Ralph Treswell the Younger
Mapmaker and Surveyor
c1570 - c1630
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, 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.
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