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Bellin 1764
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NOTES from BELLIN'S CHART of PORTSEA ISLAND, 1764

FA2002.83  
These notes are taken from a chart of Portsea Island and Portsmouth Harbour, and the fortifications, by Jacques Nicolas Bellin, published in le Petit Atlas Maritime, Paris, France, 1764. The map studied is in the Map Collection of Hampshire CC Museums Service, item HMCMS:FA2002.83.
map type: HantsMap & Bellin 1764
The chart is No.8 in vol.4 of the atlas. The map size is: wxh, sheet = 22x31.5cm; wxh, plate = 193x239mm; wxh, map: 153x210mm.

Jacques N Bellin

Jacques Nicolas Bellin was born in Paris, France, 1703. He was Ingenieur Hydrographe de la Marine at the Depot des Cartes, Plans et Journeaux du Ministere de la Marine, Paris, France, from 1741 to 1772. The french hydrographic office had been established in 1720; Jacques Bellin was their first chief hydrographic engineer. A sea atlas, Le Neptune Francais, had been produced by Jean Baptiste Colbert in 1693. This was revised under the direction of Bellin and republished, Paris, 1753. A worldwide sea atlas, Hydrographie Francaise, was published by Bellin, Paris, from 1765 onwards. (large folio, double page 56x89cm). He also published: an Atlas Maritime, 1751; Essai Geographique sur les Iles Britannique, 1763 (quarto); and le Petit Atlas Maritime, from 1764 (quarto); etc. Jacques Bellin died at Versaille, 1772.
(His son, also Jacques Nicolas, 1745-85, was an engrvaer in Paris.)
Baynton-Williams, Roger: 1971: INvesting in Maps: Corgi Books:: ISBN 0 552 98789 1

French, Josephine: 1999: Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers: Map Collector Publications

Tooley, R V: 1952 (2nd edn): Maps and Map Makers: Bonanza Books (New York, United States)

Whitfield, Peter: 1996: Charting the Oceans: British Library:: ISBN 0 7123 0493 2


Atlas Title Page

The atlas title page reads:-
LE PETIT ATLAS MARITIME TOME IV. Contentant L'EUROPE ET LES DIVERS ETATS QU'ELLE RENFERME Excepte la France.
set in a picture frame decorated with foliage and a ?horse's head, foliage and musical instruments, artist's palette, brushes etc and dividers, and sword, spears, flags, and a ?bomb. In the background is a ship and anchor.

MAP FEATURES

title    
Printed upper centre is:-
CARTE DE L'ISLE DE PORTSEY, ET HAVRE DE PORTSMOUTH.
The map includes Gosport, Portsmouth Harbour north to Portchester, Portsea Island, and Langstone Harbour.

north point    
rhumb lines    
up is N    

image snip from map

Printed lower left is a north point, North marked by a fleur de lys. There are rhumb lines across the sea area; bold for cardinal points, light for half cardinal, dotted for false points. The chart is printed with North at the top of the page.

scale line    
scale    

Printed upper centre, under the title, is a:-
image snip from map

Echelle d'une Lieue Commune de France
chequered and labelled in quarter leagues (which I take it to be). The 1 league = 48.1 mm, if a league is 3.18 nautical miles of 6080 feet, then the map scale is about:-
1 to 120000
2 miles to 1 inch

sea area    
sea plain    
sandbanks    
depth soundings    

The sea area is plain.
Pecking is used to show foreshore shallows and sandbanks, the pecking denser at the edges. The spit off Blockhouse Point is labelled:-
image snip from map

Spit boue
And the large shallows off the south of Portsea Island:-
Bas fond toujours couvert de la Mer
image snip from map

The sea and channels are labelled with depth soundings,eg:-
6
3 1/2
which are most likely in fathoms.

coast line    
coast appearance    
harbours    
islands    

The coast line is shaded on the landward side giving an impression of its appearance? or perhaps it is just a conventional slightly rounded landform.
The harbour entrance channels are labelled:-
Havre ou Port de Portsmouth
Havre de Langston
Portsea Island is labelled:-
ISLE DE PORTSEY
other islands are shown in the harbours, including:-
I Horsey

coastal defence    
castles    
fortifications    

The chart shows a lot of coastal defence features around the navy's home base; what else! In the late eighteenth century relationships between France and Great Britain were not good; France threatened invasion. Their maps of our defences was not, for us, a good thing.
There are small forts:-
image snip from map

Fort de South Sea
and grander polygonal, artillery style fortifications:-
image snip from map

as at Ports Creek. The fortifications shown are (interpreting as well as maybe) following round Portsmouth Harbour from the south west:-
Fort Blockhouse     small fort with four bastions, labelled:-
Fort
South side of Haslar Lake; West side of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour.

Gosport Lines     angular fortifications to landward, plain walls to seaward.

Priddy's Hard     small fort with four bastions, labelled:-
Fort
North side of Forton Lake. It is too small but in the right position to be Priddy's Hard.

Fort James     small fort with four bastions, on a sandbank, labelled:-
Fort
This is far too far north, but what else might it be but Fort James?

Portchester Castle     small fort with four bastions, labelled:-
Chateau ou Fort

Portsea Lines     clearly drawn angular fortifications, on each side of Ports Creek, and an island fort between, no bridge shown, labelled:-
image snip from map

Ft. de Portsey

Portsmouth Dockyard     angular fortifications to landward, plain walls to seaward, labelled:-
Kings Dock ou le Chantier Royal

Portsmouth Lines     angular fortifications all around the town, guarding the east side of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. (Detail note below)

Southsea Castle     small fort with four bastions, labelled:-
Fort de South Sea

Lumps Fort     a single rectangular building east of Southsea Castle could be Lumps Fort, though Bellin does not recognise it.


settlements    
Settlements are drawn by groups of rectangualr blocks, for group of buildings. A church is an open rectangle, rounded end, with a cross. There are mostly labelled:-
Gosport
Porchester
Kingston
image snip from map

Portsey [with a church]
PORTSMOUTH [with a church]
Milton


IMAGINATION

Looking closely at the drawing of the fortifications around Portsmouth it is possible to imagine that the drawing is rather good. You can fit the details to how the lines really were. This is a very speculative exercise.

Running counterclokwise from Kings Bastion at the South; King's Bastion, Kings Ravelin, Pembroke Bastion, Montague Ravelin, East Bastion, Town Mound Bastion, Landport Ravelin, Guy's Bastion, Beeston's Bastion, Legg's Demibastion, Camber Bastion, Square Tower, and Spur Redoubt.
THIS IS DONE WITHOUT EXACT KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT PARTS OF THE FORTIFICATIONS WERE IN PLACE IN 1770.

REFERENCES

Corney, Arthur: 1965: Fortifications in Old Portsmouth: Portsmouth City Museums

Dartington Amenity Research Unit: 1979: Defence of the Realm: Portsmouth City Council & Southern Tourist Board

Saunders, A D: 1977: Hampshire Coastal Defence since the Introduction of Artillery: Royal ASrchaeological Institute

Williams, G H: 1979: Western Defences of Portsmouth Harbour 1400-1800: Portsmouth Ciry Council: Portsmouth Papers no.30


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HantsMap Notes -- BELLIN1.txt
MN: 23.7.2002
last edit: 11.8.2002