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MAP OF THANET AND NEIGHBOURHOOD From the last Ordnance map, shewing the embankments surrounding the Stour, the heights above Ordnance datum in red ink, the unshaded parts being those probably occupied by the sea at spring high tides before the ancient sea-walls were erected.
shore-drift been directed more and more westward and northward, as we find in each subsequent map. Moreover we find outside this ancient beach that the bay that existed had been in some places so far silted-up that the mud-flats had been covered with grass. It seems that from time to time extra high tides and storms had in places swept over the beach, and at or about the mouth of the river there had been considerable removal of ancient beach and mud-flat so as to endanger the level or marsh-land from Canterbury to the sea. Such appears to have been the great inundation in A.D. 1364. It appears probable that soon after this artificial walls were erected to exclude the sea near the place called Hippelesflete, and beyond, and a bank called the boarded groin may have been erected. It was this place that Lewis first pointed out as the position of Ebbsfleet.
Seeing that either the name of Ebbsflete, or Hippelsflete, is recorded as existing on the properties of the monks of St. Augustine at Stonar, between the latter place and Cliffsend, I have endeavoured to trace out the connection of this flete with the Wantsum Estuary. I may premise that the wall described as the Ebbsfleet wall in Thanet is described in the books of the Commissioners of Sewers as in the Stone Lees valley, a name at once suggestive of the beach which I have mentioned as formerly connected with Stonar. And I learn from Mr. K. H. Wilkie, who has kindly furnished me with the data from the Book of Sewers, that when the most distant target was put down some years ago at the Cliffsend rifle range, in digging for a foundation beach-stones were found twelve feet beneath the mud of the Bay. The position of the stones exactly coincides with an imaginary line connecting the present Stonar beach with the cliffs at Cliffsend, where I had traced the ancient beach, and inside this line the beach seems to have been swept away in part, especially near where the "boarded groin" was erected. In the Commission of Sewers' Books, 1605, "we find Ebbsfleet wall next the cliffs of Thanet, called the groyne, in very dangerous condition to be repaired as heretofore by the Stone Lees Valley." In 1652 we find in the same books: "New sluice made through the groyne; no longer to be scotted to Minster." So it seems
it had previously been scotted to Minster. In the map and survey of the Town and Port of Sandwich, made by C. Labelye for Sir George Oxenden, the River Stour is represented as having a branch that runs parallel to the Haven. This map was made in 1735. It may be that this branch of the Stour is not correctly drawn, but we know that the Stour has made several turns in its course, and that before the Stonar Cut was made in 1735 a stream did enter the river here and in the Minster level.
Lewis and others have represented the beach wall between Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet Lane as an artificial wall made by the monks of St. Augustine, and in proof of the assertion quote the Writ of Inquiry, issued in 1280 at the suit of the Abbot, who sets forth "that he has a wall of sand and stone between Stanore and Clivesend, by which his manor of Menstre is protected from the rage of the sea, and that the people of Sandwich by force dig up the materials and carry them away in their boats, and will not suffer the Abbot's officers to distrain in a legal way for the trespass, but even bring armed men in their boats for the purpose of preventing such distress. And that he has a marsh belonging to himself in right of his barony between Stanore and Hippelesflete, into which the people of Sandwich come without leave, and against the peace and consent of the said Abbot dig the soil and carry it away in their boats by force to Sandwich," etc.* MS. penes Ric. Farmer.
This proves nothing more than (as I contend) that the Stonar beach was continuous to Cliffsend. The walls erected by the Abbots of Augustine were not made of sand and beach, but of good stiff clay, and the wall alluded to was the wall or beach cast up by the sea, and the Sandwich people took it as a common right, even as is done by people at the present time with these sea-shore accumulations.
Moreover, if we examine the said wall which now remains by the turnpike road near "The Sportsman," we shall see it is a natural littoral accumulation of beach and sand, which extends inland beyond the turnpike road, and from its uneven aspect appears to have been quarried for *Quoted in Boys's Collection, page 660.