Adrian James Webb

Cornwall’s geographical position and physical features have ensured its enduring significance to maritime navigation since ancient times. The Lizard was one of the most important landfalls on the south coast in the age of sail (being used as a favoured point of departure and landfall, and in the reckoning of zero longitude on some charts), whereas the Scilly Isles and Lands End were to be avoided.1 The method of navigating the rugged south-west peninsula in the eighteenth century was no different from the approach used on any other part of Great Britain’s coastline.2 Local navigational phenomena, the weather, the tides, seabed dangers, the form of the land and the provision of navigational marks were parameters within which local navigation was practised: it is those parameters relating to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly that are discussed in this chapter. Considerable progress had been made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the science of navigation, which advanced steadily in the eighteenth century in its mathematical, cartographic and instrumental aspects, in which the introduction of Hadley’s quadrant (from 1731) was a notable step forward.3 Seafarers in the coastal trade, including those belonging to Cornwall and Cornish fishermen, some working in surprisingly small and open vessels, probably made little use of the more sophisticated methods of ocean navigation. Their knowledge of local navigation was acquired by experience and often handed down within the family. Their tools included the sequence of coastal features, the tidal cycle, the trends in the weather, the pattern of the sea bed, the use of the compass and the leadline, sound and sight and, for the fishers, where the best grounds were. So it is very unlikely that local boatmen, particularly fishermen, used published charts. But coastal and ocean-going mariners would be more reliant on navigational equipment. For some idea of the importance to the Cornish maritime community of coastal charts, the subscription list to the first edition of Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot issued in 1693 offers an insight. Out of 158 subscribers 21 stated their residence in Cornwall; these were a mix of local shipowners and mariners, to which can be added a number of naval officers with local connections.4 Seafarers involved in coastal navigation probably benefited from some advanced nautical education before their first voyages.

Nautical Education5

Before taking responsibility for a vessel’s navigation training and experience were needed. Whether this was of a practical ‘on the job’ nature, or more formal, both opportunities were available in Cornwall. The very word ‘mathematics’ had come to mean the mathematics of navigation, and by the eighteenth century navigation was widely offered as an advanced school subject in Cornwall.6 Parents anticipating a career as a shipmaster for their offspring would ensure they completed their schooling with a course of navigation. Many teachers would also provide tuition for older seafarers between voyages. To be able to study navigation presupposes advancement in reading, writing and, particularly, arithmetic, geometry and trigonometry at a younger age than by today’s standards. One example was James Silk Buckingham, whose formal education was rounded off with a period studying navigation at Mr Duckham’s Academy in Falmouth in about 1795, who asserted he was at sea before his tenth birthday.7

In the eighteenth century navigation is specifically mentioned as being offered at schools in some thirteen places, mainly coastal locations across Cornwall. In addition, an unknown number of schools teaching mathematics, without specifically naming navigation in their curriculum, probably also offered navigation if requested. Thus the subject must have been accessible in most parts of the county.8 The earliest establishment in the eighteenth century occurred when Colonel Speccott left £1,000 in 1703 for a school to be kept in Looe for poor boys, naming navigation as one of the subjects to be offered.9 At Polruan, for sixty years (prior to 1809) Mrs Mitchell had been a schoolmistress to whom many masters of vessels owed their nautical arithmetic knowledge. Again near Mousehole, Alexander Rowe, the village schoolmaster in the second half of the eighteenth century was renowned for his navigation teaching.10 Both private teachers and charity schools included navigation in their curricula, but though it might have been offered widely the proportion of youngsters who completed by taking the navigation course may not have been large. Colonel Speccott’s endowment was shortly followed in 1713, when another was put in place to establish charity schools at Saltash, Liskeard, Looe, Penzance and Grampound. These schools were ‘to bee free schools for all persons children whatsoever as will living without as within the said severall and respective Burroughs . . . who are not well able . . . to pay for their Childrens Schooling’ to be taught navigation (among other things).11 The continued establishment of new schools indicates that there was a demand for navigation teaching in Cornwall throughout the eighteenth century, undoubtedly giving students an advantage over those without the qualification when it came to advancement in either the merchant or naval fleets.

