Draughtsman: Hyett, William
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
This drawing covers part of the Great Ouse Valley as it flows through the cathedral city of Ely and the Cambridgeshire fens.From the Roman era onwards, the watercourses in this largely marsh region have been artificially manipulated and rerouted. The Great Ouse, for example, flowed into the Wash with the Nene River until the 12th century, when its course was changed to a more easterly outlet near King's Lynne. In the 17th century, the Dutch engineer, Cornelius Vermuyden was appointed by James I to direct the drainage of the fens. As a result of his work, the wetlands took on a very different appearance, changing from an area of flooded marshes to one of extensively farmed agricultural land.