Description of the Isle of Wight
This map of the Isle of Wight dates from around 1600. It is titled on the reverse "Description of the Isle of Wight". A scale bar is included with the motif of dividers, stating ‘Scala Miliaria’, revealing that the map is drawn on a scale of half an inch to one mile. We can not be certain of the identity of the cartographer of this map but it may be one which is thought to have been produced by William White, which was then augmented and published by John Speed in his Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. Both this map and the Speed map exaggerate the width of waterways, the depth of bays and prominence of headlands, in a similar way. Such exaggerations suggest that this map was not the result of survey and was drawn by eye. The beacon network on the island is shown by pictorial representations of individual beacons. The Needles are represented by three squat triangles and labelled ‘The nedles’. The period during which this map was produced saw England at war with Spain. The emphasis on the beacon network suggests that the map is concerned with defence in this climate of unease. Since the accession of the Protestant Elizabeth I to the English throne in 1558 Anglo-Spanish relationship had deteriorated. The continued English raids on Spanish colonial interests and England’s support of the Protestant rebellion in the Spanish ruled Netherlands had induced the Catholic Philip II to plan an invasion of England. Although the Spanish were dramatically defeated by the English in 1588, England remained at war with Spain for many years and further attempts to invade were made by Philip of Spain with the dispersal of the ‘second Armada’ in October 1596 and the assembly of the ‘third Armada’ in the following spring. White, William
Isle of Wight
This is a manuscript map of the Isle of Wight. It forms part of an atlas that belonged to William Cecil Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State. Burghley used this atlas to illustrate domestic matters. It is thought to be by John Rudd, the man to whom Christopher Saxton was an apprentice to in 1570. John Rudd was Vicar of Dewsbury from 1554 to 1570. Rudd had a keen interest in cartography and had been engaged in the 1550s in making a "platt" of England. In 1561 Rudd was granted leave to travel further to map the country and it is likely that Saxton accompanied him, acquiring his skills for surveying. The map shows the Isle of Wight and the coast of Hampshire. By the end of the reign of Henry VIII this area was one of the most heavily defended areas in Northern Europe, the reason for this being the need to defend the vital navel base of Portsmouth and the access that could be gained to this via the Solent. Portsmouth was provided with defensive structures in the 1520’s, making them one of the earliest artillery defences in Britain. The angular lines of these defences are shown here. The distinguishing feature of this map is that the many fortifications in the area are noted and that the draughtsman has recorded the actual architectural plans of the castles. The trefoil shape of Hurst castle is clearly delineated as is the rectangular and triangular bastioned outline of Southsea castle. Calshot castle is marked on the map as Calsharde’. This fort was vital in that it controlled the entrance to Southampton water and linked defensively with the forts of East and West Cowes, located opposite Calshot on the Isle of Wight on either side of the Medina River, which provides access to the centre of the island. In the centre of the Isle, Carisbrooke castle is shown. The draughtsman has recorded the walled and roughly rectangular shape. Interestingly at St Helen’s a plan of a concentric segmented circular structure is shown. This may be a fortification built sometime between 1539 and 1552 to defend the landing, of which little is now known. [Rudd, John] William Cecil, Lord Burghley
1 : 21120 Triangulation allows the relative location of individual topographical features to be plotted accurately. This drawing shows the primary triangulation of southern England, the lengths of the sides of each triangle being noted. Stations shown include Dunnose, Bagshot Heath, Inkpen Hill and the Salisbury Plain base. The points of the triangles provided the surveyor with references to which, by measurement or angular observation, he could precisely relate the position of other topographical features. Angular observations were made using a theodolite. Triangulation points were carefully chosen. Elevated sites were preferred where possible, particularly the tops of hills and church towers.
This map of Hampshire is from the 1583 edition of the Saxton atlas of England and Wales.This atlas was first published as a whole in 1579. It consists of 35 coloured maps depicting the counties of England and Wales. The atlas is of great significance to British cartography as it set a standard of cartographic representation in Britain and the maps remained the basis for English county mapping, with few exceptions, until after 1750. During the reign of Elizabeth I map use became more common, with many government matters referring to increasingly accurate maps with consistent scales and symbols, made possible by advances in surveying techniques. Illustrating the increasing used of maps in government matters, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State, who had been determined to have England and Wales mapped in detail from the 1550s, selected the cartographer Christopher Saxton to produce a detailed and consistent survey of the country. The financier of the project was Thomas Seckford Master of Requests at the Court of Elizabeth I, whose arms appear, along with the royal crest, on each map. Saxton, Christopher Ryther, Augustine