Navigational charts

The eighteenth century saw the availability of a relatively new series of charts of the Cornish coast surveyed by a Royal Naval officer, Grenville Collins, which had been produced to redress the dire state of charting prior to the 1690s, when nearly every printed chart was Dutch and most had not been corrected since first issued in the 1580s. Admittedly the landfalls had not drastically changed, but the hydrography would have and the importance of the relative position of features on a chart in relation to each other was paramount. Needless to say, the charts of the time of the Spanish Armada of 1588 were by the 1680s hopelessly out of date, despite John Seller’s efforts to rebrand them and pass them off as new works.12 Therefore, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, for the first time in the history of navigation, mariners could use published charts of Cornish waters which were relatively accurate and based on moderately detailed hydrographic surveys. The surveys of Cornish waters had been carried out in the early 1680s and published in the following decade, thanks to a government-sponsored scheme with royal backing. It was these surveys, carried out by a Royal Naval officer and primarily of interest to the overseas trade and the Royal Navy, which would be used almost exclusively for the next eighty years, until a new generation of navigational products came on to the market in the 1770s.13

The problem for navigators using Collins’ charts, which was not unique to Cornwall, was that although they showed important navigational features in their position relative to each other they were in fact many miles out of position in real terms. This was due to Collins having no accurate way of establishing the longitude of a position and possessing only a crude methodology for denoting the latitude. For example, the Gilstone, the Scilly reef on which Sir Cloudesly Shovell famously came to grief in 1707, was marked eight nautical miles out of position on Collins’ chart. But he was not the only one to make such an error as, in 1701, Edmond Halley had marked the Eddystone reef three nautical miles further south than its true position.14 The question of longitude and the demise of Shovell would haunt the eighteenth century until the use of chronometers became more widespread at the end of the century. Nevertheless, Collins has left us with a unique description of navigational features, such as sunken rocks, bars across river mouths and areas of foul ground. Of note were: the sunken ledge off Passage Point to the north of Mount Edgecombe, at the Crumble Passage, the narrowest place between Devon and Cornwall when entering the Hamoaze; Eddystone Rocks, which, when Collins visited, had no marker of note – he suggested that mariners ‘Keep without forty fathom Water and you cannot come foul of the Eddystone’; a bar on the approach to Looe; the Connys off Fowey, being ‘a Ledge of Rocks . . . [that] shew themselves above water at half-Tide . . . but 7 and 8 foot water within them at Low-water’; the Windhead Rock, three miles north-east of Dodman Point; the Falmouth Rock in the mouth of the harbour of the same name; a bar to the east of Helford; Englandkeys, a ‘parcel of sunken Rocks . . . about 2 or 3 miles from the Mount’ (highlighting the inaccuracy of some of the features); the sunken rocks of ‘Carrenbase and Lowleigh’ in Gover’s Lake; the ‘Gulf-Rock’, or Wolf Rock, three leagues south-west of Land’s End; and the Long Ships, ‘high above Water . . . it is all foul Ground between them and the Land . . . I have been told that small Vessels that are well acquainted will sail within them’, to name but a few.15

The description of dangers on the Isles of Scilly included the Spanish and Bartholomew Ledges, covered by only six feet of water at low water; Crow Sound, a bar channel with as little as four feet of water at low water; a rock called the Crow; the Bishop and the Crim, the two westernmost rocks of Scilly; and, in Smith’s Sound, the Great Smith Rock and a smaller one called Menpingo. In addition, Collins makes it clear how pilotage should be used: ‘if you Fire a Gun and make a Whaff, you will have a Pilot come off’ if in St Mary’s Road. He thought it inadvisable to try and enter Crow Sound without a pilot, while at Broad Sound he gave similar advice, especially because the navigational marks were ‘difficult to be known’. At Old Grimsby, despite there being two channels in and out, their narrowness made their navigation virtually impossible without a pilot.16 Although details of pilotage in his directions are sparse outside of the Scilly Isles, he states to mariners coming into the English Channel that ‘The Mariner having left the vast Ocean, and brought his Ship into soundings near the Land, amongst Tides or Streams, his Art must now be laid aside, and Pilotage taken in Hand, the nearer the Land the greater the Danger, therefore your Care ought to the more.’17 Despite Collins’ lack of information concerning pilotage, pilots were recorded at south-coast ports: at Falmouth in 1742, when it was thought that the best pilots for the French coast were ‘best found at Guernsey, Jersey and Falmouth’;18 and at Penzance in 1768, when one Royal Navy master had to ‘qualify himself’ for piloting in this area before taking responsibility for navigating a sloop from the port.19 It is also known that pilots from Pill on the River Avon worked from the Scilly Isles up to Bristol, covering the north coasts of Cornwall and Devon.20

