. The first is a scan of the Ordnance Survey maps stored as grey tone sheet images. This enables Ordnance Survey physical, cultural and place-name content to be readily visible in the background for orientation and general location purposes, while not obscuring the added boundary and reference number material. The second layer consists of the boundaries, stored as solid red lines; and the third layer contains the reference numbers that link places on the map to the gazetteer/metadata dataset that accompanies the maps.

The maps are available on CD-ROM in Adobe Illustrator v.6 (£45 plus P&P) or Adobe Acrobat PDF (£15 plus P&P). Adobe Illustrator format is recommended if you already have the software (as it enables you to edit the maps and select the layers to view). However, the Adobe Acrobat PDF format is perfectly suitable for viewing the maps, and the the necessary reader software will be supplied.

This unique combination publication will become an invaluable tool for all those interested in plotting local area-based data from the past (population, agricultural, statistics, tax data etc.) from the 14th to the 19th centuries.

We wish to acknowledge the support of the Leverhulme Trust and the Economic and Social Research Council which funded the research. "

The book and/or the CD set alone were originally available for purchase via the School of Geography site at Exeter University

The Project

The map name extraction project started in August 2004 and completed in January 2005 covers  the Welsh counties of Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire.
There were several volunteers involved
, their names are shown here

The idea for the project arose partly from the fact that there are no currently available conventional paper based maps which show the position of historic parish boundaries, a problem which family history researchers can find frustrating when trying to find a particular place in their research - whether on paper OS maps or the old-maps site, for example.
The availability of this set of maps on CD at a reasonable cost prompted the thought that they could be uitilised to produce lists of place names appearing in individual parishes, and such lists would be an useful addition to the existing database on the Genuki parish pages.
In fact I have personally discovered the exact site of a 'long lost' farm in my own family history through the very act of extracting names from this CD whilst checking the old-maps site for spelling queries, it is of course recognised that the latter maps contain more detail than these CDs but they do not have parish boundaries shown.

The names have been extracted as faithfully to the original as possible but for one reason or another it was not always possible to be sure of a word, hence the occasional ? - and no doubt there is also the odd mistake/omission.
It was also sometimes not possible to be sure which parish a 'near boundary' place was in - so some may appear in two adjacent parishes.

(Gareth Hicks )



  • Dewi Evans, Germany
  • Gareth Hicks, Devon
  • Lynne Kleingertner, Canada
  • Tony Morris, Surrey
  • Howard Thomas, Swansea


  • Anna Brueton, London
  • Cherlyn Bruns, USA
  • Rina Callingham, Bridgend
  • Mary Greatorex, Dinas Powys
  • Gareth Hicks, Devon
  • Katherine Hocking
  • Lynne Kleingertner, Canada
  • Merv Thomas, Sussex


  • John Ball, Ystalyfera
  • Rina Callingham, Bridgend
  • Helen D'All, Canada
  • Rob Frayne, Swansea
  • Jean Gilson, Canada
  • Mary Greatorex, Dinas Powys
  • Gareth Hicks, Devon
  • Roy Pugh, Neath
  • Glenys Travis, North Hertfordshire


  • Peter D Hall, Yorkshire
  • Gareth Hicks, Devon
  • Barry Johnson, Monmouthshire
  • Tony Morris, Surrey
  • John Richards, Hertfordshire
  • Rosemary St.Leger-May, Surrey
  • Howard Thomas , Swansea