The battle of the Medway 1667

This is a remarkable map of a remarkable event. Interleaved amongst Naval papers and letters to and from Samuel Pepys in a volume of manuscripts is a drawing by another noted diarist, John Evelyn, of one of the few examples of enemy action on British soil since 1066, the attack on the River Medway in 1667 by the Dutch.

The volume of papers is part of the Rawlinson collection. Antiquary Richard Rawlinson (1690-1755) donated to the Bodleian over 5,000 manuscripts and nearly 1,800 books on such subjects as theology, literature and history.  Evelyn was a contemporary of Samuel Pepys and his diary, which he wrote for most of his life though not to the detail of Pepys’s shorter work, was first published in 1818. This map by Evelyn is included in the collection of Pepys manuscripts because of Pepys’s role in the Navy, first as an administrator and then, from 1673, as Secretary. The raid was part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, fought between the two nations from 1665 to 1667 to gain the upper hand in trade and World dominance. Between the 11th and the 13th of June Dutch ships sailed into the Medway, firing on Chatham and Sheerness and sinking a number of British ships.

This is an extract of the area around Rochester and Chatham                                                        Yard.  The dotted line between ships 2 and 3 and 7 and 8 is a heavy chain laid across the river to prevent the Dutch breaking through, a measure which failed, allowing the Dutch fleet to sail on and attack the British fleet at will. Ships 12 to 14; the Royal Oak, the Loyal London and the Royal James, were all burnt while the flagship, the HMS Royal Charles (10) was captured and towed back to the Netherlands.

The map is a sketch in pen and ink and there is a letter from Evelyn to Pepys with the map. Dated the 20th of June the letter starts ‘I am heartily ashamed I could not performe yr command before now. It was Friday ere I could possibly get home, and find I am here. I have been so afflicted with ye gripping of the guts that I was not able to bestow the pains intended on the scheme I send you…’A later map of the Essex coast, made in 1686 by Capt. Grenvil Collins, is dedicated to Pepys and features as part of the cartouche a small picture of a battle at sea (posted on this blog in January 2016).

 

Extract from Harwich, Woodbridg and Handfordwater with the sands from the Nazeland to Hoseley Bay…1686.   (E)C17:28 (46)

A few pages after this map is a letter Pepys wrote to the Earl of Sandwich when the Earl was Ambassador to Spain in 1667. Pepys often used code when writing his diary, and it is interesting to see that this skill was also important in his official role.

Lord Sandwich was a friend and supporter of Pepys. Sandwich died on board ship during a future War with the Dutch in 1672.

‘ A scheme of the posture of the Dutch Fleet and action at Sher-ness and Chatham, 10th 11th & 12th of June 1667, taken upon the place’. 1667. MS Rawlinson a 195a fol 78

Golden Globes

Globes in various forms are an everyday sight but intriguing none the less.  Like maps there are increasingly being looked at in an aesthetic light, but were designed with a clear educational function.  An early example the ’Erdapfel’ or ‘Behaim globe’ constructed between 1490 and 1492 was thought to have come to the attention of Christopher Columbus before his famous voyage.  He would have consulted flat paper maps but it is only on a globe can you appreciate the directness of the Great Circle route. They also “contrived to solve the various phœnomena of the earth and heavens, in a more easy and natural manner” so said George Adams in his Treatise describing the construction and explaining the use of new celestial and terrestrial globes. (1777)

Globes were traditionally made using gores – 12 or 16 shaped paper or vellum strips pasted to a sphere with ‘calottes’ or caps to cover the inevitable untidiness at the joins at the north and south pole and subsequently mounted at 23½° off the vertical to replicate earth’s tilt in space. To maintain this angle lead shot was used to balance. Some globes were manufactured to be portable whereby they can be disassembled in 48 pieces. 

Modern self-supporting globes use sections that bear very little resemblance to the elegant gore. The traditional skill of globe making has been revived recently by Greaves & Thomas a small company specialising in the production of all manner of globes “spanning cartographic history from 1492 to the present day”.

 

 

 

 

The Bodleian has never restricted itself to collecting justbooks and manuscripts. Indeed it was Sir Thomas Bodley who purchased a pair of extravagantly expensive terrestrial and celestial Molyneux globes (1592) and subsequently bemoaned the fact they were getting ‘slurred’ (smudged) and so their upkeep would become a continuous charge.  This proved to be the case as the Bodleian accounts show payments made to the joiner in 1629, 1636 and in 1644 for mending one or other of the globes.  This pair was discarded in favour of a pair of Blaeu globes which can be seen on a contemporary print by David Loggan of Duke Humfrey’s Library in 1675. It appears these were also rejected in favour of a more modern (and smaller) pair of John Senex globes dating from 1728.  It is this pair which reside in the Rare Books and Manuscript Reading Room of the Weston Library.  .