When navigators had safely negotiated these dangers the benefits were clear. At Falmouth, for example, they would be able to take advantage (at a price) of the safe mole or pier, along with cranes and storehouses recently built by Sir Peter Killigrew, to whom Collins dedicated his chart of that port.21 However, in Collins’ opinion, Fowey was a ‘better outlet to the Westward than Plymouth or Falmouth’, despite being known among some mariners as a bar harbour, which restricted entry until half tide. This was incorrect and Collins assured his readers that there was no less than three fathoms at low water at a Spring tide.22

The Aftermath of Collins

Collins’ work had been in circulation for less than a decade when a new chart of the English Channel by Capt. Edmond Halley, R.N., including a new inset of Falmouth, was issued in 1701. This appeared in The English Pilot Part One a year later and in The English Pilot, The Third Book in 1703, both of which titles were used by naval navigators in Cornish waters.23 This important chart replaced Collins’ equivalent because Halley’s work was positionally far more accurate, with his inset of Falmouth and compass variation data far more up-to-date. Despite having this latest information it took twenty years to make its way into a later edition of Collins’ Coasting Pilot, and the magnetic variation information was still being issued unchanged some fifty years later.24

To supplement the coverage of Collins’ charts and sailing directions, navigators were presented with other large-scale published charts and sailing directions of the Cornish coast. The availability of manuscript charts is not known but Colonel Christian Lilly, an engineer responsible for hydrographic surveying within the Plymouth Division, carried out surveys of Falmouth and the Scilly Isles in 1715. One of the reasons for executing new surveys was that, before he left London for the south-west, he could not find plans of most of the places he wanted, an interesting fact when it is considered how Collins had already charted Falmouth and the Scilly Isles. Lilly recharted them, with topographic work far superior to Collins’. It is not known whether Lilly’s surveys were copied and made more widely available to ships within the Plymouth Division. However, printed charts and directions, normally produced in London, were much more accessible but occasionally repeated some of the old errors, although they were on the whole far more informative than Collins’. For example, John Chandler, an Orford pilot, author of the sailing direction section of The Seaman’s Guide and New Coaster’s Companion, by 1788 included ten significant dangers to navigation off the Cornish mainland and eight in the vicinity of the Scilly Isles which were not included by Collins in his directions. The list of additions is staggering: foul ground off Penlee Point; the Hand-Deeps Rock, four miles off Eddystone; Gray Rock, a mile from Falmouth; the Steval Rock, in St Mary’s Sound; the Gunner, Little Ganhilly, Old Wreck ledge and Nun-Deeps ledge, all in Broad Sound; Kettle Rock, Kettle-Bottom Rock and Hanman’s Island, all in New Grimsby; Godrevy Island and a ledge of rocks adjacent, near St Ives; the Cow and Calf, or South Rocks; two rocks called ‘the Man and his Man’ off St Agnes’ Ball, or (the Cornish dialect version) Keon Barianack; Gull Rock, off Ketsey Point; New-Land or Black Rock, and the Mold, both off Padstow.25 The number of omissions by Collins supports the theory, and contemporary comments, that his work was rushed and incomplete,26 although there is evidence this was not the case for all of the ports he described. In 1699 Joel Gascoyne openly published on his map of Cornwall that by using Collins’ own chart of the Scilly Isles he was in no way questioning his skill and care as a surveyor and, in the 1760s and 1770s, naval vessels at Falmouth regularly reported how his directions were still the best available and his chart was still correct.27 Even the crew of HM Sloop Merlin, which spent two days sounding the harbour, could only report to the Admiralty that they had ‘found every thing agreeable to Collins Draught’.28 At Fowey Collins was still in use in the 1770s despite a previous naval vessel having reported to the Admiralty in the 1760s the fact there were several rocks in the harbour which were not shown on Collins’ draft.29 Similarly, at the Scilly Isles a vessel returned a list of new depths that was not circulated, Collins’ directions continued to be used in the 1770s.30 With a regular flow of naval vessels in and out of Cornish harbours having to make navigational returns to the Admiralty there soon built up a large amount of data. Unfortunately for the merchant fleet and, to a lesser extent, the navy there was no organised system for disseminating the information back out from the Admiralty.


