A Chart of the Isle of Thanet and Sandwich Marsh
This is a plan of Sandwich Haven, the River Stour, the Isle of Thanet and the Wantsum Channel, Kent,possibly dating from around 1548. At this time the Sandwich harbour was in a state of decay. The course of the lower part of the River Stour, between Sandwich and the sea is a series of bends. This made it difficult to navigate, especially with the increasing lengths of 16th century ships, and also prone to becoming blocked with deposits of silt. The idea of making a new artificial channel directly east between Sandwich and the sea was proposed by the military engineer John Rogers, as a way to solve the problem. Although work started on the new channel during the reign of Edward VI it was abandoned with nothing more occurring until 1559 when a new report was submitted. This report suggested that the cut be made south of the line proposed by Rogers as here the marsh land was lower and a deep channel at high water would be easier to excavate. The author of this new report and the map which accompanies it are unknown. The only name on the map is Littlejoy which is written under the compass star. The map is drawn at a scale of 7 inches to 10 miles.
Mouths of the Thames and Medway from Ipswich to Sandwich and Maldon and Rochester to the Sea
This is a map showing the mouths of the Thames and the Medway from Ipswich to Sandwich and Maldon and Rochester to the sea. It dates from around 1544 and is annotated Rycherd Cavendishe made this carde’. Richard Cavendish was a master gunner who had supervised new defence works at Berwick and Wark in 1522-3. The map seems to have been made with the purposes of defence and navigation in mind. Coastal forts and navigational channels are shown. The shoreline is exaggerated in order to illustrate clearly how an enemy might move ashore and how they might be stopped. In this case the enemy was England’s ancient adversary France, with whom hostilities had resumed in 1542. This map of the vulnerable south east coast, was made against this historical background. The fear of a French invasion was very real. In 1514 the French had invaded Brighton, and in 1545 French ships entered the Solent and landed on the Isle of Wight. The lines which cover the sea areas of the map are called rhumb lines. These are lines of constant bearing that radiate from compass roses and allow the sailor to plot a course from harbour to harbour using dividers and straight edge. Vignettes of several towns are included on this map, Sandwich, Rochester and Canterbury are shown. The view of Essex is possibly derived from a survey Cavendish made in 1520. Other settlements are formalized showing rows of red roofed houses with a church in the centre. A scale bar annotated by 3’ is included, however, as this occupies a green painted area it is likely that this was added later.
Chart of the mouth of the River Thames, c1540
This map, showing parts of Kent and Sussex, comes from a 16th-century portfolio of coastal charts and drawings It incorporates miniature copies of town plans that are now lost including what are probably the earliest plans of Canterbury, Rochester and Sandwich The mapmaker was Sir Richard Cavendish With its emphasis on sandbanks and beaches, the map was evidently intended for navigation and defence purposes The decorative quality of the map suggests it was meant for the eyes of the king, Henry VIII North is to the left of the map and East to the top, making the map appear on its side to modern eyes
Cavendish, Sir Richard