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A Chart of the Isle of Thanet and Sandwich Marsh

A Chart of the Isle of Thanet and Sandwich Marsh

Cartographer: Littlejoy

Date: 1548

Shelfmark: Cotton Augustus I.i

Item number: f.54

Genre: Map

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.

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