Pont, Timothy (DNB00)

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PONT, TIMOTHY (1560?–1614?), topographer, elder son of Robert Pont [q. v.], Scottish reformer, by his first wife, Catherine, daughter of Masterton of Grange, was born about 1560. He matriculated as student of St. Leonard's College, St. Andrews, in 1579–80, and obtained the degree of M.A. in 1583–4. In 1601 he was appointed minister of Dunnet, Caithness-shire, and was continued 7 Dec. 1610; but he resigned some time before 1614, when the name of William Smith appears as minister of the parish. On 25 July 1609 Pont was enrolled for a share of two thousand acres in connection with the scheme for the plantation of Ulster, the price being 400l. (Reg. P. C. Scotl. viii. 330).

Pont was an accomplished mathematician, and the first projector of a Scottish atlas. In connection with the project he made a complete survey of all the counties and islands of the kingdom, visiting even the most remote and savage districts, and making drawings on the spot. He died before 1625, probably in 1614, having almost completed his task. The originals of his maps, which are preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, are characterised by great neatness and accuracy. King James gave instructions that they should be purchased from his heirs and prepared for publication, but on account of the disorders of the time they were nearly forgotten, when Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet prevailed on Robert Gordon (1580–1661) [q. v.] of Straloch to undertake their revision with a view to publication. The task of revision was completed by Gordon's son, James Gordon [q. v.], parson of Rothiemay, and they were published in Blaeu's ‘Atlas,’ vol. v. Amsterdam, 1654 (reissued in 1662 in vol. vi). The ‘Topographical Account of the District of Cunninghame, Ayrshire, compiled about the Year 1600 by Mr. Timothy Pont,’ was published in 1850; and was reproduced under the title ‘Cunninghame topographized, by Timothy Pont, A.M., 1604–1608; with Continuations and Illustrative Notices by the late James Dobie of Crummock, F.S.A. Scot., edited by his son, John Shedden Dobie,’ Glasgow, 1876.

[Chalmers's Caledonia; Prefaces to the editions of his Cunninghame; Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scot. iii. 360.]

T. F. H.