15.1 Chart of Mount’s Bay by John Thomas, John Nancarrow and Dionysius Williams (United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, reference A670)

Following Halley’s seminal work came a host of general charts of the Channel, such as those by Mount and Page (1730), Jefferys (1759), Moore (1786) and Heather (1794).31 Of greater use to coastal navigation was the issue of plans and large-scale charts of rivers and bays, such as a new and exact chart of Mount’s Bay covering the Lizard to Cape Cornwall that was (according to the title) accurately surveyed by John Thomas, John Nancarrow and Dionysius Williams and dedicated to Sir John St Aubyn of Clowance, which appeared in 1751.32 The Nancarrow family also had other literary interests: John Nancarrow junior of Marazion subscribed to Richard Carew’s Survey of Cornwall, published in 1769.33 Other charts of this nature appeared for the Scilly Isles in 1730, Mevagissey Bay and Falmouth in 1759, St Ives in 1773 and Fowey in 1779, among others, supplying the continued and growing demand for up-to-date navigational charts of Cornish waters. Unfortunately this ad hoc supply of maritime information would not become standardised until the 1820s, when the Hydrographical Office of the Admiralty provided regularly updated charts for all mariners. How easily these eighteenth-century charts were obtained from retail outlets in Cornwall before this time is unclear.34

It was not until the 1770s that the next generation of charts and sailing directions was contemplated. Foremost among these were those based on the surveys sponsored by the government. In his surveys Murdoch Mackenzie (junior) RN relied on the latest eighteenth-century technology – the station pointer – for fixing his position, leading to coastal charts of a much higher accuracy than before. His charts and sailing directions of Cornwall compiled between 1772 and 1774 make for impressive reading, but they were not made widely available until the early nineteenth century, with one exception. Concerns over the charting of the Isles of Scilly led the Admiralty to commission a further survey in 1789. Mackenzie’s cousin, Graeme Spence, was by this time Admiralty Surveyor and was keen to triangulate Scilly and its off-lying dangers with Land’s End and the Lizard, once again highlighting the inescapable inaccuracy navigators faced when approaching Cornwall’s south-west peninsula using maritime charts. His results were of a high calibre and he claimed that ‘when the Mariner has made himself Master of the Charts, their Nautical Descriptions, Sailing Directions, and Tide-Tables; he will rather Seek, than Shun Scilly’,35 even though pilotage services at Scilly were considered risky because of the carefree attitude of the pilots, due to their low income from small fees. Only Spence’s Account of the tides at and about The Scilly Islands . . ., printed by order of the Commissioners for Executing the Office of Lord High Admiral in 1794, was published in the eighteenth century, with his 1792 survey of the islands published in 1810. Sadly, the rest of Mackenzie and Spence’s works were not published by the Admiralty until the early nineteenth century and made available in their purest form to the merchant fleet only in the 1820s, by which time navigators were able to call on numerous versions of charts from both private sellers and those sponsored by the Admiralty once again.

Navigational Marks and Aids

That formidable obstacle to navigation, the Eddystone Rocks (considered to be in Cornwall), was, prior to 1696, lacking any substantial navigational aid. Winstanley’s ill-fated effort, although short-lived and destroyed in 1703 along with Winstanley, was an important step in the improvement of major navigational aids during the eighteenth century.36 Prior to this, the Killigrew family had tried to establish a light on the Lizard in 1570, eventually succeeding in 1619, but it was derelict by 1630, being only re-established in 1752. The Isles of Scilly fared much better, boasting a forty-foot red and white conical stone tower on St Martin’s Head built in 1683 by Thomas Elkins and a light on St Agnes, built in 1680, which was converted to burning oil in 1790.37 A scheme was also proposed in 1702 to build a lighthouse and breakwater in Whitsand Bay for the benefit of shipping between Milford Haven, the Isles of Scilly and Falmouth, but at a cost of £30,000 the scheme, despite being brought before Parliament, was not taken up.38 The rebuilding of Eddystone and, in 1795, the Longships were major feats of civil engineering in order to make improvements to navigation, which, along with the construction of all the other major lights, had the Corporation of Trinity House to thank for their existence.39

