Radipole, near Weymouth, Dorset
This is a map of Radipole near Weymouth, Dorset, dating from the reign of Elizabeth I. It seems to illustrate a dispute over tithes, which was a direct tax on farming representing a percentage of annual agricultural production. This plan shows the shape of fields, although these are not to scale. The text is in a secretary hand. The Fleete is indicated by a red/purple wash. On the bank of the Fleet bulwarks are shown and labelled. This map predates the governments involvement in the process of redistribution and enclosure of communally held land in England. This occurred in 1604, when an Act of Parliament was obtained for the enclosure of the area of Radipole, Dorset. Enclosure and redistribution of communally held land aimed to introduce a more efficient farming structure.
A Coloured Plan of the Isle of Portland and Weymouth Bay
This is a map of the coastal area of Portland Bill and Weymouth. It dates from around 1590 and may be the work of Robert Adams, a surveyor with a reputation for producing carefully drawn maps of towns and districts in England and the Low Countries. The coastline with its cliffs, beaches and tributaries is carefully recorded. At this time the security of England threatened by the Anglo-Spanish war. Raids on transatlantic shipping by English seamen such as Francis Drake and England’s support of the Protestant rebellion in the Spanish ruled Netherlands had induced the Catholic Philip II to launch the Spanish Armada in 1588. Although the Armada was defeated by the English in August of that year, England remained at war with Spain for many years to come. Further attempts to invade were made by Philip of Spain, with the dispersal of a second Armada’ in October 1596 and the assembly of the third Armada’ in the following spring. In this climate it was naturally coastal areas that were under the closest scrutiny. Topographical features are recorded pictorially with Weymouth shown in great detail with the church and sea walls discernable. Portland and Sandsfoot castles are also shown. These were built by Henry VIII during the 1539-40 threat from the combined forces of France and Spain Francis I of France and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain signed a peace treaty. The castles provided essential protection of the vulnerable sea lanes of the area. Adams, Robert
Ottermouth Haven [Coasts of Devon and Dorset from Dartmouth to Weymouth with a written description of Ottermouth Haven]
This is a map of the coast of Devon and Cornwall from Dartmouth to Weymouth which forms part of an atlas that belonged to William Cecil Lord Burghley, Secretary of State to Elizabeth I. Burghley used this atlas to illustrate domestic matters. This map shows the coastline in a pictorial fashion, with buildings indicated by generic, rather than individualized images of various building types. In the left hand margin is a written description of Ottermouth haven, which also features on the map itself. A dominating feature of the map in the compass rose in the centre which has lines radiating from it, each with a direction written along side it. From the style of the lettering and the depiction of the ships the map can be dated to the around 1540. Lord Burghley has annotated the map, adding a we’y of xviii foot brod’ to a narrow bridge of land and adding Sandfoot castle to the coastline to the right of the Isle Portland. The map may have originally been drawn in connection with the 1539-40 invasion scare caused by the alliance against England of France and Spain. The fortification of the Dorset coast was an essential part of the defensive preparations and in April 1539 Lord Russell surveyed the area, sending a plat’ to Cromwell which suggested a much more ambitious fortification program than was actually carried out. Sandfoot, which Lord Burghley has inserted onto this map, was in commission by 1541-1542. The fact that it does not originally appear on the map suggests that it was not built at the time of the maps execution. This is curious however as Portland Castle, built at the same time as Sandfoot, was included by the original draughtsman. The castles were intended to be able to cross fire over the important anchorage known as Portland Roads. Lord Burghley’s interest in the area can be attributed to a new invasion threat from Spain. This threat was also rooted in religious ideology as the Catholic Philip II of Spain wanted to remove the ardently Protestant Elizabeth I from the English Throne. Unfortunately, the coastal forts in Dorset, as with others in England, had been allowed to fall into disrepair. Finally in 1584 action to repair the Dorset forts was authorised by the Privy Council. William Cecil, Lord Burghley