Valuable historical resource: Magna Britannia (Lysons), early 1800s - available as free ebooks

+23 votes

I discovered recently that all eight volumes of the Magna Britannia written in the early 1800s by Daniel and Samuel Lysons can be found on Google Books and are available either to read online or as free ebooks. Unfortunately, the series was never finished, but it contains extensive information about the families and land of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Canbridgeshire, Chester, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, and Devonshire.

Also available are three out of an unknown number of volumes of Daniel Lysons' Environs of London, covering Surrey, Kent, and Middlesex in similar detail.

I've organized a list of favorites on Google Books containing all these volumes, which can be found here

Magna Britannia:

Environs of London:

Note that there are two other "Magna Britannias" out there -- one is a single volume by J. Coatman written in the 1930s that's more of a history of the commonwealth and not much use for genealogy, and the "Magna Britannia Antiqua & Nova et Hibernia" written in 1783 by Thomas Cox, which is an in-depth geographical survey and can be found on here. I'm not sure how useful this one will be to genealogists, but I included a link because it's still pretty fascinating.

Be advised, if you go looking for original print copies of the Lysons Magna, most of the ones you'll find online are either print-on-demand copies of a single volume (and it's not even made clear in many cases which volume) or copies of the Coatman book from the 1930s. I was able to find a single set of the original Lysons books for sale -- at about $10k USD. I think I'll settle for the ebooks!

in The Tree House by Meredith Tanner G2G3 (3.2k points)
edited by Meredith Tanner
That's brilliant.  Thank you for sharing the find, and, your thoughts, Meredith.  Have good fun now

Thank you so much for sharing.  My families ancestry is heading to England very soon.

Appreciate your sources.


3 Answers

+4 votes
Well written, sensible and valuable! Thank you!
by Roberta Burnett G2G4 (4.5k points)
+2 votes

Thanks Meredith for the links to these volumes.  I've only just come across the Environs of London myself.  There seem to be 4 volumes available from the Internet Archive, 

Vol 1 is Surrey

Vol 2 & 3 Middlesex

Vol 4 - Herts, Essex & Kent

plus an extra volume related to Middlesex, that has towns and parishes not included in the original series[]=%22environs%20of%20London%22%20Lysons

by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (491k points)
+2 votes
It could help others if added to Kitty's Library:
by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (240k points)

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