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11. Keith to Secretary of Admiralty
Utrecht at Sheerness,
June 16, 1803.
Sir, Be pleased to acquaint their Lordships that judging it of importance that a quick mode of communication should be established between the troops stationed in the counties of Kent and Essex I yesterday took an opportunity of visiting some parts of the latter county and take the liberty of communicating to their Lordships the results of the observations that I made.
I found that at Prittlewell church either by telegraph or by common signal intelligence may be conveyed across the mouth of the Thames to this place. That the most eligible place to erect the next signal station in the direction to Colchester seems to be a hill about five miles on this side of Maldon called Latchington, which is clear of wood and distinctly seen from Prittlewell churchyard and by much the most elevated land for many miles around. This station is very centrical (sic). Danberry hill, by far the highest of the country, is distinctly seen from it and by that means communication could be had with Chelmsford; and as Maldon is only few miles off and much lower there can be no doubt of the chain being carried on through that place to Colchester, though it is probable that a better situation might be found on some high ground on the way to the latter place without touching the former. This might be done at small expense as most of the signals could be hoisted from the churchyard to poles projecting from the steeples, particularly at Prittlewell.
I think that a post at Shelness on the island of Sheppey would establish communication by the Reculvers to Margate and from thence to the Downs in the same manner as that upon the opposite side of the Thames, by which means the communications between the naval and military commanders and the capital would be rendered equally quick with the telegraph.
I am further encouraged to think that from Latchington by Bradwell Landguard, Hoseley, Orfordness etc. the communication might be extended to Yarmouth, but I have not yet examined that line. I have &c.
LLoyd, C . (eds.) (1955) The Keith Papers, vol III, 1803-1815. Navy Records Society, pp. 19-21
Web Page: Rickard, J (24 July 2006), Keith to Secretary of Admiralty