The Land Within a River

These old maps and paintings of this area show how the riverside landscape has altered over time. Rivers naturally change – they move and meander within their floodplains. Many changes are also down to human activity – the cutting of new river channels, the straightening of meanders.


The maps show some fixed features – in particular the line of the medieval city wall – but the course and shape of the river changes quite a lot. It’s interesting that the name Bingley is thought to come from binnen ea, which means ‘within a river’ – it’s an Old English name first recorded in the year 814! This would suggest Bingley’s Island has always been here, always the same, while in fact the layout of the landscape has changed quite a lot, with different channels and meanders enclosing different areas over time.


Canterbury City Council HLF