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ceived from you, touching the drayning made of late years by the Duke of Holstein, it being so pertinent to my business. My thanks for what you sent me from your learned observations touching the banking and drayning in other forreign parts, I desired my good friend Mr. Ashmole to present to you, when I was not able to write my self; which I presume he did do.
And being thus emboldened by these your favours, I shall here acquaint you with my conceipt touching this spacious tract in forme of a sinus or bay, which we call the great levell of the fenns, extending from Linne, beyond Waynflete in Lincolnshire, in length; and in breadth, into some parts of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Northampton, Huntington, and Lincoln, intreating your opinion therein. That it was at first firme land, the sea having no recourse into it, I am induced to believe, when I consider the multitude of trees, viz. firre, oake, and of other kindes, that are found in those draynes and diggings which have of late years been made there; nay, some with their rootes standing in the ground below the moore, having been cut off about two foote above the ground, as I guesse; which I my selfe saw at Thorney, they having been dig'd up in that fen. And Mr. Godard (the recorder of Linne) assures me, that lately in Marshland, about a mile off Magdalene bridge, at 17 foot deepe, (upon occasion of letting down of a sluce) were found below the silt (for of that nature is all Marsbland and Holland) in the very firme earth, furr-bushies as they grew, not rotted; and nut-trees with nuts not perisht; neither of which kind of bushes or trees are now growing upon that silthy soil of Marshland, though it be fruitfull and rich for other vegetables. The like firr-trees and other timber is found in great abundance in Hatfield level, in the Isle of Axholme, where I am assured from ocular testimony, that they find the rootes of many firr-trees as they stand in the soyle, where they grew, below the moore, with the bodyes of the trees lying by them, not cut off with an axe or such like thing, but burnt, the coall appearing upon the ends where they were so burnt asunder: therefore when, or on what occasion it was that
2 This communication has not been preserved.
the sea flowed over all this, as appears by that silt at the skirt of Conington Downe, wherein the bones of that fish were found whereof you have one, is a thing that I know not what to say to, desiring your opinion thereof. I shall
how I do conclude that it became a fen, by the stagnation of the fresh waters; which is thus, viz. that the sea having its passage upon the ebbs and flows thereof, along by the coast of Norfolke to the coast of Lincolnshire, did in time, by reason of its muddinesse, leave a shelfe or silt, betwixt those two points of land, viz. Rising in Norfolke, and the country about Spilsby in Lincolnshire, which shelfe increasing in height and length so much, as that the ordinary tides did not overflow it, was by that check of those fluxes, in time, so much augmented in breadth, that the Romans finding it considerable for the fertility of the soyle (being a people of great ingenuity and industry) made the first sea-banks for its preservation from the spring tides, which might otherwise overflow it. And now, sir, by this setling of the silt the soyle of Marshland and Holland had their first beginning; by the like excesse of silt brought into the mouths of these rivers which had their out-falls at Linne, Wisbiche, and Boston, where the fresh waters so stop'd, as that the ordinary land-floods being not of force enough to grinde it out (as the term is all the levell behind became overflowed; and as an ordinary pond gathered mud, so did this do moore, which in time hath increased to such a thicknesse that since the Podike was made to keep up the fresh water from drowning of Marshland on the other side, and the bank called South Ea Bank, for the preservation of Holland from the like inundation, the levell of the fen is become 4 foot higher than the levell of Marshland, as Mr. Vermuden assures me, upon view and observation thereof. And this, under correction of your better judgment, whereunto I shall much submit, do I take to be the originall occasion of Marshland and Holland, and likewise of the fens.
But that which puzles me most is the sea coming up to Conington Downe; as I have sayd therefore, perhaps by your great reading and philosophicall learning you may shew me some probable occasion thereof. That the sea hath upon
those coasts of England, towards the North-west, much altered its course as to the height of its fluxes and refluxes, is most apparent from those vast banks nere Wisbiche, which you shall observe to be about 10 foot in height from the now levell earth, which levell is now no lesse in full height than 10 foot, as I am assured, from the ordinary levell of the sea, as it rises at the present.
