KORTHALS-ALTES (J.)

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden. The Lifework of a great Anglo-Dutchman in land-reclamation and drainage with some notes by the Author on the present Condition of Drainage in England and a resumé of the Drainage legislation in HollanD.

Published: London: Williams & Norgate,

Date: 1925

First edition, small 4to (250 x 165mm), xi, [1], 202, 208pp., frontispiece, 15 plates, 6 folding maps (one coloured), original blue cloth, spine slightly faded.

Provenance
Provenance: Armorial bookplate of Court Hope; ownership signature of Frank Broomhead to front fly-leaf.

Note
Real progress on fen drainage did not come until the expertise of the Great Dutch Engineer Sir Cornelius Vermuyden was empaloyed. He was born in St Maartensdijk, on the island of Tholen in the Netherlands in 1595 and his services were not only used in the Fens but other low-lying and marshy areas such as Hatfield Chase in South Yorkshire, for which his was knighted by Charles I on January 6th 1629. A project to be financed by thirteen 'Adventurers' as well as the Fourth Earl of Bedford, began in 1634 with the successful obtaining of a charter from Parliament allowing them to drain the peat part of the Fens, the Bedford Level. The Gentlemen Adventures were; Sir Miles Sandys, Lord Edward Gorges, Sir Robert Bevill, Sir Phillibert Vernatt, Anthony Hamond, Andrews Burrell, Earl of Bullingbrooke, Sir Robert Heath, Sir William Russel, Sir Thomas Tyringham, Doctor Sames, Samuel Spalding and Sir Robert Lovatt. Vermuyden, being the most eminent drainage expert, and disputing criticism by rival engineers such as Jan Barents Westerdyke, drained the Bedford Level under an arrangement by which he would receive about 38,500 ha of the drained lands. During the 1630s nine major drainage cuts were built, ranging in distance from 2 to 21 miles. The main work of this time was Old Bedford River which was completed in 1637. It should be noted that this cut was not his own idea but had first been advocated in 1605. During this period Vermuyden also cut Sam's Cut from Feltwell to the Ouse, Sandall's Cut near Ely, Bevill's Leam from Whittlesey Mere to Guyhirn, Peakirk Drain from Peterborough Great Fen to Guyhirn, New South Eau from Crowland to Clow's Cross, Hill's Cut near Peterborough, and also made improvements to Morton's Leam and Shire Drain. Vermuyden drained the area twice since dykes were broken by Parliament in 1642 during the Civil War in order to stop a Royalist advance.

£195

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