An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London, Volume 4, the City. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1929.
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This Volume contains (in addition to the official Report) a Sectional Preface, which under separate headings, calls attention to any particularly interesting examples mentioned in the Inventory; an illustrated Inventory, with a concise account of the monuments visited; a list of monuments selected by the Commissioners as especially worthy of preservation; an armorial of heraldry before 1550; a glossary of architectural heraldic and archaeological terms; a map showing the topographical distribution of the scheduled monuments, and an index.
In this, the fourth volume of the Inventory of the County of London, a slight deviation has been made from the normal arrangement of the Commission's Inventories. As in the case of West London it was found desirable to group the monuments described under boroughs rather than parishes, so in the City of London the Ward has been found to be the most convenient division for our purpose. The parishes within this area are so numerous and often so minute, that their adoption for grouping purposes would have been impracticable, some of the monuments described being situated in two or more parishes.
Apart from this, the arrangement of the volume is similar to that of the Commission's Inventories of Essex and Huntingdonshire. The wards are arranged alphabetically with an introductory paragraph which gives the parishes or parts of parishes included in each ward, and calls attention to the more noticeable monuments.
As the Roman monuments of the City have been dealt with already in the third volume of the county of London and there are no visible prehistoric monuments or earthworks within the area, this Inventory includes only two of the usual classes:—
while the area dealt with is strictly limited to the existing boundaries of the City of London. Such units as the Tower of London and the parish of Holy Trinity Minories, which lie outside the City boundary, will be included under the borough of Stepney, in the fifth and concluding volume of the County of London.
The early part of the 18th century was a period of great building activity in London, and for this reason the limitation of the Commission's reference to the year 1714 has been a source of considerable difficulty, though not to the same extent as in West London. The exact year of erection of a private house is seldom preserved, and it is obvious that the criteria afforded by style and decoration may sometimes be insufficient to determine on which side of the dividing line a given building should be placed. I can only say that the fullest consideration has been given to monuments on the border-line and that if any have been passed over without mention, their omission must not necessarily be assumed to be due to an oversight.
As the whole area under review is contained in the two sheets LXII and LXIII of the Ordnance Survey (scale 25 in. to the mile) the Ward is located only by reference to the map at the end of the volume. In the case of churches, the description begins with a few words on the situation and material of the monument, together with a statement as to the 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 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, are comprised in a single paragraph, or a mere mention of their situation if they belong to a group with certain characteristics described in a covering paragraph.
The standardization 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, and indeed to a much later date, the art of spelling was in a very fluid state, proper names especially being subject to a wide variation dictated partly by 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 in the detailed description, while in the rest of the text the normal spelling of the name has been adopted.
The illustrations are derived, with five exceptions, from photographs taken expressly for the Commission, and reproduced by H.M. Stationery Office, whose work deserves special recognition. They have been chosen both for their educational and for their aesthetic value. Had appearance alone been made the test of selection, many more might easily have been included. The map at the end of the volume shows the distribution of the monuments.
All the parish churches described in the Inventory are provided with plans to a uniform scale of 24 feet to the inch. The particulars of the date of erection and cost of the churches of Sir Christopher Wren, are drawn from the original building accounts, described and abstracted in Archaeologia, Vol. LXVI. Further, a schedule of these dates and prices is printed as an appendix.
The description of church plate has been checked by reference to the volume on the subject published by the late Mr. Edwin Freshfield. The attribution of individual funeral-monuments to a named sculptor, where the name does not occur on the monument itself, is drawn from the note-book of Nicholas Stone, the recent researches of Mrs. K. A. Esdaile or other sources.
The survey of the actual buildings in the Inventory was begun as long ago as 1910 by Dr. Philip Norman, who has, throughout, placed his extensive knowledge of the City and its buildings unreservedly at the service of the Commission.
Let me again draw attention to the fact that our Record Cards may be consulted by properly accredited persons who will give notice of their intention to our Secretary at 29, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.1. The cards contain drawings of tracery and mouldings as well as plans and sketches of the monuments—forming in truth the complete National Inventory—and will ultimately be deposited for reference in the Public Record Office.
As in the past, no monument has been included in our Inventory that has not actually been inspected, and the account of every monument of importance has been checked in situ by a senior member of our own investigating staff. In a work of such intricate detail there must be mistakes. But I hope these are neither numerous nor serious. A further guarantee of accuracy lies in the fact that my fellow Commissioners, Mr. Page and Mr. Peers, have revised the reports of the Inventories of secular and ecclesiastical monuments. Further, the heraldry of the Inventory has been checked by the Reverend E. E. Dorling, F.S.A.; the descriptions of glass by my colleague Dr. M. R. James, F.S.A.; the description of brasses by Mr. Mill Stephenson, F.S.A.; the spelling of names and descriptions of costumes by Mr. O. Barron, F.S.A. Nevertheless, I shall welcome any corrections and criticisms that may be sent to me with a view to their possible inclusion in some future edition.
The success that has already attended the publication of the Commission's Inventories, and their value in securing the preservation of monuments of historical interest that otherwise might have been destroyed, lead me again to express a hope that the reduction of the work of investigation will be only temporary.