I shall be able to shew about what time it was that the passage at Wisbiche was so silted up, as that the outfall of the great river Ouse, which was there, became altered, and was diverted to Linne, where before that time the river was not so large; it being in King Henry III. time, as my testimonyes from records do manifest. And I finde in King Edward III. time, that upon the river Humber the tides flowed 4 foot higher than before they did, as the commission for raysing the banks upon the sides of that streame, as also of the great causey betwixt Anlaby and Hull, doth testify.
Having now sufficiently wearied you, I am sure, for which I heartily desire your pardon, I shall leave you to your own time for considering of these things, and vouchsafing your opinion therein, resting Your most humble servant and honourer,
WILLIAM DUGDALE. For my much honoured friend, Dr. Browne, &c.
Mr. Dugdale to Dr. Browne.
(POSTHUMOUS WORKS, AND MS. SLOAN. 3418.]
London, 29 Nov. 1659, HONOURED SIR,
Yours of the 17th instant came to my hands about 4 days since, with those inclosed judicious and learned observations, for which I returne you my hearty thanks.
Since I wrote to you for your opinion touching the various course of the sea, I met with some notable instances of that kinde in a late author, viz. Olivarius Uredius, in his history of Flanders; which he manifesteth to be occasioned from earthquakes.
3 These " observations” have not yet come to light.
I have a great desire that you should see my copy, before I put it to the presse. It is now in the hands of the late chief justice St. John, who desired the perusall of it. In Easter term I resolve (God willing) to be again in London; for I am now going into Warwickshire; and then if you be not here, I will endeavour to contrive some safe way for conveying my papers to you : resting Your most obliged servant and honourer,
For my much honoured friend, Dr. Browne, &c.
Mr. Dugdale to Dr. Browne.
[FROM THE EUROPEAN MAGAZINE.]
From the Herald's Office, in London,
5th April, 1662. HONOURED SIR,
Having at length accomplisht that worke,whereunto you have been pleased to favour me with so considerable assistance, and whereof, in page 175, I have made some brief mention, I here present you with a copye thereof. Some other things I have in hand of my owne, which (God sparing me life and health) will ere long be ready for the presse. But at present, at the desire of my lord chancelour, and some other eminent persons, I am taken up much with the ordering of Sir Henry Spelman's works for the presse, viz. that part of his Glossary long since printed, with corrections and additions, as he left it under his own hand; and the other part of it to the end of the alphabet: and of his second volum of the Councells, which will reach from the Norman Conquest to the abolishing of the Pope's supremacy here. There are many things, which I shall from my own collections add to these workes, from records of great credit; for without such authorities I will not presume to meddle. If in any old manuscripts, which have or may come to your view, you can contribute to these works, I know it will be very acceptable. Sir, if your occasions should bring you to London, I should thinke myself happy to wayt on you. Resting ever Your most obliged servant and honourer,
4 This letter is not in Hamper's Correspondence of Dugdale. 5 "The History of Embanking and Draining of divers fenns and marshes, both in foreign parts and in this kingdom, and of the improvements thereby." London, 1662, folio.
For Doctor Thos. Browne, att Norwich.
Dr. Browne to Dr. Merritt.
[Ms. SLOAN. 1833.]
July 13, 1668. MOST HONORED SIR,
I take the boldness to salute you as a person of singular worth and learning, and whom I very much respect and honour. I presented my service to you by my son some months past; and had thought before this time to have done it by him again. But the time of his return to London being yet uncertain, I would not defer those at present unto you. I should be very glad to serve you by any observations of mine against the second edition of your Pinax, which I cannot sufficiently commend. I have observed and taken notice of many animals in these parts, whereof three years ago a learned gentleman of this country desired me to give him some account, which, while I was doing, the gentleman, my good friend, died. I shall only at this time present and name some few unto you, which I found not in your catalogue. A Trachurus, which yearly cometh before or in the head of the herrings, called therefore a horse. Stella marina testacea, which I have often found upon the sea-shore. An Astacus marinus pediculi marini facie, which is sometimes taken the lobsters at Cromer, in Norfolk. A Pungitius marinus, whereof I have known many taken among weeds by fishers, who