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A Coloured Chart of the Coast of Essex and Suffolk, from the Naze to Bawdsey

A Coloured Chart of the Coast of Essex and Suffolk, from the Naze to Bawdsey

Cartographer: Cavendish, Richard

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1539

Shelfmark: Cotton Augustus I.i

Item number: f.57

Length: 63.4

Width: 69.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Map

This is a chart showing Essex and Suffolk from the Naze to Bawdsey showing the course of the Stour, Orwell, and Deben. It is thought to date from between 1539 and 1544. It shows miniaturized views of towns such as Ipswich and Harwich against a generalized green landscape of fields and occasional trees. The coast line and waterways are the main preoccupation of the cartographer as he has carefully recorded areas of sand in pink with stippled markings, and at certain points the depths of the water at low tide in area is noted. The cartographer is Richard Cavendish, whose family home in Suffolk is indicated. Richard Cavendish was a master gunner who had supervised new defence works at Berwick and Wark in 1522-3. It is thought that this map was based on a survey that Cavendish was paid to undertake in 1523. The date exact date of the map is uncertain. It could date from around 1538-9, a period characterised by the threat of invasion after a peace treaty was signed by Francis I of France and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain in 1538. England and France were ancient enemies and the catholic Charles V, nephew of Catherine of Aragon, was angered by Henry VIII’s decision to divorce her.
However, the presence of a scale bar in the bottom right corner suggests a date of post 1540. In 1543 war with France resumed and England was threatened by invasion once again.
This map may be related to a large map which is referred to in Henry VIII’s inventory of 1547-80 ‘the description of parte of Suffolke, Essexe and London painted upon clothe’

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