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An overview of the types of maps we hold, including ordnance survey maps, tithe maps and enclosure maps.

Our maps cover most of Dorset, but the majority do not cover Bournemouth and Christchurch, which were part of Hampshire up until 1974. For maps of these areas, please contact  Hampshire Archives and Local Studies (opens in a new window) or Bournemouth Library (opens in a new window).

Please contact us if you are interested in viewing a particular map.

Our collections include:

  • Ordnance Survey maps are mainly available in scales of 25 inch to the mile or 6 inch to the mile.
  • Tithe maps are parish maps originally created to help assess the tithe payments which were made to support the local church. Each map is divided into numbered plots and accompanied by a list, known as an apportionment, which gives details of the corresponding landowners and occupiers. Most date from the 1830s and 1840s.
  • Enclosure maps are often accompanied by a document called an 'award', which gives a verbal description of how the land was being enclosed. 
  • Estate maps were tools for estate management, produced at various dates and now scattered throughout our family and estate collections. 
  • Illustrative or decorative maps will often be of limited practical use, but can be visually impressive.
  • Street plans - 20th century maps of particular towns, many of which are part of tourist guides which can be found in our local studies collection.

If you are making your first steps in house history try our guide to house history to find out how to use maps in your research.

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