An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970.
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Apart from 'Celtic' Field Groups and Roman Roads, the Monuments (dating from before 1850) in Central Dorset are listed, in the following order, under the names of the Civil Parishes in which they occur
Since 'Celtic' Field Groups bear no relation to the boundaries of the parishes it has been necessary to describe them extra-parochially in a special division of the Inventory. For the same reason the description of the Roman Roads of the whole County has been reserved until the last Inventory of the Dorset series.
As in former Inventories, it has been thought best to conform with the Ordnance Survey maps (without prejudice as to accuracy) in the orthography of proper names. Where, occasionally, two versions of the same name appear on the same map we have adopted the more recent usage. In recording funerary monuments, aberrantly spelt surnames have been copied, whereas the normal spelling of the same name may be followed elsewhere in the text. The latinisation of Christian names on funeral monuments is ignored.
The entries in the Inventory are necessarily much compressed. Those for churches and other important buildings begin with a brief description of the fabric and an historical summary; this is followed by a detailed architectural description and, finally, by a catalogue of the fittings. The entries for less important buildings are more rigorously compressed from the records made in the field. For many houses and cottages, space can be found for little more than a bare record of their location and the materials used in their construction; some minor 19th-century dwellings are represented by no more than a map-reference, a restriction which is regrettable, but unavoidable in view of our desire to include all Monuments dating from before 1850.
Except for certain air photographs, the photographs for all the half-tone and coloured plates in the volume have been taken by the Commission's photographers. Copies of them, and of many others which remain in our files, may be obtained on application to the National Monuments Record. For many valuable air photographs we are indebted to Dr. J. K. S. St. Joseph, Director in Aerial Photography at Cambridge University; other air photographs have been provided by J. R. Boyden, Esq., by the Royal Naval Air Service at Yeovilton, and by the School of Army Aviation at Middle Wallop, to all of whom the Commission's indebtedness is gratefully acknowledged.
Every Monument in the Inventory has been inspected by one or more of our Investigators, and every one of major importance, or which has proved difficult of analysis, has been re-examined, a process often demanding weeks rather than hours of work. The longest entry, of Milton Abbey, is the result of numerous visits and of two seasons of excavations. After being set up in print, the proofs of the whole Inventory have been circulated among my fellow Commissioners and carefully considered by them.
A number of Monuments have been destroyed since the time of investigation; for buildings, the word Demolished is added to the relevant entry, but no attempt has been made to recast the description in the past tense. The Inventory was checked in the field during 1967 and variations that have occurred since that date are not described.
No work of this nature can escape the intrusion of some mistakes, but I believe that they are neither numerous nor serious. Any correction that may be sent to the Secretary with a view to amendment in some future edition will be welcomed. Meanwhile these corrections will be added to our records, which are open for consultation by any accredited person after due notice has been given to the Secretary. These records really constitute the Inventory which we have been commissioned to make; the present volume is no more than a digest of them.