The road-network from William Roy’s Military Survey of Scotland. 1747
The Oldest Road-map of Scotland.
This site shows the eighteenth-century road-network from the maps of Roy’s Military Survey of Scotland. It is displayed in an over-layer on a modern Ordnance Survey map.
The Military Survey of Scotland was the forerunner of the Ordnance Survey service. It was launched in the wake of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion and completed in 1755. The Survey was supervised by William Roy, a young army assistant quartermaster. He and his co-workers produced the first modern national map which was topographical in style; it was the first map to describe the entire mainland Scottish road system in detail. Roy’s road-network predates the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, the introduction of turnpike roads and the modern trunk-road system.
On a separate OS map, the 18th century Military road system is displayed. This initiative was unconnected to the survey; it started in 1724 and continued through the 18th century.
All these ancient roads are shown on the modern map as highlights. This layout may be an important reference for those researching social history, settlement, transport and ancient roads and pathways. It may be useful also to those who enjoy a good walk in a genuinely historical setting.
Last updated Nov.2020