ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL
MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF ENGLAND.
REPORT TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
1. May it please Your 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 in
England, excluding Monmouthshire, from the earliest times to the year 1714,
to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, humbly submit to Your
Majesty the following Report on Westminster Abbey, being the Eighth Interim Report
on the work of the Commission since its appointment.
2. We tender to Your Majesty our respectful thanks for the gracious message
which accompanied Your Majesty's acceptance of our Inventory of the Monuments
in S.E. Essex.
3. It is with great regret that we have to report the death of our distinguished
colleague, Sir Henry Howorth, since the issue of our last volume. Sir Henry Howorth
was one of the original members of the Commission. He was a Fellow of the Royal
Society, a Knight Commander of Your Majesty's Indian Empire, a Doctor of Laws,
a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a regular attendant at our meetings so
long as his health allowed it. His experience and wide learning have always been
placed unreservedly at the disposal of the Commission and its executive staff, and his
death is deeply deplored by his fellow Commissioners.
4. Owing to the pre-eminence of Westminster Abbey as a monument of Imperial
as well as of National importance, we have deemed it fitting to devote a complete
volume to the description and illustrations of the structure and its contents, as well
as of the buildings lying within its precincts.
5. A special committee of the Commission, consisting of the Chairman, Dr.
M. R. James (the Provost of Eton), Sir Hercules Read, Mr. Peers, Mr. Page and the
Secretary, was appointed to advise as to the manner in which the Investigators'
reports on the Abbey and its precincts should be arranged, since, owing to the number
of fittings contained in the Abbey, it was clearly impossible that the detailed
descriptions should be relegated, as in the case of a church of minor importance, to
the conclusion of the architectural description of the fabric.
6. This Committee, as well as the Commission as a whole, desire to record the
debt of gratitude that they owe to Professor W. R. Lethaby, F.S.A., Surveyor of
the Abbey, and to Minor Canon the Reverend H. F. Westlake, M.V.O., Custodian of
the Abbey, for their valuable criticisms and suggestions and for reading proofs;
to Mr. J. O. Cheadle, A.R.I.B.A., for the loan of a plan of the Abbey Church; to
Mr. H. C. Marillier for checking the descriptions of the tapestries; to Mr. J. A. Howe,
O.B.E., B.Sc., and to Mr. H. H. Thomas, D.Sc., of the Geological Museum, for their
examination and report on the Coronation Stone.
7. We have further to offer our most grateful thanks to the Right Reverend
the Dean of Westminster (Dr. Ryle) for permission to visit freely all parts of the
Abbey and the buildings within its precincts; to Mr. Wright, the Clerk of Works,
and to Mr. Drake, the Senior Verger, and his assistants for personal assistance given
ungrudgingly; to the Reverend E. E. Dorling, F.S.A., for revision of the description
of Heraldry; to Mr. Oswald Barron, F.S.A., for revision of the descriptions of
Costumes and spelling of names; to Mr. Mill Stephenson, F.S.A., for revision of descriptions of Brasses; to Mr. J. Murray Kendall, M.B.E., F.S.A., for revision of the
descriptions of Armour; and to Mr. F. S. Eden for his descriptions and illustrations
of the Ancient Glass.
8. We desire to express our acknowledgment of the good work accomplished
by our Executive Staff in the persons of Mr. A. W. Clapham, O.B.E., F.S.A., Mr.
J. W. Bloe, O.B.E., F.S.A., Mr. E. A. R. Rahbula, F.S.A., Mr. G. E. Chambers,
F.S.A., Mr. M. L. Logan, Mr. P. K. Kipps and Miss M. G. Saunders.
9. We continue to regret that owing to loss of staff after the Great War and
non-replacement under Treasury ruling, and, a fortiori, to the refusal to entertain
any immediate prospect of its expansion, it has not been possible to go forward
with the pre-war intention of the Commission to train and place senior investigators
in charge of separate counties or divisions of counties with competent staffs under
them to report the results of their enquiries to a central office in London for final
editing and publication.
10. We have, nevertheless, to report our sense of satisfaction at the ultimate
acceptance of our male executive staff on the permanent establishment of the Civil
Service, subject to a medical examination. At the same time we cannot but regret that,
despite the many precedents in support of such procedure, Their Lordships of the Treasury have not yet seen fit to ante-date the pension rights of the Secretary and the Investigators to the moment of their actual appointment to the staff of the Commission.
11. In conclusion, we desire to add that our Secretary, Mr. G. H. Duckworth,
C.B., F.S.A., has continued to afford invaluable and unremitting assistance to us,
All of which we submit with our humble duty to Your Majesty.
CRAWFORD & BALCARRES
J. F. F. HORNER.
J. G. N. CLIFT.
E. J. HORNIMAN.
ARTHUR J. EVANS.
C. HERCULES READ.
M. R. JAMES.
D. H. MONTGOMERIE.
C. R. PEERS.
GEORGE H. DUCKWORTH,
July 18th, 1924. Secretary.