The Twickenham Museum
People : Surveyors and Mapmakers

Ralph Treswell the Younger
Mapmaker and Surveyor
c1570 - c1630

cartouche from Ralph Treswell's map of the manor dated April 1607
Ralph Treswell the Younger is known in Twickenham for the map he drew in April 1607 for Henry, 9th Earl of Northumberland, titled 'A Plott of the Whole Mannor of Sion within the County of Middx. Ralph Treswell ye younger'. It is the earliest known map covering Twickenham and Whitton and a valuable resource for the topographical and social history of the time. Ralph, and possibly his better-known father, also Ralph, undertook other work for the Earl: an aerial view of Petworth was drawn in 1610 (the Earl was incarcerated in the Tower of London at the time following alleged complicity in the Gunpowder Plot). One or other of the Treswells might have been responsible for a plan for rebuilding the house in 1615 although this plan has been attributed to Moses Glover. Actually, Glover, born in 1601 would have been only 14 years old at the time. Other surveys undertaken for the Earl included various Yorkshire estates between 1608 and 1613, manors in the Quantocks, Somerset in 1609 and an estate known as Shockerweeke (Shockerwick), Bathford in 1607. Elsewhere Ralph had surveyed a part of Langley Marsh, Bucks in 1603, and the deer park in Langley Park that year. In 1607 he drew a plan of waste lands adjoining Dulwich Common, Measured and ploted by Raphe Treswell the younger of London' (PRO). In 1620 there were surveys of Westlands Farm, Horley and Hillands Farm, Charlwood, both in Surrey. These were holdings of Christ's Hospital, for whom Ralph senior had done much work earlier.
The Priory building at Kings Langley earlier known as

Ralph Treswell SeniorRalph's father (c1540-1616/7) was a prominent surveyor/cartographer and painter-stainer, the second of 5 sons of Robert Treswell, alias Baker and Margaret (nee Langley), of St Albans, Hertfordshire. Robert himself was the son of Richard, also alias Baker, of Kings Langley, where Robert is recorded as becoming holder of the advowson and the rectory in 1574 (VCH II, 1908). In the following year this passed to Francis, Earl of Bedford: Robert may have died. He had also acquired what remained of the Dominican Priory (House of the Friars Preachers), 7 acres and a ruined church. A building survives today, known earlier as King John's Bakehouse and today as The Priory. Richard had been described as “of the Bakehouse”. The family were armigerous. The Arms, apparently granted by Edward IV were described in Robert Cooke's Visitation of London of 1568 as Argent, three mullets pierced gules between two bendlets sableRalph married three times, first, Cicely Cresley (Raph Traswell/Sissely Cressy) at St Mary Aldermanbury on 10 February 1566. There were two other sons of this union: Robert and Christopher. His later wives were Anne, nee Calthrop, widow of Robert Kentish of St Albans, and Elizabeth, widow of Edward Bachelor.

His earliest recorded work was in 1567/8 when he was paid £8-10s for painting three streamers and a banner for the Carpenters Company. His earliest surviving survey was for the estates of Sir Christopher Hatton at Kirby Hall, North Hants, undertaken in 1580. He has been described as Sir Christopher Hatton's steward (The Beauties of England and Wales, or, delineated, John Britton et al, 1803) and so Hatton might have been a useful patron for him, with his connections at court. He designed at least one sundial, in 1582, now lost. In 1585, living in Aldersgate, he started surveying work in London, being thus occupied for the rest of his life. Much of his work was for the Clothworkers Company and Christ's Hospital, of which he became a governor in 1603. At some date he visited Brittany.

He was a Churchwarden of St Botolph's, Aldersgate from 1597 until 1600 and a Common Councilman of the Ward in 1600. He almost cetainly lived in the Ward, in a set of rooms beneath Trinity Hall which he later passed to his son Robert. His undatd survey drawing of the whole building shows the ground floor accommodation, consisting of a hall, study, buttery, four chambers, yard and privy. In 1605 he took a lease for 3 lives on a property in Hackney from Sir Robert Lee, Alderman of London, possibly going to live there. It was described as a messuage and 7 acres in 3 closes, north of Padbrook Mead. He died intestate, letters of administration being granted to his son Ralph.

Robert Treswell

Robert, also a cartographer, and living sometime beneath Trinity Hall in Trinity Court, Aldersgate, was Bluemantle Pursuivant in the College of Arms from 1589 until 1597. He then became Somerset Herald until 1624 and, in 1608, Surveyor-General of Woods South of the Trent, assisted by John Thorpe and John Norden. In 1623 he published, with Augustine Vincent, the Visitation of Shropshire. As Somerset Herald, on 19 November of that year he processed behind the bier at the funeral of William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms.

Robert married twice, first Mary, daughter of William Castle by whom he had two sons, Francis and John, and a daughter, Lucia. His second marriage was to Anne, daughter of Richard Gadbury, by whom he had two sons, Robert and Andrew and a daughter, Joyce.

Nothing is known of Christopher, though he apparently had 3 sons.

further reading:

John Schofield, The London Surveys of Ralph Treswell, London Topographical Society, 1987
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Robert Cooke, Visitations of London 1568, Harleian Society, 1869

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