Collins recorded few details in his directions of man-made aids to navigation except for those on shore, such as the larger buildings used as transits for approach work, but nevertheless there were aids of some significance. At Falmouth harbour, where the Fal opens into the ocean, between Pendennis Castle on the western bank and St Mawes and Anthony-Point on the east, the channel is nearly a mile wide. In the middle is a large rock concealed at high water, ‘on the highest part of which’, in the early nineteenth century, ‘to obviate its dangers, the heirs of Killigrew, formerly Lords of Arwennack, are obliged to keep a tall pole fixed’.40 This suggests that a mark had been established for some time under some ancient agreement; it was in existence in the 1680s and 1780s when variously described as a pole and a beacon or a perch, respectively.41 As was frequently the case, there was a reliance on individual landlords taking the initiative when it came to safe navigation. At Fowey the Borough of Lostwithiel held some similar responsibility, as in 1764 reference is made to tin streamers injuring navigation of the port, probably through the discharge of excessive amounts of silt.42 The Wolf Rock was not marked until 1795, when a twenty-foot wrought-iron mast was erected; this, however, was soon washed away, and the rock was not permanently lit until 1869.43


15.2 Plan of the south-east Cornwall Source: The reasons of Henry Jones Esquire, for building a mould or peere in Whitsand Bay at the Lands End, 1702 (Society of Antiquaries, Harley Collection, Vol. 8)

Approaches to Cornwall

Cornwall’s geographical position in relation to the wider world also gave it an added importance when it came to navigation, one which caused numerous problems for mariners. It was the first landfall on the return leg of the busy eighteenth-century trade with the American continent, used heavily by both merchant and naval shipping, but it was not always easy to distinguish the English Channel from the more northerly Bristol Channel. Charts were thus essential, but in the period before the publication of volumes of combined charts and sailing directions any vessel blown off course would have been in considerable danger. In 1565 the approach to the Bristol Channel was referred to as ‘a place much feared of all sailers, and whereas many ships are cast away . . .’.44 Even when mariners had a chart these early cartographic works were notoriously inaccurate because of basic surveying methods, a lack of tidal stream information and imperfect understanding of magnetic variation.


15.3 Smeaton’s Eddystone lighthouse showing the construction and method of lifting the stones

Source: A narrative of the building and a description of the construction of the Edystone Lighthouse with stone . . . by John Smeaton (London, 1813) (MoD Admiralty Library, Portsmouth)

But surveyors were well aware of the problem, as Collins mentioned how ‘Many Ships have fell to the Northward [of Cornwall] (into the Welch Channel or the Severn) contrary to their Expectation’, stating how the tidal stream ‘beginneth six or seven Leagues to the westward of Scilly, and four or five Leagues to the Southward of Scilly, and so between Scilly and the Lizard’.45 In 1702 it was suggested how to the north of Land’s End the ‘Mineral Loads, all which have more or less the Loadstone in them’ caused ‘the Variations of the Compass’, subsequently forcing mariners to be drawn away from the English Channel into St George’s Channel. Thus compasses became incorrect because of this anomaly and were blamed for shipwrecks. Even local fishermen who used compasses found this a problem.46 About thirty years later Edmond Halley, Savilian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford and Fellow of the Royal Society, similarly observed how ships ‘have unexpectedly fallen on Scilly, or to the Northward thereof, and so run up the Bristol Channel, not without great Danger, and the Loss of many of them’, giving the reason as the ‘Change of the Variation of the Compass, and from the Latitude of the Lizard and Scilly being laid down too far Northerly by near 5 Leagues’.47 Both men highlighted (in print for wider circulation) the main problems. The situation was partly exacerbated by the reputation of the dangers of the Bristol Channel, and its navigation was always difficult: such was its notoriety, in fact, that in 1696 a naval master, although he had sailed in the Straits, West Indies, other places abroad and the English Channel, did not know the Bristol Channel well but knew it could be dangerous and requested to be appointed to a ship on another station.48

The science behind the current theory was defined by James Rennell in two papers read before the Royal Society in 1793 and 1815 ‘Observations on a current that often prevails to the westward of the Scilly islands’ and ‘Some farther observations on the current’. This phenomenon, whereby ships approaching the English Channel suddenly found themselves set northward towards the north Cornish coast and Bristol Channel,49 was not his discovery, as Spence had written an account in 1792,50 but by publishing his work through the Royal Society he received much acclaim. Still, as late as 1821 Joseph Barlow wrote how ‘Numbers of vessels have every year been driven up the Bristol Channel with thick hazy weather, through want of a latitude and not getting proper soundings; it is conjectured that a long way to the westward of Scilly there is a strong current setting to the northward’51 – thus showing how even in the age of chronometers and improved sounding technology it was not always possible to establish a ship’s position.

