John Norden
John Norden was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 cartographer, chorographer
Chorography is a term deriving from the writings of the ancient geographer Ptolemy, meaning the geographical description of regions...

 and antiquary
An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient objects of art or science, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts...

. He planned (but did not complete) a series of county maps and accompanying county histories
English county histories
English county histories, in other words historical and topographical works concerned with individual ancient counties of England before their reorganisation, were produced by antiquarians from the late 16th century onwards...

 of England, the Speculum Britanniae
Speculum Britanniae
Speculum Britanniae , published in London from 1593, was a projected, but unfinished, chorography of Britain by John Norden . It was intended to take the form of a series of county maps, accompanied by place-by-place written descriptions...

. He was also a prolific writer of devotional works.
Norden is known to have been born in Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

, to a "genteel" family, but his family background is otherwise obscure. He entered Hart Hall
Hertford College, Oxford
Hertford College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is located in Catte Street, directly opposite the main entrance of the original Bodleian Library. As of 2006, the college had a financial endowment of £52m. There are 612 students , plus various visiting...

, Oxford, in 1564; and graduated BA in 1568 and MA in 1573.