The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.500000, 1.200000

1893 text

A shoal in the North Sea, off the Thames mouth, outside the Long Sand, fifteen miles N.N.E. of the North Foreland. It measures seven miles north-eastward, and about two miles in breadth. It is partly dry at low water. A revolving light was set up in 1840.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

1 Annotation

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Kentish Knock is one of several impressive sandbanks lying relatively far offshore between Kent and Essex, out from the mouth of the River

The predominantly sand and gravel seabed contains a diversity of animals living within the sediment, while hermit crabs scuttle across the surface among small sand goby fish and foraging rays and catsharks.

There are deeply gouged channels in the coarse sediment, ancient remnants of when the glacial floodwaters broke through from the North Sea.

More -- with a map -- at…

The battle of Kentish Knock in 1652 was a naval encounter on 28 September during the first Anglo-Dutch War between Robert Blake and a Dutch fleet under de Ruyter and de With. The Dutch suffered considerable losses and were forced to retire.…

You can draw a line between North Foreland, Margate, Kent via the Kentish Knock lighthouse to Harwich in Essex. Here begin sandbanks of the bight of this shallow sea, in which the Dutch should have avoided at all costs. They defend the mouth of the Thames.

Provision of buoys and beacons for the purpose of navigation came relatively late to England (compared to the Netherlands, for example). Instead, coastal navigators and pilots relied on the use of transits (the alignment of prominent structures or natural features on land) for guidance. In 1566 Trinity House of Deptford (which oversaw pilotage on the Thames) was empowered to 'make, erect and set up [...] beacons, marks and signs for the sea' (albeit at its own expense).
Not long afterwards, the decay of the steeple of Margate Church (an important landmark for negotiating 'the Narrows', a complex route between sandbanks used by vessels sailing to or from London along the North Kent coast) led to Trinity House marking the Narrows with buoys in the late 16th century.

In his coastal survey of 1682-93, Greenvile Collins records five buoys around the Narrows, just north of Reculver, on the southern approach to the Thames.
The Swin (the northern approach) was marked with buoys at the easternmost points of the Gunfleet, Middle and Buxey sands, and by beacons on the Whitaker, Shoe and Blacktail spits.
A buoy marked the easternmost point of the Nore sandbank at this time, and 3 more buoys marked sandbanks in the middle part of the estuary (Spaniard, Red Sand and the Oaze).

The Nore Lightship, the world's first lightvessel, was established in the Estuary as a private venture in 1732 to mark the 'best position for entering the Thames and Medway, and to clear the Nore Sand'. ...

Prior to 1684 beacons were set up on the mudflats north of the Swin channel, to help vessels approaching the Thames from the north to navigate the sands. ...

Lots more about Trinity House's efforts to keep ships safe at…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.