I can do little more than repeat the words used by our late Chairman, Lord
Plymouth, in explanation of the manner in which the monuments have
This volume contains (in addition to the terms of appointment and official
report) a Sectional Preface which, under subject 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 that
the Commissioners have selected as especially worthy of preservation; a glossary
of architectural, heraldic and archaeological terms; a map showing the topographical distribution of the scheduled monuments, and an index.
The foregoing are common to the earlier volumes. But, in addition, and in
view of the fact that this is the concluding volume of the Essex series, we have thought
it of interest to add a short review of the monuments of the county as a whole, together
with an estimate of their relative position and value viewed from the wider standpoint of English archaeology. With this is combined a slight sketch of certain influences
immediately affecting the county during the Roman and Saxon and Danish periods
and a statement of the main lines upon which the Commission's system of dating
mediaeval monuments is based. Further, at the end of the Inventory is given a
list of those families whose arms, if anterior to 1550, are blazoned in this and in the
preceding Essex volumes, while two pages of illustrations are devoted to some
examples of mouldings grouped by centuries which were measured in the course of
our enquiries, and another page gives examples of mason's marks drawn from Essex
Churches. Lastly, the index is a combined index and covers all four volumes.
So far as the monuments in S.E. Essex are concerned they will be found, as
before, under the heads of parishes arranged alphabetically, with an introductory
paragraph calling attention to the more noticeable among them in each parish.
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 all undatable earthworks.
Each category of monuments has been under the care of separate SubCommissions.
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
In the first place, the Parish is located by letters in brackets which refer to the
square where it is to be found in the map at the end of the volume; reference is
also given where necessary to the Ordnance sheets (scale 6 inches to the mile) by
small letters in front of the number of each monument. 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 consist of a single paragraph, or of 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 their 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,
while in the rest of the text the normal spelling of the name has been adopted.
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 both for their educational and for their
æsthetic value. Had appearance alone been made the test of selection, many more
might easily have been 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 1714.
To ensure clearness of description, all ancient churches not illustrated by
historically hatched plans have been provided with key plans to a uniform scale of
48 feet to the inch, with the monumental portions shown in solid black. The
dimensions given in the Inventory are internal unless otherwise stated.
It may also be well again to draw attention to the fact that our Record Cards
may be consulted by any properly accredited persons who give notice of their
intention to our Secretary, at 66, Victoria 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 Records Office.
As in the past, no monument has been or will be included in our Inventories
that has not been actually inspected and the account checked in situ by a 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, while
Mr. Montgomerie has visited and supervised the reports on earthworks. Further, the
heraldry of the Inventory has been checked by the Reverend E. E. Dorling, V.P.S.A.;
the descriptions of armour by Mr. J. Murray Kendall, F.S.A. (Assistant to the
Secretary of the Imperial War Museum); the descriptions of glass by Dr. M. R. James;
the description of brasses by Mr. Mill Stephenson, F.S.A.; the spelling of names and
descriptions of costumes by Mr. 0. Barron, F.S.A.; and the accounts of Roman
monuments by Dr. R. E. Mortimer Wheeler, F.S.A. (Keeper of the Department of
Archaeology in the Welsh National Museum). 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.
It is much to be regretted that, owing to the financial exigencies of the time,
our staff has not yet been restored to its pre-war strength.
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, leads me to hope that the
reduction of the work of investigation will be only temporary.
CRAWFORD AND BALCARRES.
7th May, 1923.