John Bayly’s map of the county was included as the frontispiece in in the 1774 first edition of Hutchins’ History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset. Measuring 68.5 x 49 cm (27 x 19 ins) it is described as ‘A Map of Dorsetshire from Actual Surveys and Records of the County, by J. Bayly, 1773.
An unusual feature of the map is the inset I n the top left-hand corner, depicting ‘A Draught of Portland, the Shambles and the Race of Portland’. This very detailed chart, showing the Race in northerly and southerly winds, navigable passages and the ‘best Anchoring Ground’, was reproduced from Captain Greenvile Collins’ Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, which was published in 1693 and was the first original sea atlas to be produced by an Englishman. Note the windmills on the high ground and the passage house for the ferry from Weymouth to Portland.
When Henry VIII ordered a castle to be built at Weymouth, the local seamen must have been consulted about the position selected for Sandsfoot Castle (marked Weymouth Castle on the map), because it was aligned with the north-east point of the Isle of Portland, allowing four fathoms draught over the Shambles, thus providing a sailing mark for a safe navigable bearing across Portland Road into Weymouth.
Bayly’s map was a good ready-reference for the turnpike roads (more accessible and convenient than Isaac Taylor’s large scale map of 1765), the turnpikes being clearly delineated with bolder lines.
Shows the hundreds (roman numerals) and liberties (normal numbers): these are the two administrative units between parishes and the county for military and judicial purposes, with liberties traditionally defined as an area in which regalian right was revoked and where the land was held by a mesne lord (i.e., an area in which rights reserved to the king had been devolved into private hands).
Also shows how many MPs were returned to parliament from borough towns by way of stars: for example, Lyme Regis and Bridport have two stars, so two MPs.
Source: David Beaton, Dorset Maps, 2001, The Dovecote Press
A composite of two digital photographs (the vertical join just east of Weymouth) of a map with very pronounced crease lines.
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