All the placenames in Piers Plowman mapped for the first time

Banner image: Detail from the Agas Map of London, dating from the 1560s.

iers Plowman is most strongly associated with the Malvern Hills – on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border – where the poem opens with its famous vision of a ‘fair field full of folk’. Great Malvern, Little Malvern and Ledbury are amongst the nearby towns who lay claim to William Langland as one of their own, whilst many visitors to the Hills will be struck by the resemblance of the landscape to his vision.

The Malvern Hills, where Will has a vision of a ‘fair field full of folk’

But in fact Piers Plowman mentions no other places in the vicinity of the Malvern Hills. The great cathedral cities of Hereford and Worcester are not mentioned, for example. Instead, the poem ranges far and wide in its geography – from obscure London spots such as Garlickhythe and Cock Lane to the Middle East, and even as far as ‘Tarse’ (modern day Turkmenistan).

Shoreditch, an area of modern London evoked in Piers Plowman through the character of ‘dame Emme’

So here, for the first time (we think!), we present ALL THE PLACENAMES IN PIERS PLOWMAN mapped using Google Maps (and with a bit of help from the hefty Piers Plowman Concordance).

If we’ve missed any places out, please leave a comment and we’ll update the map!