The Fens Before They Were Drained
Fine example of Valk and Schenk's map of the fens of East Anglia. The map, with north orientated to the right, shows the region between Cambridge and the North Sea, including Ely, Cambridge, and Peterborough.
The map shows the fens, then still flooded, with Ely acting as its own island. Many small villages are named, and, southwest of Swatham Prior, a strange torch stands at the top of a hill. Part of Lincolnshire is named Holland, which reflects the regions close ties to the Low Countries. The map includes the royal coats of arms and three cartouches, including one that lists important governmental figures from the region.
This map shows the fens before they were fully drained, with the significant drainages having occurred in the 1630s. In order to reclaim large amounts of land for agricultural purposes, a series of royal commissions attempted to remove all the water from the area using a system of dikes and pumps. Locals were opposed to this, as a large part of the economy was built around fishing and hunting, which the fens were perfect for. Draining the fens took until the 19th century, when modern steam engines proved finally powerful enough to fully pump water from out of the region.
This map represents a later state of a map of the same name first published by Henricus Hondius sometime around 1646. Hondius published a series of maps of the British regions, which were based on the most accurate sources at the time.