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EN G L A N D,
SEVERAL COUNTIES, CITIES, BOROUGHS, CORPORATE AND MARKET TOWNS,
PARISHES, CHAPELRIES, AND TOWNSHIPS,
HISTORICAL AND STATISTICAL DESCRIPTIONS ;
MAPS OF THE DIFFERENT COUNTIES AND ISLANDS;
A Map of England,
THE PRINCIPAL TOWNS, ROADS, RAILWAYS, NAVIGABLE RIVERS, AND CANALS;
A PLAN OF LONDON AND ITS ENVIRONS;
AND EMBELLISHED WITII
ENGRAVINGS OF THE ARMS OF THE CITIES, BISHOPRICKS, UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES, CORPORATE TOWNS,
AND BOROUGHS; AND OF THE SEALS OF THE SEVERAL MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS.
BY SAMUEL LEWIS. siri,
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
M. DCCC. XXXI.
introducing to the Public the “TOPOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF ENGLAND,” it
may be necessary to state that, although some few works, bearing a similar title, have been published within the last thirty years, yet no work of sufficient authority, as a book of general reference, has appeared since the time of Camden; the publication, therefore, of a Dictionary, affording a more comprehensive and faithful delineation of the kingdom, had become a desideratum. Of the
Of the many local histories and other works, which at the time of their publication might have afforded an accurate account of the places they describe, the greater number having been published long since, and there being several counties and considerable towns of which no authentic history had been given, it was found impossible to compile from existing authorities a Topographical Dictionary in any degree deserving the public patronage. It was determined therefore to make a general Survey of the whole Kingdom, and several gentlemen were engaged to procure, by personal examination and enquiry, the fullest information upon the various subjects contemplated in the plan of the work; and, in order to facilitate their enquiries, and to preserve uniformity in the arrangement of the information, they were furnished with printed questions, embracing every object to which their attention was to be directed.
The islands of Guernsey and Jersey, with the smaller dependent islands, and the Isle of Man, though not forming integral portions of England, are so closely connected with it, that it was considered that a detail of their history, and a minute and faithful description of their peculiar systems of government, laws, customs, &c., would form an interesting feature in the work: with this view gentlemen were sent to visit those islands, and were for many months employed in collecting the requisite information, and in revising and correcting the proof sheets on the spot.
Previously to the commencement of the present undertaking, a clergyman residing in the neighbourhood of Ashby de la Zouch had projected a work somewhat similar; the materials for which he proposed to collect by transmitting, through several peers of the realm and members of parliament,
, printed queries to the officiating clergymen throughout the kingdom; but, finding that his letters were only partially answered, and that the present publication upon a more extensive plan was in progress, he relinquished his design, and transferred to the Proprietors more than three thousand letters, which he had received, containing much original and useful information.
It was at first intended to confine the plan of the work to a topographical and statistical account of the several places; but, considering that a summary of the history of such as either are, or have been, of importance, would increase its value, and render it more complete, it was determined to introduce a concise narrative of the principal events which have marked their progress from their origin to the present time. To effect this, several other gentlemen were employed at the British Museum, the London Institution, and other libraries, to select from authentic records and manuscripts the most important occurrences in the history of each place.
To render the account of every town and place of importance as correct as possible, prior to its being finally put to press, proof sheets were forwarded to those resident gentlemen who had previously furnished local information, in order that, in their revisal of them, they might introduce any changes which had subsequently taken place, or improvements that might be at that time in progress : these were in general promptly examined and returned, but in some instances inevitable delay was occasioned by the absence of the parties to whom they were addressed.