Today globes are more likely to be found as blow ups, pop ups or large installations.

Examples of this more public structure can be found in Boston, Massachusetts as the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library and De Lorme’s Eartha globe in Yarmouth, Maine but equally the inflatable globe functions well as a ball on a beach. ‘Three dimensional atlases’ are now being published as pop ups of hemispheres, illustrating text wonderfully for younger readers. Miniature globes were regarded as children’s toys with some educational value but the most peculiar is the ostrich egg. Sadly the Bodleian does not possess one of these wonderful objects but given its delicate structure it is only a decorative piece.

Mapparium photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/2dhfXcJ

Egg photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bellerby_%26_Co_Egg_Globe_Commission.jpg

 

“Mad Jack’s” map

On days like this it is a real privilege to do my job.  This rather lovely manuscript map from around 1795 has been recently purchased to enrich our holdings of large scale parish maps and estate plans but a happy time was spent cataloguing it. 

The map is of part of the parishes of Berwick and Alciston north west of Eastbourne in East Sussex showing the lands belonging to “Jn. Fuller Esq.” This gentleman known at the time as “Mad Jack” Fuller (although he preferred “Honest John” Fuller) inherited his estate, Rose Hill, from his uncle in 1777. It is lands attached to this estate, which is now Brightling Park, which feature on the map.

Unfortunately the surveyor is not known nonetheless it is a pretty thing with beautiful penmanship and little vignettes of people and items likely to be found on the land.  The little details are charming: the field gates are drawn in as is a view of the church and the compass rose is embellished with gilt. The lands belonging to “Mad Jack” are numbered to a key giving field names and acreages with the remaining parcels of land having their owners names and areas scribed on them. The scale of approximately 1:10,000 (6” to 1 mile) is large enough to show the area in reasonable detail. It was obviously a working document as you can see many later corrections and additions in pencil, as well as the surveyor’s grid.  The fact that it has been produced on parchment also point to the fact it was heavily used, as paper wouldn’t be up to the task. 

John Fuller was born into a wealthy family of iron makers and politicians in Hampshire in 1757 and initially forged a career in a light infantry company in the Sussex Militia. He subsequently spent two spells in parliament as an MP, the first representing Southampton from 1780 to 1784 and then as member for Sussex from 1801 to 1812. A noted drunk, he was famous for his eccentricities and follies and even received permission to build a 20ft high pyramid as a tomb in the churchyard of St Thomas à Becket in Brightling. In later life he turned to philanthropy, supporting among others the young Michael Faraday and the Royal Institution. He died in April 1834 and was buried beneath his pyramid folly.

A survey of lands lying in ye parishes of Berwick and Alciston in the county of Sussex belonging to Jn. Fuller Esq. Rose Hill 

MS. C17:58 (114)

That’s a relief

First day back at work (happy new year btw) made more enjoyable by cataloguing and adding to the collection a set of U.S. Army relief maps of the British Isles.

sheet NO 30-10 covering the Grampians and Ben Nevis

Produced by the Army Map Service of the United States in1956 the plastic sheets have been pressed onto a raised model thus creating a relief image. On the back of the sheet you get the image in reverse. Due to the cut-off for heights shown in relief there are a number of sheets covering the Central and Southern parts of England that have no raised relief at all. Here is the reverse of the Isle of Arran. Relief maps such as these are a joy to look at but troublesome to store, as they can’t take too much weight on them for obvious reasons. Given a normal shelf mark for maps of the British Isles this interesting series will be stored in a box to protect the sheets from being damaged. All together there are 38 sheets at a scale of 1:250,000.

When joined together (as well as possible due to the large marginalia, and with the top north-eastern part missing) Ireland looks like this

While when photographed in profile the coast and peninsulas of Cork looks like this

Britain’s highest peaks are all represented; Sca Fell Pike (978 metres/3,209 feet), Ben Nevis (1,345m/4,411ft), Snowdon (1,085 m/3,560ft) and Carrauntoohil (1,038 m/3,407ft)

while other famous hills and ranges also feature, such as the Cullin Hills of Skye

and the smaller but impressive due to their high position in a low-lying area, Malverns

British Isles, Series M5216P, 1956. C15 (68)

 

 

BCS Map Awards

The British Cartographic Society (http://www.cartography.org.uk/), the leading cartographic organization in the country, hold an annual award ceremony for that year’s best maps. These are a few of the recent entries, chosen because they are both outstanding examples of mapping but also because they each take a different approach to the traditional topographic map. They look good as well.

