An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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A few informal words will not, I trust, be out of place by way of introduction and may help to explain both the arrangement of these pages and the manner in which the monuments have been recorded.
This volume contains (in addition to the terms of appointment and official report) a general historical introduction; an illustrated Inventory, with a concise account of the monuments visited; a list of monuments that the Commissioners have selected as especially worthy of preservation; a glossary of architectural, heraldic and archæological terms; a map showing the topographical distribution of the scheduled monuments, and an index.
Under the heads of parishes, arranged alphabetically, will be found a list of their respective monuments. The chronological sequence chosen is not perhaps scientifically perfect, but it has been found a workable basis for classification. The order adopted is as follows:—
(1) Pre-historic monuments and earthworks.
(2) Roman monuments and Roman earthworks.
(3) English ecclesiastical monuments.
(4) English secular monuments.
(5) Unclassified monuments.
In addition to dwelling houses, the English secular class (4) includes all such earthworks as mount and bailey castles, homestead moats, etc. To the section of unclassified monuments (5) are assigned undateable earthworks, as, for instance, unopened tumuli.
Each category of monuments, as explained in the Official Report, has been under the care of separate Sub-Commissions, with Lord Plymouth, Lord Balcarres, Professor Haverfield, and myself as Chairmen.
The descriptions of the monuments are of necessity much compressed, but the underlying principle on which accounts of any importance are based is the same throughout. Thus, in the case of ecclesiastical monuments, the description begins with a few words on the situation and material of the monument, together with a statement as to the historical development of its various parts. A second paragraph calls attention, when necessary, to its more remarkable features. This is followed by a concise description, mainly architectural, of its details. A fourth paragraph deals with the fittings of churches in alphabetical order, while the concluding sentence gives a general statement as to structural condition. The accounts of less important buildings, whether secular or ecclesiastical, are still further compressed, and, in the case of secular monuments, consist sometimes of a single paragraph.
The illustrations are derived from photographs taken expressly for the Commission, and reproduced by H.M.'s Stationery Office, whose work, I think, deserves special recognition. They have been chosen rather for their educational than for their æsthetic value. Had appearance alone been made the test of selection, many more might have been easily included. The map at the end of the Inventory shows the distribution of the monuments, and incidentally throws some light on the concentration of population in the county at various times before the year 1700.
The index follows the rules laid down by a small Committee of the Com mission, whose members, with a view to assisting in the co-ordination and correlation of archæological indices generally, adopted in a great measure the conclusions of the Index Committee of the Congress of Archæological Societies.
In a work of such intricate detail there must be mistakes. But I hope these are neither numerous nor serious. Each account has been carefully checked, and nothing is mentioned that has not been personally examined. A further guarantee of accuracy lies in the fact that Mr. W. Page (General Editor of the Victoria County History) has served as a member of each Sub-Commission, and that Mr. C. R. Peers (Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries) has himself revised the reports of our investigators. Nevertheless, I shall heartily welcome any corrections that may be sent to me, with a view to their possible inclusion in some future edition of this volume.