Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/10

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


In the VICTORIA HISTORY each county is not the labour of one or two men, but of several hundred, for the work is treated scientifically, and in order to embody in it all that modern scholarship can contribute, a system of co-operation between experts and local students is applied, whereby the history acquires a completeness and definite authority hitherto lacking in similar undertakings.

THE SCOPE OF THE WORK The history of each county will be complete in itself, and its story will be told from the earliest times, commencing witli the natural features and the flora and fauna. Thereafter will follow the antiquities, pre-Roman, Roman and post-Roman ; a new translation and critical study of the Domesday Survey ; articles on political, ecclesiastical, social and economic history ; architecture, arts, industries, biography, folk-lore and sport. The greater part of each history will be devoted to a detailed description and history of each parish, containing an account of the land and its owners from the Conquest to the present day. These manorial histories will be compiled from original documents in the national collections and from private papers. A special feature will be the wealth of illustrations afforded, for not only will all buildings of interest be pictured, but the coats of arms of past and present landowners will be given. HISTORICAL RESEARCH It has always been, and still is, a reproach to us that England, with a collection of public records greatly exceeding in extent and interest those of any other country in Europe, is yet far behind her neighbours in the study of the genesis and growth of her national and local institutions. Few Englishmen are probably aware that the national and local archives contain for a period of 800 years in an almost unbroken chain of evidence, 'not only the political, ecclesiastical, and constitutional history of the kingdom, but every detail of its financial and social progress and the history of the land and its successive owners from generation to generation.' The neglect of our public and local records is no doubt largely due to the fact that their interest and value is known to but a small number of people. But this again is directly attributable to the absence in this country of any endowment for historical research such as is to be found among other cultured nations. The government of this country has always left to private enterprise work which our continental neighbours entrust to a government department. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that although an immense amount of work has been done by individual effort, the entire absence of organization among the workers and the lack of intelligent direction has robbed the results of much of their value. In the VICTORIA HISTORY, for the first time, a serious attempt is made to utilize our national and local muniments to the best advantage by carefully organizing and supervising the researches required. Under the direction of the Records Committee a large staff of experts is engaged at the Public Record Office in calendaring those classes of records which are most fruitful in material for local history, and by a system of interchange of communication among local editors each county gains a mass of information which otherwise would be lost. THE RECORDS COMMITTEE SIR EDWARD MAUNDE THOMPSON, K.C.B. C. T. MARTIN, B.A., F.S.A. SIR HENRY MAXWELL-LYTE, K.C.B. J. HORACE ROUND, M.A. VV. J. HARDY, F.S.A. S. R. SCARGILL-BIRD, F.S.A. F. MADAN, M.A. W. H. STEVENSON, M.A. F. MAITLAND, M.A., F.S.A. G. F. WARNER, M.A., F.S.A. Many archaeological, historical and other societies are assisting in the compilation of this work ; and local supervision and aid are secured by the formation in each county of a County Committee, the president of which is in nearly all cases the Lord Lieutenant. The names of the distinguished men who have joined the Advisory Council arc a guarantee that the work will represent the results of the latest discoveries in every department of research. It will be observed that among them are representatives of science ; for the whole trend of modern thought, as influenced by the theory of evolution, favours the intelli- gent study of the past, and of the social, institutional and political developments of national life. As these histories are the first in which this object has been kept in view, and modern principles applied, it is hoped that they will form a work of reference no less indispensable to the student than welcome to the man of culture. via