Jane Tomlinson, an Oxfordshire artist, has created a beautiful work of art in this map of North-West Europe on the theme of the life of Vincent van Gogh. Jane’s work regularly features maps, more can be seen here https://janetomlinson.com/medium/maps/

On the order page for copies of the painting Jane says ‘In this painting, I tell the story of the life and works of Vincent van Gogh through his paintings and words. As it’s a schematic map,  I have shown motifs from some of his best-loved paintings very roughly in the locations where they were made….the actual putting down of paint took only about 6 weekends. But I can honestly say that really it’s taken about 38 years of study’. The page ends with a lovely, and cartographically appropriate, quote ‘You can’t be at the pole and the equator at the same time. You must choose your own line, as I hope to do, and it will probably be colour” wrote Vincent to his brother Theo, April 1888′ (https://janetomlinson.com/artworks/life-and-works-of-vincent-van-gogh/)

Maps International, part of the Lovell Johns group (https://www.mapsinternational.co.uk/), are a cartographic firm close to the Bodleian’s heart, literally as they are based in a village just outside Oxford. They have created this wonderful map of the wines of Europe, with the unique selling point of being Scratch map, so you can scratch off wines you’ve tried, it even has a count bar at the bottom that you scratch off every time you try a new wine. We have in the Bodleian plenty of tactile maps, be they 3-D  relief models with hills, or braille maps and globes, but this is the first scratch map in the collection.

 

The last map comes from the University of Sheffield. This map of British islands 5km² or over takes familiar places out of their normal context and forces us to view them in a different way. Instead of being in their familiar locations just off shore the map makes us realise the different and complex geographical make-up of Great Britain. There are over 4,000 islands of over 0.2 hectares regardless of tide in Britain so these are just the tip of a very large iceberg, or maybe it would be more appropriate to say the cream of the archipelago.

The life and works of Vincent van Gogh, 2017. C1:3 (301)

European Wines 2018. C1 (1072)

Great Britain’s Islands… 2017. C16 (918)

Mr. Carrington’s pocket maps

These small maps, dating from 1864, are designed to fit in the pocket of a waistcoat or jacket. Usually maps of this type are travelling maps and often have timetables included, there are also examples for fox-hunting meets, so to have a World map done in this way is rare.

Showing the equatorial regions with the polar regions at the right the idea is that in folding over the right-hand section of each side you create a wide span of the world. It’s hard to see the use though after the novelty effect of the map has worn off as the scale is such that only the barest information such as relief and major rivers is shown.

The second map, of the constellations, works on the same principle.

As can be seen by the above image of the envelope (still going strong after 154 years) it is quite a flimsy package, and you wonder how long it would last with regular use. Compare it with a more typical example of the genre, with this fox-hunting pocket map with a hard cover,

much more suited for purpose ( Places of meetings of Lord Gifford’s hunt, 1843, C17:7 g.1).

Mr. Carringtons Pocket Maps, 1864. B1 (401)

Early maps of New Zealand

Two early maps of New Zealand, both from the 1840s, which use different names for the three islands. Polynesian settlement dates from around 900, with Abel Tasman being the first European to see the islands in 1642. The Dutch named the islands Nova Zeelandia after the province of Zeeland in 1645 which was then anglicised by Capt. James Cook in 1770.

This first map is by the cartographer John Arrowsmith in 1844. Map of the Colony of New Zealand from official documents by John Arrowsmith and shows how, just 4 years after the Treaty of Waitangi signed between the British and Maori recognizing British sovereignty over the islands the land was already being allocated to European settlement. The islands have unfamiliar names; New Ulster, Munster and Leinster suggesting a strong Irish settlement but in fact come from a new Constitution of Government sent from London in 1846 to replace an earlier unpopular one. The Islands were to be divided into two provinces, Ulster and Munster, with two Governors. Bizarrely the Islands weren’t intended to be split between North and South but on the line of the River Patea, in the North Island, with everywhere north of this to be New Ulster, everywhere south to be New Munster. There was no mention in the new constitution as to why these names were chosen. Arrowsmiths map of 1844 seems to be a reprint of an earlier map from 1841 with additional land ownership information. Arrowsmith  produced maps of New Zealand at this time for official Government reports, and it is likely that this map accompanied a select Committee report on New Zealand from 1844.

This second map, an extract from New Zealand and Oceanic Islands, dates from 1847 and uses Maori names for the two large islands.

The third map is a strange one for a number of reasons.

