An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the Town of Stamford. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1977.
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ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF ENGLAND
Report to The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
We, the undersigned Commissioners, appointed to make an Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilization and conditions of life of the people of England, excluding Monmouthshire, from the earliest times to the year 1714, and such further Monuments and Constructions subsequent to that year as may seem in our discretion to be worthy of mention therein, and to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, do humbly submit to Your Majesty the following Report, being the thirty-fourth Report on the work of the Commission since its first appointment.
3. Following our usual practice we have prepared an illustrated Inventory of the monuments, which will be issued as a non-Parliamentary publication entitled The Town of Stamford. As in recent Inventories accompanying Reports, the Commissioners have adopted the terminal date of 1850 generally for the monuments described in the Inventory though exercising discretion where reference to later monuments seemed desirable.
5. The descriptions of the major monuments in Stamford have been referred to the appropriate specialists and to a number of owners, and we are satisfied that no significant standing monument dating from between earliest times and 1850 has been omitted.
6. Our special thanks are due to incumbents and churchwardens and to owners and occupiers who have allowed access by our staff to the monuments in their charge. We are particularly indebted to The Trustees of the Burghley Estate Trust, the Most Honourable the Marquess of Exeter and his agent, Mr. J. C. P. Langton, for granting ready access to the Burghley Estate documents, and likewise to the Town Clerk, the staff at the Stamford Library, the Lincolnshire Archives Offices, the Northamptonshire Record Office, and the officers of the Stamford Archaeological Society, for permission to study documents and drawings in their charge. We wish to place on record our indebtedness to local historians, especially: Dr. E. C. Till, who most generously placed at the Commission's disposal his transcriptions of documents relating to propertyownership and other matters pertaining to our work; Miss Christine Mahany, B. SC., who provided constant information of current archaeological discoveries, and Dr. Alan Rogers whose publications on the history of the town have proved of great value. We are also grateful for the specialized information given by Mr. Richard Marks concerning ancient glass.
7. The town of Stamford has survived to a large degree undamaged by incongruous modern intrusions. The tallest buildings are still the church towers, so preserving a traditional sky-line which is becoming an increasingly rare feature of our towns. The modern by-pass road and the introduction of vehicle-free precincts have allowed the town's ancient buildings to be seen to better advantage than hitherto. Although a great number of houses have remained without recent alteration, several have been mutilated by their conversion into shops and the introduction of discordant shopfronts; it is hoped that further destruction of this nature will be prevented.
8. We humbly submit to your Majesty's notice the following recommendations for the preservation of monuments in Stamford. In view of the historical and architectural value of Stamford as a whole we believe that the entire area which constituted the medieval town should be regarded with special consideration for conservation purposes. Within that area, certain streets have either buildings of outstanding merit or contain groups of buildings where any destruction would reflect adversely on the whole; individual monuments, with the exception of churches, have therefore not been enumerated. The following early parish churches lie within the medieval town and are especially worthy of preservation:
The area which incorporates St. George's Square, St. Mary's Street (E. half in particular), St. Mary's Place and St. Mary's Hill; several buildings date from the medieval period but the character of the area is given by the large number of buildings of the 18th and early 19th centuries designed in the Classical style, many being of outstanding quality.
9. We further recommend that should any earthwork included in the Inventory be threatened with damage or destruction it should be investigated archaeologically in advance. In particular we would call attention to the importance of Stamford in the pre-Conquest and immediately post-Conquest ages. Little is known about the Danish, Anglo-Saxon and later medieval fortifications, all of which lay within the area covered by the present volume. We would urge that no opportunity of investigating these monuments should be overlooked, even where recent development has obliterated all surface indications.
10. In compiling the foregoing recommendations our criteria have been architectural or archaeological importance, not only locally but nationally, and the degree of loss to the nation that would result from destruction, bearing in mind the extent to which the monuments are illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilization and conditions of life of the people of England, as required by Your Majesty's Warrant. We have not taken into account any attendant circumstances, such as the cost of maintenance, usefulness for present-day purpose, or problems of preservation.
11. We desire to express our acknowledgement of the good work accomplished by our executive staff in the preparation of this Inventory, in particular Mr. S. D. T. Spittle (editorial); Mr. R. F. Taylor, Mr. D. A. H. Richmond and Mrs. S. E. Ault (architectural investigation); Mr. C. C. Taylor (earthworks investigation); Dr. B. E. A. Jones (documentary research); Mr. P. N. Hammond and Mr. R. Beeton (draughtsmanship); Mr. R. Braybrook (photography), and Mr. J. N. Hampton (air photography). Mr. A. P. Baggs and Mr. C. A. Hartridge participated in the architectural investigation but resigned before its completion.
13. The next Inventory to be prepared by our Cambridge staff will be of the historical architecture in the north-east of Northamptonshire. This will proceed concurrently with the recording of the earthworks and other archaeological sites in that county, of which the first Inventory, Archaeological Sites in North-East Northamptonshire, was published in 1975.