Monday, 9 April 2018

Went Home and the business of Thanet as an Island, some very difficult local history! + some old local pictures

First some old pictures of Ramsgate and Margate, these should expand if you click on them.

Don’t bother to read the rest of today’s post unless you are interested in the early history of the Isle of Thanet, it’s a difficult convoluted and confusing business which has produced problems for many historians.

I think the first issue to consider occurred around 300 years ago when John Lewis was putting together the first history of the Isle of Thanet, this was published in 1723.

So back in around 1718 John Lewis would have had a considerable personal library in his rectory at Minster – in – Thanet and so he started with the same problem we have today, when was Thanet a proper Island and when was the Wantsum navigable?

So, domesticus transitus – Went Home or home passage and maybe eventually Wantsum or Tenet, Tened, Tanet, Fire or Thanet.

So what John Lewis does is to write down what previous writers have said about Thanet and the Wantsum, English, Latin, marginal notes * symbol indicating large notes at the bottom of pages. 

The trouble really starts when later historians read something in Lewis that was published in the early 1700s and make the assumption that the bit of text or even the map that Lewis has included relates to the early 1700s.

Although the trouble for John Lewis started when his book first came out, the following are some of the things other historians said about it.

"it has only an indifferent character and is a poor performance." Heame refers to "that vile, silly Pimp, that vile wretch, Lewis the Pyrate, the same poor writer that drew up and published Wicliffs Life. He is a Wiclivist, Calvinist, Puritan & Republican, and hath wrote and published divers other things of no manner of Esteem among honest learned men. Lewis has the character of a rogue and a villain."

Lewis went on to produce a much larger revised second edition published in 1736, and you can of course come into the bookshop here in Ramsgate and browse it.  

For the most part there is very little written down about Thanet before Lewis's history, so I am having a reread as part of pretending to work.

Links for this post, which is historical research in progress

The first few pages of Lewis

Map of Thanet from about 1830, so cartographically accurate but the levels are shaded giving a reasonable idea of the lower levels and the extent of the Wantsum around say 500 AD

The Biblioteca Cantina entry for Lewis, which gives some biographical notes as well as the collations

If you have got this far then any help would be appreciated, as I said a work in progress, so I will add to it.

Bookshop, workwise, here is the link to what went out pictures

Having replaced my laptop I am still getting used to the new one, so the link to the test page of photos publishing to the web

I hope this works ok it’s a funny old world, so few people seem to publish directly to their own website, so presumably they don’t even know, in many cases, who their work actually belongs to. 

RSP have submitted their DCO application, this is the link to their press release

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