The map, Map showing New Zealand as it would be situated if placed in corresponding latitude of Northern Hemisphere, but with east (instead of west) longitude, for comparison with countries on the Mediterranean Sea dates from 1968 but places New Zealand over a pre-World War One map of Europe (note the existence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and pre-war Germany) but in trying to encourage emigration into the country by suggesting temperatures are similar to favourable European countries the text isn’t entirely honest. Auckland’s mean temperatures are compared to Rome despite being closer to Algiers and doesn’t include anywhere on the colder South island.

Finally an inset from the 1844 Arrowsmith map showing a World map with New Zealand in the middle.

 

Maps to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice

Maps and other items from the Bodleian to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice.

First a War map of the Western Front showing main lines of retreat and advance 1914-1918… (1919, C1:3 (121). The blue line running north is the front-line in August 1914, the broken red either side is the front-line at the signing of the Armistice four years later. Other lines show the front after key battles while the red shaded area is land to be occupied by Allied troops.

The front page from the Pall Mall Gazette, 11th November 1918. N.288 b.4

Throughout the War burial parties worked to deal with the dead, often burying in shallow graves with a simple cross. At the Armistice the Imperial War Graves Commission set out plans for uniform gravestones giving no distinction in class or rank and, controversially, not to repatriate any bodies. Rudyard Kipling provided text to go on the gravestones and in 1919 authored The Graves of the Fallen,

which gave an idealized view of the cemeteries with trees and plants, which was in contrast to the bomb-scarred landscape left over from 4 years of fighting.

Front cover and extract from The Graves of the Fallen, 1919. 247518 d.26

This next item comes from the Bodleian’s Music Department. Ernest Bristow Farrar (1885-1918) was a promising young composer and organist who was educated at Leeds Grammar School and studied with Charles Stanford at the Royal College of Music before settling in the North, firstly in South Shields, moving to Harrogate in 1912 . He completed his Heroic Elegy in May 1918 whilst training at Raglan Barracks, Devonport as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion Devonshire Regiment. The work bears the dedication ‘For Soliders’ and Farrar conducted its first performance whilst on leave in Harrogate on 3 July. He finally left for France on 6 September but, after only two days on duty at the front, was killed on 18 September leading his men at the Battle of Epéhy Ronssoy, just a few weeks before the Armistice brought hostilities to a close. The piece is a moving tribute to his fellow soldiers and incorporates bugle calls and strains of the 15th-Century Agincourt Song into the music. This is an extract from the manuscript of the work held in the Bodleian. Farrar is buried In Ronssoy Communal cemetery (grave B.27) about 15km north-west of Saint-Quentin.

Heroic Elegy, Ernest Farrar. Ms. Mus. C434 fol. 1r. 1918 *

Finally maps to show War Graves around the Ypres area. The red crosses mark a Commonwealth Cemetery.

with extracts, first of the area around Zonnebeke. Just off the map at no. 31 is Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in the World.

And an extract of the map for the Ypres area

Belgium and part of France 1:40,000 1923 C28:18 (14)

And to finish, an extract from a trench map made at the end of the Third Battle of Ypres, just after the capture of the village of Passchendaele. At the bottom of the map is the hamlet of Tyne Cott and the start of the Allied cemetery.

Extract from Zonnebeke 28 n.e. 1, Dec 1917, C1 (3) [720]. This is the 9a edition of a sheet updated throughout the advance made by the Allied troops throughout the battle. British trenches in red, German in blue. Trench maps very rarely show British trenches in too much detail in case the map was captured by the enemy.

* With thanks to our colleagues from the Music Department for the piece on Ernest Farrar.

 

Pacific tectonics Soviet-style

This large (2.5 by 2.2 metres), colorful and complex map of Pacific tectonic activity was produced by the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union. Printed on 6 sheets the Tectonic Map of the Pacific Segment of the Earth, spans an area from the Bering Straits in the north to Antarctica in the south, from the Americas in the west to the countries of South-East Asia. This is a large map covering a large area.

Tectonics, and the structural activity such as volcanoes and earthquakes that result, are a tricky thing to show, as can be seen on the map. Fault lines, areas of volcanic and earthquake zones and different eras of geological time often overlap and make for a complicated view where it is tricky to get an idea of where you are without closer inspection.  Due to the large area covered

the projection means the countries portrayed follow the curvature of the earth, so the Americas starts at the top middle and then goes down the right-hand side of the map while the Soviet Union and then the countries of east Asia; China, Malaysia, Cambodia and so on are on the left. Australia is above the legend on the bottom left sheet.

