In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Goodwin Sands like this:
Goodwin Sands, an extensive and dangerous shoal, off the E. coast of Kent, opposite Sandwich and Deal, about 5 miles from the mainland. N. to S. it is about 10 miles long; its breadth ranges from 1½ to 3 miles, and it forms a natural breakwater for the well-known roadstead called the Downs. A considerable part of the shoal is dry at low water. Goodwin Sands are said to have belonged to the estate of the Earl Godwine, and they are supposed to have been submerged in 1037. Probably there is no place where wrecks have been more numerous, consequently much has been done to secure the safety of mariners. The shoal has 4 lights -- 2 (East Goodwin and Gull) with revolving lights each seen 10 miles, 1 (South Sand Head) with fixed light seen 10 miles, and 1 (North Sand Head) with flashing light seen 10 miles.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Goodwin Sands, in and Kent | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th January 2015
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