John Cossins

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John Cossins (1697 (Brompton-by-Sawdon), –1743) was an early cartographer, renowned for the following city maps:

  • plan of Leeds (c.1730) titled "A New and Exact Plan of the Town of Leedes"[1] [2]
  • map of York (1726): "New and Exact Plan of the City of York" This displayed fashionable new houses around the margin of the map. [3]

His family[edit]

Cossins was the elder of the two sons and three daughters of William Cossins of Brompton, who (1707-1725) was steward of the Hackness estate, then consisting of the townships of Hackness, Suffield, Everley, Silpho, Broxa, Langdale End, much of Harwood Dale and some of Burniston. It was as map-maker of this lordship that John first learned the practice and skills of land surveying and drawing. [4]

His Notebooks[edit]

In 1993 Sothebys offered Cossins' notebook for sale. It was bought by York City Archives. It contained notes on his maps of Scarborough, York and Leeds and also a list of the subscribers. Originally 138 people subscribed to 192 copies of the Leeds plan; only one copy is now accessible, in Leeds City Museum. It has been suggested that Thoresby was instrumental in hiring Cossins, and a copy of the map is kept at the Thoresby Society.[5]

John Cossins of Bristol[edit]

It is not clear whether this is the same John Cossins as the one after whom Cossins Road in Bristol is named. This commemorates John Cossins, who acquired the estate in 1732. The son of a well-to-do London grocer, he married the daughter of a Bristol merchant and made his home in Redland. He replaced the old manor house with Redland Court, a house of Classical design. Redland Court still stands and is now used as a school and has been much changed and enlarged though its well-known Bath stone frontage is still visible from the streets that now cover most of the original grounds. Cossins was also responsible for the building of Redland church, which was originally the Court's private chapel. It was built of Bath stone like the Court to a very simple, yet elegant design. Thomas Paty, the well-known local architect was involved in its construction. In 1898 the Bishop of Bristol's palace was built on the site, only to be bombed in December 1940 and later demolished.