A map found stored on top of a wardrobe for many years shows an area of Bradford from medieval times – and is believed to be the oldest one for the area.
The 1613 map of Manningham, by famous cartographer Robert Saxton, reveals the area as a small village or hamlet set within a landscape of cultivated fields – including one called The Westfielde.
It was loaned to Bradford man Les Barrett, who said: “A few of us have looked at it.
“I am trying to find out its origins and whether it is of any significance.
“It came from someone’s house who lived in Allerton. He sold his house and came across it.”
The map has the names of numerous landowners on it, including Lister, Illingworth, Northrop and Wilkinson, as well as a small network of roads or tracks.
The village had 12 buildings, nine of which stood on land enclosed by roads later known as Church Street, Carlisle Road and Conduit Street. A small group of dwellings were situated at the northern end of Skinner Lane, while two dwellings are shown at the north end of Manningham Lane. There are also two hamlets or farmsteads to the north which later became the site of Manningham House.
The main route in 1613 was the Kinges Hye Strete, which now forms part of White Abbey Road. Many of the routes connecting the settlements are said to be incorporated into today’s road system.
Jack Burgess, who loaned the map to Mr Barrett and now lives in York, having moved there from Allerton four years ago, said a man called Vincent Shackleton loaned him the map about 20 years ago.
He said: “We were club mates. He was an old man who had lived in Allerton for years. We got talking about the old days and he came up with this map.
“He never got it back and he didn’t say anything about where it came from. There were no names on it that I recognised.”
Mr Burgess put it on his wardrobe and forgot about it, only finding it when he moved to York.
He said: “I would be interested if someone could interpret it, such as where things are and where it came from.”
A spokesman for Bradford local studies library said the map was very old and quite rare. The oldest known maps come from the late 1500s and early 1600s.
“It would be interesting to know where the original is,” said the spokesman.
It is thought the 1613 map would have been used for the Manningham area up until 1811.