Southampton figures briefly in the pioneering attempts of this Winchester land surveyor to create "a Great map" of Hampshire. Begun in 1822, it was planned on a larger scale - approximately 5 inches to the mile - than any comparable map. Consisting of at least 26 sheets, it was to be accompanied by a complete topographical description of the county. The sanction of the Lord Lieutenant of the county (the Duke of Wellington), the High Sheriff and the Lord Warden of the New Forest (the Duke of York) potentially gave access to the official records of the county. On the back of the approval of the Bishop of Winchester, a circular letter asking for parish information was sent to each of the resident clergy. There were over 130 subscribers. The survey deserved its description of herculean. The great landowners of the county were approached for permission either for Kentish himself or one of his assistants to walk their estates. The loan of estate plans or parish surveys was solicited. Where these were inadequate, Kentish offered a full estate survey at one-third the standard rate on condition that he could incorporate the information on his map. Letters were sent to laymen asking for a description of their own seats and manors.

The first map (sheet 16) to be completed, and reportedly sent to the engravers, was that of Winchester and its environs. By September 1823, Kentish was concentrating on the district immediately surrounding Southampton (sheet 25). Apartments were taken at 97 High Street, near the quay, for the receipt of documents and as a base to discuss terms with any interested landowners. Negotiations were begun with Robert Drummond for a new survey of the Cadlands estate at the rate of 6d per acre. Advertisements appeared for an articled clerk and an assistant surveyor.

All came to nought. A commission of bankruptcy was filed against Kentish, described as land surveyor, map-seller, dealer and chapman, on 20 June 1823. It was only discharged, after threats of Chancery proceedings, in March 1827. In December 1824, Kentish announced that he had sold his interests to the London firm of Greenwood, Pringle, & Co, who were to publish (in 1826) a one inch to one mile map of Hampshire in six sheets. The third printing added "N L Kentish" to the authorship, but his name was removed at the next printing in 1834. As many other men disappointed in business, Kentish emigrated to Australia. He arrived with his wife and two children at Sydney in March 1830. So begun a life of transformation: government surveyor in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania (where he discovered 'Kentish Plains' in the north west of the island), founder and editor of the 'Sydney Times' 1834-8, poet (self-styled "Australian Poet Laureate"), pamphleteer and political agitator. Details can be found in Australian dictionary of biography online.


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