One disadvantage of being blown off course into the Bristol Channel was the lack of charts and harbours for larger vessels to shelter, with only St Ives offering anything remotely suitable. When it came to accessing the smaller harbours on the north coast of Cornwall by the end of the period, one writer claimed that the navigation of the River Alan or Camel at Padstow, where it is a mile wide, was ‘much impeded by the sands’. To the north, at the creeks of ‘Portisic or Port-Isaac, Bottreaux-castle, and Bude-haven’, the mouths of these ‘tide-rivers on the north side of Cornwall have been nearly choaked with sand thrown up by the surge, or drifted in by the north-westerly winds’.52 Charts of these areas were thus virtually useless and local pilotage essential, proving that nothing in the eighteenth century could stop the effects of nature on navigation.


Navigation based on charts of this period meant that the risks were high to navigators but not insurmountable. Improvements to aids to navigation; the availability of training; the frequency with which information was in circulation to and from the Admiralty and the private chart trade; the availability of pilots; improved knowledge of tidal streams and the compass variation: all these had a positive influence when it came to navigating in safety in Cornish waters during the long eighteenth century. It was, however, the efforts of local men that made significant contributions to improvements in navigational aids and educational opportunities. Men such as Colonel Speccott and the Killigrew family were foremost among those who tried to improve matters. But sadly, despite the efforts of those eighteenth-century worthies, the taming of the elements was something which could not be controlled to prevent vessels from being wrecked on Cornwall’s shores. Government schemes to provide new hydrographic surveys were a great step forward, but the delay in publishing the information meant, ironically, that navigators in the early eighteenth century had more up-to-date charts than they did in the middle of the century.

Notes and References

1 D.W. Waters, The Art of Navigation in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Times (London: Hollins and Carter, 1958), pp. 12–19, 267, 289–90. See also W. Ravenhill, ‘The Marine Cartography of Devon in the Context of South-west England,’ in D.J. Starkey (ed.), Devon’s Coastline and Coastal Waters: Aspects of Man’s Relationship with the Sea (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1988), pp. 1–23.

2 For an account of the history of navigation see A. Stimson, ‘History of Navigation’, in Michael Duffy, Stephen Fisher, Basil Greenhill, David Starkey, and Joyce Youings (eds) The New Maritime History of Devon, Vol. I: From Early Times to the Late Eighteenth Century (London: Conway, 1992), pp. 25–31.

3 Stimson, ‘History of Navigation’, p. 27.

4 Captain G. Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot (London: printed by Freeman Collins, 1693), subscribers list. Eleven of these stated no particular parish of residence, nine were from Penryn and one from the Scilly Isles.

5 For this section I am indebted to Alston Kennerley for the use of his unpublished notes on nautical education in Cornwall.

6 A. Kennerley and P. Seymour, ‘Aids to the Teaching of Nautical Astronomy and its History from 1600’, Paedagogica Historica 36 (2000), pp. 151–78.

7 J.S. Buckingham, Autobiography of James Silk Buckingham . . . (London: Longmans, 1855), p. 45. See D.M. Williams, ‘James Silk Buckingham: Sailor, Explorer and Maritime Reformer’ in Stephen Fisher (ed.) Studies in British Privateering, Trading Enterprise and Seamen’s Welfare, 1775–1900 (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1987), pp. 99–199.

8 Courtney Library, Royal Cornwall Museum [hereafter CL, RIC]: Card index of advertisements; additional references courtesy Mr and Mrs Len Burge; Cornwall Record Office [hereafter CRO]: BRA/833/450. The schools were at Falmouth, Fowey, Grampound, Kingsand, Lansallos, Liskeard, Looe, Mousehole, Penzance, Polruan, Saltash, Truro and Tywardreath.

9 ‘Parishes: Maker – Merther’, Magna Britannia: Volume 3: Cornwall (London: Cadell and Davies, 1814), pp. 212–27.

10 Royal Cornwall Gazette, 15 April 1809; CL, RIC: card index.

11 CRO: BRA/833/450.

12 A.H.W. Robinson, Marine Cartography in Great Britain: A History of the Sea Chart to 1855 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1962), p. 38.

13 Robinson, Marine Cartography. For an account of the period prior to Collins work see also W. Ravenhill, ‘The Marine Cartography of South-west England from Elizabethan to Modern times’ in Duffy et al (eds), The New Maritime History of Devon, Vol. I, pp. 155–57.

14 A.C.F. David, ‘Admiralty Surveys of Cornwall 1681–1810’ in International Map Collectors’ Society Journal (Spring 2005), p. 37.