The two blue lines running from north-west to south-east represent the Great Barrier Reef

Japans complex geological make-up can be seen by the amount of detail overlaying the islands.The black dots are volcanoes, the black lines with spikes are main fault zones while the purple lines are geosyncline trenches (folds in the earths crust). The different colours represent different eras in geologically history.

At the time this map was published the concept of tectonics was going through major changes. The discovery, made after important mapping surveys of the oceans floors in the 1950’s and 1960’s, of seafloor spreading (where vents on the ocean floor bring up rocks from the earth which slowly, very slowly, spread out until they meet the edge of the continental shelf and disappear back into the earth again like a conveyor belt) led to the somewhat grudging acceptance of plate tectonics in the mid-1960s. Tectonic plates are a series of large and numerous smaller plates that make up the surface of the Earth, and it is the movement of these plates that creates areas of weakness in the Earth leading to, amongst other things, volcanoes and earthquakes. Plate tectonics and continental drift explain a great deal about the Earth; how South America looks like it could join up with Africa like a giant jigsaw (something which has been puzzling people since the 1600s), how fossil strata and rock formations match up in countries separated by vast oceans, how the same rocks are found on shores thousands of miles apart. As Bill Bryson notes in his book A short history of nearly everything  the acceptance of these theories suddenly meant that ‘Geologists…found themselves in the giddy position where the whole Earth suddenly made sense’.

The volcano of Krakatoa, the black dot at the northern end of the orange line, between Java and Sumatra.

The idea behind plate tectonics, that the earths crust could move, had its origins in ideas from the turn of the century. One of the earliest exponents of drifting continents was Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist. He published a book in 1912 called Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane setting out the theory that the continents were once all joined together and had, throughout time, separated and re-joined in different ways a number of times. Here is the title page from the earliest English translation in the Bodleian from 1924

Wegener’s theory didn’t go down well in the scientific community, not only going against current thinking but also coming from someone working outside the relevant disciplines, Wenger after-all, being in their eyes only a weatherman.

The Physical Atlas of Natural Phaenomena, 1849. Allen LRO 393

This extract from an atlas published in 1849 shows the volcanic activity in the Pacific area, with the red dots indicating active volcanoes, the black inactive. This map shows how the Pacific plate, which runs along the line of the activity, was evident even if Scientists of the day were unaware of the concept.

Tectonic Map of the Pacific Segment of the Earth, Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. 1970. J1 (188)

 

 

 

A railway guide from this world to the next

‘The object of this guide is to afford an accurate description of the various competing lines from Time to Eternity, as well as of the country through which they pass; to instruct all passengers in a familiar, sometimes humourous, but always sober and rational manner; and thereby to assist the judgement in the choice of lines, so as to ensure safe and expeditious travelling. It is designed not only for travellers by rail, but for all without distinction’.

The guide mentioned in the introduction to ‘The new railway guide, or thoughts for thinkers on the road from this World to the next’ is a small 32 page book which accompanies one of the strangest maps in the Bodleian. By taking different paths from the ‘City of the World’ the traveller can find themselves either in the land of Glory or Perdition either by going through the countries of ‘Holylivingshire’ and Sanctificationshire’, or the lands of ‘Follyshire’ or ‘Evilhabitshire’. Both journeys first have to go through the rather unpleasant sounding ‘Natural Depravityshire’ , a land of swamps and strange creatures that adhere themselves to the carriages. There are 6 lines that leave the City of the World for Perdition; ignorance, superstition, infidelity, hypocrisy, fashion and intemperance lines. These are matched by the lines that leave for Glory; Popery,  Protestant, Independent, Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Methodist lines.

Despite the comic aspect to the map and the title there is a clear moral message to take from the book, which is set out early in the text. ‘The accompanying map…affords a general view of the country through which the lines pass from time to eternity. There is constant traffic between the two places; and as the reader will probably have to pass at some period from the one to the other, he will do well to cast his eye over the map beforehand’.

Maps such as this are a common feature in books of the time, either travel guides, battlefield guides or books on history. This map has been cleverly designed to give, along with the accompanying text, the illusion of a real place with religious instruction and moral guidance the intended destination.

The guide then goes onto describe the countries passed through to the two destinations, giving the good points on one hand, the bad on the other. The book and map have been designed to look like  standard railway guide of the time. Information is given on the quality of the carriages, gauges, prices and times of each different line as well as details of the various countries passed through. This closely mirrors authentic railway guides of the time, as can be seen from the examples here, taken from Fowler’s Railway Traveller’s Guide from circa 1840

 

The new railway guide, or thoughts for thinkers on the road from this World to the next…accompanied by an accurate map of the principal competing lines. 1848, 48.1515.