A Set of Plans and Forts in America, Reduced from Actual Surveys

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by John Rocque

A Set of Plans and Forts in America
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author John Rocque
Published London: Published according to act of Parliament, by Mary Ann Rocque topographer to His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester
Date 1765
Volumes volume set

John Rocque (d. 1762) moved to London as a child in 1709. He worked as a surveyor, engraver, mapmaker, map-seller and publisher. There is evidence that Rocque began his career in the landscape gardening industry as his earliest maps were designs for gardens or estates owned by leading British nobles.[1]

By 1743 Rocque had expanded his trade and worked as a surveyor of English towns which were not well mapped at the time. In 1737 he began a survey of London which was not published until 1746. In the interim he also published maps of Bath, Exeter, and Shrewsbury. These works earned him recognition and in 1751 he was appointed Chorographer to the Prince of Wales.[2]

Rocque is one of England’s most important mapmakers. No one had ever attempted as broad a range and he worked at a time when most of the other maps being published were out of date. Additionally, his maps include both cartographic and pictorial elements making them some of the finest ever published.[3]

A Set of Plans and Forts in America [1] contains thirty maps of forts and settlements in areas on North America under British rule. Additionally, the maps contain sketches of some of the most prominent buildings within a settlement.[4]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Thomas Jefferson listed "Plans of forts in America 8vo." in his inventory of Wythe's Library, noting that he kept the volume himself. Both Brown's Bibliography[5] and George Wythe's Library[6] on LibraryThing identify the Jefferson/Wythe copy as the one in the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society. The Wolf Law Library has been unable to purchase a copy of this title.

See also


  1. “John Rocque,” accessed April 17, 2015, http://www.mapforum.com/05/may.htm
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. John Rocque, A Set of Plans and Forts in America, Reduced from Actual Surveys (London: Published According to act of Parliament, by Mary Ann Rocque, 1765).
  5. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
  6. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 15, 2023.