An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire, Volume 2, North-East Cambridgeshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1972.
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For this second volume of the Commission's Inventory of the monuments in Cambridgeshire, a district has been chosen which contrasts with that surveyed for the first volume, West Cambridgeshire, published in 1968. Terrain and geological conditions in the western part of the county differ notably from those in north-east Cambridgeshire, about half of which is fenland. Not since preparation of the Commission's Inventory of Huntingdonshire (1926) has a similar area, incorporating fenland, been surveyed; in that Inventory it was not found possible to study the history of the drainage of the fens and its influence upon the landscape. In north-east Cambridgeshire an attempt has been made to identify and trace the many watercourses which man has constructed since Roman times and to explain their use either for transport or for the reclamation of agricultural land.
The area selected, though comparatively small, is representative of the region generally; the villages are large compared with those in west Cambridgeshire, and the number of monuments considered worthy of inclusion within the Inventory is proportionally greater. The monuments include such impressive earthworks as the Devil's Dyke and Burwell Castle, and range in size and architectural importance from the great Perpendicular church at Burwell to the modest dwellings for families associated with the waterborne trade of the fenlands. Investigation has brought to light a number of monuments of considerable archaeological and architectural interest, which receive publication for the first time.
The arrangement of this volume broadly follows that of previous Inventories: an official report of the Commissioners; a sectional preface which discusses the local and national significance of the listed monuments; a descriptive and illustrated Inventory; a glossary, an index and a map showing the parishes described. The classification of house-types devised for West Cambridgeshire has been extended slightly in order to include buildings in the present area which fall into identifiable groups. This has allowed shortened descriptions and an appraisal of regional trends. Additional information concerning editorial conventions appearing in the book will be found under Editorial Notes (p. xxiv).
The half-tone illustrations are mostly derived from photographs taken by the Commission's staff; the exceptions are from aerial photographs by Dr. J. K. S. St Joseph, Director of Aerial Photography in the University of Cambridge. Also included are some reproductions of early watercolours and photographs in the possession of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, to whom the Commission is indebted for their use.
In accordance with the Commission's practice no major monument has been included in the Inventory which has not been inspected and the account of it checked by one of my fellow Commissioners or our Secretary; thanks are particularly due to Professors M. W. Barley, H. C. Darby, W. F. Grimes, Dr. W. Pantin and Dr. C. A. R. Radford in this connection. However, any corrections to the Inventory would be welcomed.
The Royal Warrant setting out the Commission's terms of reference is printed in the first volume of the Cambridgeshire Inventory, West Cambridgeshire (1968). A list of present Commissioners is given on p. xvi.
I would draw attention to the fact that the record cards for Cambridgeshire may be consulted by accredited persons who give written notice of their intention to the Secretary of the Commission. Copies of photographs may be bought on application to the National Monuments Record.