differs in character and style from Speed's known works.
[The statement that ‘Adam’ Speed wrote two books, with an interval of seventy-one years between, was made by Watt in his Bibliotheca Britannica (ii. 871 d), whence it was copied into Donaldson's Agr. Biogr. 1854, p. 17, and by Allibone in his Dictionary (1870, vol. ii.). Another assertion, intrinsically probable, though there is no direct evidence to bear it out, is to the effect that Speed wrote the ‘Reformed Husbandman imparted unto Mr. Samuel Hartlib.’ This statement was made by Weston, in his ‘Catalogue of English Authors who have written on Husbandry,’ 1773, p. 27, and copied by Martyn in his edition of Miller's Gardeners' Dictionary, 1807, p. xxiii, and by G. W. Johnson in his History of English Gardening, 1829, p. 97. Correct information with regard to Speed can be gleaned from Blith's references in the English Improver Improved, 1652, pp. 173–6, 260–1, and from a bibliographical study of the works written by, and attributed to, Samuel Hartlib.]
SPEED, JOHN (1552?–1629), historian and cartographer, is said by Fuller, who gives as his authority Speed's daughter, to have been born in 1552 at Farringdon or Farndon in Cheshire (Worthies, Cheshire, p. 181; Ormerod, Cheshire, ii. 406). There were members of the Speed family settled in Lancashire and Cheshire (Lancashire and Cheshire Wills, iii. 37; Notitia Cestriensis, i. 35, 73, ii. 496), but no trace of the historian has been found in this connection. The historian's father was no doubt the John Speed who was admitted to the freedom of the Merchant Taylors' Company on 5 April 1556 (Clode, Early Hist. Merchant Taylors' Company, ii. 332), obtained a license on 25 Jan. 1555–6 to marry at Christchurch, Newgate, Elizabeth Cheynye of that parish (Chichester, London Marriage Licences, col. 1265), and was probably identical with the John Speed in whose house ‘in Powles churchyarde were found seven books tending unto papistry’ in August 1584 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1581–90, p. 198). Speed was brought up to his father's trade of tailoring, and 10 Sept. 1580 was admitted to the freedom of the Merchant Taylors' Company. In 1582 he married, and settled probably in Moorfields, where he leased a garden and tenement from the Merchant Taylors' Company for 20s. a year. He subsequently built on this ground a ‘fayer house which may stand him in 400l.,’ and added to it adjacent land worth 2l. a year, for which he received a new lease for twenty-one years from the company in July 1615. On 1 March 1600–1 he was an unsuccessful suitor to the company for a lease of 51 Fenchurch Street, which Queen Elizabeth requested for one Thomas Lovell. On 12 Dec. 1614, however, Speed obtained a lease of the prebendal estate of Mora, held of the chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral by the Merchant Taylors' Company.
This property seems to have accrued to Speed through the generosity of Sir Fulk Greville, first lord Brooke [q. v.], ‘whose merits to me-ward I do acknowledge, in setting this hand free from the daily imployments of a manuall trade, and giving it full liberty thus to express the inclination of my mind, himself being the procurer of my present estate’ (Speed, Theatre of Great Britain, Warwickshire, p. 53). On 15 June 1598, on Greville's recommendation, Queen Elizabeth gave Speed ‘a waiter's room in the custom-house’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1598–1601, p. 62).
Speed first used his leisure in making maps of the counties of England. He had already, in 1598, presented ‘divers maps’ to the queen (ib.), and in 1600 he gave others to the Merchant Taylors' Company, which acknowledged his ‘very rare and ingenious capacitie in drawing and setting forthe of mappes and genealogies, and other very excellent inventions.’ In 1607 he copied Norden's map of Surrey for the first edition of Camden's ‘Britannia,’ and between 1608 and 1610 he published a series of fifty-four ‘Maps of England and Wales’ (royal fol.); the maps of Cornwall, Essex, Middlesex, Surrey, and Sussex were by Norden, and others were by Christopher Saxton [q. v.] These, accompanied by a description of each map, were collected in 1611 in Speed's ‘Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine’ (London, fol.), for which George Humble, the publisher, had received a license three years before (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603–10, pp. 425, 639). A second edition appeared in 1614, and a third in 1627, with the title ‘A Prospect of the most Famous Parts of the World.’ A new edition, with many additions, appeared in 1676. A Latin version was published in 1616 and again in 1646. Meanwhile Speed had become a member of the Society of Antiquaries, where he met Camden, Cotton, and other scholars. Encouraged by their help, he had commenced his great work ‘The History of Great Britaine under the Conquests of ye Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans … with the Successions, Lives, Acts, and Issues of the English Monarchs from Julius Cæsar to … King James.’ Cotton rendered him valuable assistance in its preparation; he supplied the lists of abbeys dissolved by Henry VIII, lent him innumerable manuscripts and the coins which are engraved in the volume, and in 1609 revised the proof-sheets (Letters of Literary Men,