Those who have been engaged in similar undertakings scarcely need to be reminded of the labour and difficulties attendant on the execution of a work, the contents of which extend over a period of more than eleven hundred years, and they will be the most inclined to make allowance for any errors and deficiencies which may be found in it. Several causes may be truly assigned for these, but particularly, I., the vague or conflicting statements to be met with in our ancient historians ; II. the scantiness of ecclesiastical re- cords, owing to their destruction at the period of the Reformation and during the civil wars ; III. the difficulty of obtaining access to such as remain ; IV. the variation in the chronology employed by the monkish historians, and the public records. The first commencing the year at different periods, and making their calculations either from the nativity of Christ, from the 1st of January or from the 25th of March, while in the public records the dominical calculation is disregarded, and the regnal one only adopted ; and moreover during the greater portion of the Saxon era there is an additional difficulty arising from the variation of two years between the dates of events as given by the northern and southern chroniclers, the consequence of which is that the same events are assigned to different years by different authorities.
The Editor has had many doubts and some difficulty relative to the orthography of names, for in no two records are they spelt alike, and even in the same document variations occur. Foreign names and titles
- In numberless instances the same name occurs differently spelt in the Privy Seal Bills, the Letters Patent, Bishops' Registers, the Bishops' Certificates, and the Church Books.