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Dover Havyn

Dover Havyn

Cartographer: Cavendish, Richard

Medium: Ink and watercolour on parchment

Date: 1541

Shelfmark: Cotton Augustus I.i

Item number: f.26

Length: 911

Width: 870

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Plan

This is a chart of Dover harbour, likely to be the work of Richard Cavendish. Drawn in inks and watercolour on parchment it depicts improvements to the town, castle and outlying buildings. It was produced by a commission created by Henry VIII in January 1541, who were to "be overseers of the water works at Dover and to procure materials and workmen for the same". It shows protective piers, enclosing almost half of the bay which are to prevent the build up of silt. There is no text to accompany the drawing except for the signatures of the commissioners of the project. In the left-hand margin are measurements in feet. It is thought that this is a show drawing, probably resulting from Henry VIII’s visit in March 1541 or May 1542. It reveals the state of the works with the beach at high and low tide and shows proposals for a vast enlargement of the harbour. Plans for rebuilding the bulwarks at Archcliff and below the castle are also illustrated here. A subsequent addition shows the growth of the beach along the south mole of the enlarged harbour. The initial ideas came from the King himself, however they were to fail as technology was not equal to his demands. The commissioners did not know how to build foundations three and a half fathoms deep at low tide or that the deep water dredging, necessary to keep the harbour open was incompatible with such foundations. A scale bar is included but the units of measurement are not stated

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