An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1959.
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This Volume contains the official Report of the Commission with the list of monuments selected as especially worthy of preservation; a Sectional Preface, which, in addition to notes on the topography and growth of the City from earliest times and on various aspects of City and University architecture, calls attention to particular remarkable examples mentioned in the Inventory, arranging them under subject headings; an illustrated Inventory, with a concise account of the monuments visited; an armorial of heraldry before 1850; a glossary of the archaeological, architectural and heraldic terms used in the volume; a map showing the topographical distribution of the monuments recorded, and an index.
The arrangement adopted for the Inventory of the City of Oxford has again been used, except that the Prehistoric and Roman remains and certain other Earthworks surviving within the City boundary have been found to be sufficient in number to warrant arrangement under special main headings. The monuments are to be found arranged as follows:
The monuments are numbered consecutively, irrespective of parish boundaries. The inclusion of buildings of the first half of the 19th century, a period of notable urban development in Cambridge, has led to a change in system whereby groups of closely related buildings are included under one number.
The descriptions of monuments are of necessity much compressed, but the underlying principle on which the accounts of any importance are based is the same throughout. For Colleges, following a historical introduction and a summary of the main points of interest, the description begins generally with the gatehouse, the chapel and hall being dealt with as they occur in the lay-out of the building. For Churches, the description begins with a few words on the situation and material of each monument, together with a statement as to the development of its various parts. A second paragraph calls attention, when necessary, to the more remarkable features. This is followed by a concise description, mainly architectural, of its details. A further series of paragraphs deals with the fittings in alphabetical order. The accounts of less important buildings are even more compressed but a short historical introduction to the buildings has been provided for the examples of groups of related buildings under one number.
The standardisation of the spelling of proper names in the Commission's Inventories has always presented considerable difficulties, and almost any system is open to criticism. It is well known that during the period covered by our terms of reference the art of spelling was in a very fluid state, proper names especially being subject to a wide variation dictated partly by their phonetic values and partly by individual caprice. In the absence, therefore, of any final court of appeal, it has been thought best to abide, in the matter of place-names, by the spelling adopted by the Ordnance Survey, without prejudice as to its accuracy. In the matter of personal names, in treating of individual funeral-monuments, etc., the actual spelling of the memorial has been reproduced, while in the rest of the text the normal spelling of the name has been followed.
The illustrations are derived, with a few exceptions, from photographs taken by the Commission's photographic staff, whose work, I think, deserves special recognition. The most important exceptions are the illustrations of the stained glass of King's College Chapel, for which the College with great generosity lent their own unequalled series of photographs made before the glass, removed for protection during the late war, was replaced in the building. Three photographs of early metalwork are reproduced from the collection of the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and two airphotographs were supplied by Messrs. Aerofilms Ltd. The colour reproductions of stained glass details were made from photographs taken by Mr. F. R. Newens of Oxford. The Commission has to thank the Master and Fellows of Sidney Sussex College for permission to reproduce photographs of the original drawings of the building before reconstruction; Dr. Venn, C.M.G., President of Queens' College, for figures of matriculations at Cambridge 1550–1850; and Mr. Maurice Hill for formulating the graph on p. 102. The sectional drawing of the excavation of the Roman Town Ditch is based on information and drawings supplied by Mr. A. H. A. Hogg. The elevational drawings of King's Parade and New Square are based on those supplied by the Town and Country Planning Committee of the Cambridge County Council and by Miss Frances M. Forster respectively. The coats of arms prefixed to the account of each College are from drawings made by our late Commissioner, the Reverend E. E. Dorling.
To ensure clearness of description all plans not provided with scales have been drawn to a uniform scale of 48 feet to the inch, with the monumental portions shown in solid black. The dimensions given in the Inventory are internal unless otherwise stated and read from E.-W., N.-S.
The Inventory includes the plate belonging to the parish churches of the City and to the Municipality. The plate belonging to the University and Colleges has been omitted in consideration of its great quantity and because it has been treated and published by the late Alfred Jones.
An unusual difficulty has arisen in the work of compiling this Inventory which should be mentioned here. The later stages of the work coincided in time with the first opportunity for some years for building work by Colleges for other than utilitarian purposes. In consequence important changes have been taking place in the architectural character of some monuments while this work was being printed. The most archaeologically significant of these are the alterations to the First Court at Magdalene and to Sidney Sussex Colleges, both brick buildings which had been altered in accordance with the prevailing romanticism of the age of Sir Walter Scott, a change involving a liberal use of Roman cement which, by now, in both examples, has been completely scraped off; further, the restoration with the advice of the Ministry of Works of the 14th-century residence of the Procurator of Vercelli at Chesterton has unfortunately affected the character of the building as an example of 14th-century architecture. Another type of work, undertaken to satisfy more material needs, is the reconstruction of the kitchens at Peterhouse involving the destruction of some of the early, if not quite the earliest, remaining fragments of Collegiate building in the University.
The Commissioners would again like to draw attention to the fact that the record cards for the City may be consulted by properly accredited persons who give notice of their intention to the Secretary at 34 Chester Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. 1. The cards contain photographs, drawings of tracery and mouldings, as well as plans and sketches of the monuments—forming in truth the complete National Inventory. Copies of the photographs may be purchased on application to the Secretary.
In accordance with the Commission's practice no monument has been included that has not been inspected, and the account of every monument of importance has been checked in situ by the Commission's Secretary and Editor. In a work of such intricate detail there must be some mistakes. But I hope that these are neither numerous nor serious. A further guarantee of accuracy lies in the fact that the proofs of the Inventory have been checked by my Fellow Commissioners; thanks are particularly due to Dr. Rose Graham, Sir Cyril Fox, Professor I. A. Richmond and Mr. Ralegh Radford, for help in this connection. The heraldry of the Inventory has been checked by my Fellow Commissioner Mr. H. S. London. My colleagues and I shall of course welcome any corrections and criticisms that may be sent to me with a view to their possible inclusion in some future edition.