15 Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, pp. 4–5.

16 Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, pp. 5–6.

17 Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, p. 9.

18 The National Archives [hereafter TNA]: ADM 354/118/53. A local pilot is also mentioned in 1764 (TNA: ADM 106/1138/132).

19 TNA: ADM 106/1162/210.

20 J. Rich, A Treatise on the Bristol Pilots from their Origination, to their Amalgamation. Including a List of Pilots’ Names, Dates and some of the Boats, for almost 500 Years (Pill: Atlantis, 1996)

21 Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, plate 4.

22 Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, p. 4.

23 Ravenhill, ‘The Marine Cartography’, pp. 158–59; United Kingdom Hydrographic Office [hereafter UKHO], Miscellaneous Papers series [hereafter MP].

24 Ravenhill, ‘The Marine Cartography’, pp. 158–59.

25 J. Chandler, et al, The Seaman’s Guide and New Coaster’s Companion (London: D. Steel, 1788), pp. 14–22; Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, pp. 3–6.

26 Robinson, Marine Cartography, p. 42.

27 UKHO: MP3, HM Sloop Beaver; MP13, HMS Infernal; MP15, HMS Jersey; MP16, HMS Lively.

28 UKHO: MP19.

29 UKHO: MP6; MP9.

30 UKHO: MP9; MP16; MP21.

31 For an almost complete list of eighteenth-century charts of the British Isles see Robinson, Marine Cartography, pp. 181–88.

32 CRO: X438/20.

33 R. Carew, The Survey of Cornwall and an Epistle Concerning the Excellence of the English Tongue (London and Penzance: printed for B. Law and J. Hewett, 1769), p. vi.

34 Only Charles Blyth of the White Hart in Launceston who sold Joel Gascoyne’s map of the county of Cornwall (published in 1700), can be associated with cartographic works during the eighteenth century as other chartsellers have not been identified. The only person in Plymouth offering Gascoyne’s map was a grocer (British Book Trade Index, [accessed 9 September 2007]).

35 David, ‘Admiralty Surveys of Cornwall’, p. 43.

36 P. Waterhouse, ‘Winstanley, Henry (bap. 1644, d. 1703)’, rev. M. Chrimes, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2005 [hereafter ODNB] [accessed 8 September 2007].

37 T. Denton and N. Leach, Lighthouses of England and Wales: A Complete Guide (Ashbourne: Landmark, 2007), pp. 91–106.

38 Society of Antiquaries, London, Harley Collection, Vol. 8; Robinson, Marine Cartography, p. 75; Journals of the House of Commons XIV (London, reprint 1803), pp. 517–18.

39 Denton and Leach, Lighthouses of England and Wales, pp. 91–106.

40 ‘Geography and Geology’, Magna Britannia: Volume 3: Cornwall, pp. clxxxi-cxciii.

41 Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, p. 4; Chandler et al., The Seaman’s Guide and New Coaster’s Companion, p. 16.

42 CRO: BLOS/276.

43 Denton and Leach, Lighthouses of England and Wales, p. 101.

44 R. Hakluyt, Principal Voyages 10, Hakluyt Society Extra Ser., nos 1–12 (1905), p. 213.

45 Collins, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot, p. 9.

46 Society of Antiquaries, Harley Collection, Vol. 8.

47 E. Halley, Observations on the Navigation Up and Down the Channel of England (London: Mount & Page, 1725).

48 TNA: ADM106/494/371. In 1789 a historian wrote ‘. . . the Bristol Channel however safe it be with good pilots, is very dangerous for strangers and those unacquainted with it . . .’, offering his readers instructions on how to pick up a pilot. See W. Barrett, The History and Antiquities of the City of Bristol (Bristol: printed by W. Pine, 1789), p. 90.

49 A.S. Cook, ‘Rennell, James (1742–1830)’, ODNB, [accessed 8 September 2007].

50 G. Spence, An Account of the Tides at and about The Scilly Islands . . . printed by order of the Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral (London: printed by order of the Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral, 1794).

51 J. Barlow, The Coasting Pilot for the Bristol Channel and the Scilly Islands, from Scilly Islands and the Longships to Saint Ann’s light, Milford, and King-Road (Ilfracombe: printed by J. Banfield, 1821).

52 ‘Geography and Geology’, Magna Britannia: Volume 3: Cornwall, pp. clxxxi–cxciii.

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