Relief, Hills

Norden's Hampshire 1607

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Hills John Norden could be using his hill symbol, hillocks generally shaded on the right, to show any of the following:-
  • important or isolated hills
  • steep scarp
  • uneven ground, hilliness
  • high ground, ie altitude
  • watersheds
- or he might possibly be using them just as decoration..

The drawing of hills has to compete with the placing other information on the limited map space. We do not know what priority was given to hills; it would be interesting to know in what order symbols were engraved on the printing plate. Hills are a prominent feature of the map's appearance; they vary in size.

The first category of hills is clearly represented. An important or isolated hill might be the site of a fort, beacon, castle, or town. There might be a name, eg Cast of Malwood.

A steep scarp might be shown as a line of hills, for example at Portsdown by Portsmouth, Stoner Hill northwest of Petersfield, or Watership Down in the north of the county. Some scarps are missed, for example the edge of the hills by Ashmansworth.

The line of hills drawn north of Winchester is not a scarp, but is high rolling downland, and is a watershed.

The other categories of hills seem to have a lower priority, and it is less clear what was intended. There seem to be more hillocks drawn where ground is high, say above 100m. In Hampshire high ground tends to be hilly ground. Low lying hilly ground seems to lack hillock symbols; but the space on the map is often taken up by trees in woods and forests.

There is at least one group of hills, west of Ringwood, that is less justified. The hills fill a space on the map but in reality are not as dramatic as the drawing.

Norden's Hampshire 1607, contents
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Old Hampshire Mapped

Map HMCMS:FA1996.22
 ©  Martin and Jean Norgate: 2005
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