ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL
MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF ENGLAND
Report to The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
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 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.
2. We have pleasure in reporting the completion of our recording of the monuments in the town of
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
4. The methods adopted in previous Inventories of describing monuments have been broadly followed,
but an attempt has been made to reduce the length of the descriptions where possible.
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:
(28) All Saints, 13th and 15th century.
(29) St. George, 13th to 17th century; medieval glass and 18th-century monuments.
(30) St. John Baptist, 15th century; medieval
(31) St. Martin, 15th century; medieval glass
and post-Reformation monuments.
(33) St. Mary, 13th to 15th century; late
medieval ceiling of chapel.
(54) The Former Parish Church of St. Paul,
now Stamford School chapel, 12th and 13th
The preservation of the following streets or groups of streets is thought to be of paramount importance:
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.
Barn Hill, running into All Saint's Place;
some houses are medieval but most are of
the 18th and early 19th centuries and have
Broad Street, one of the principal streets
of the town, containing a large number of
buildings of varying dates; retention as a
group is recommended.
High Street, a notable street with large
houses on the N. side, dating mostly from
the 18th century.
Ironmonger Street, a linking street with
18th-century buildings on each side worthy
of group conservation; several of them have
early 19th-century shopfronts.
St. Paul's Street (W. half), containing
many ancient houses, the earliest dating from
the 13th century; the street now presents a
mainly 17th-century appearance.
High Street St. Martins, this wide approach road to the town has an 18th-century
character with many houses of architectural
merit; some houses incorporate extensive
Four monuments standing outside the medieval town are especially worthy of preservation:
(46) Gateway of Franciscan Priory, late 14th
(47) St. Leonard's Priory, 12th-century
church and other remains.
(288) Rutland Terrace, first half of 19th
(427) Rock House, first half of 19th century.
With the exception of St. Leonard's Priory, the areas and buildings listed above are contained within the
present Stamford Conservation Area.
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
12. We desire to add that our Secretary and General Editor, Mr. R. W. McDowall, O.B.E., M.A., F.S.A.,
has afforded us constant assistance.
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.
H. C. Darby
C. A. Ralegh Radford
H. M. Colvin
A. J. Taylor
W. F. Grimes
M. W. Barley
S. S. Frere
R. J. C. Atkinson
H. M. Taylor
J. K. S. St Joseph
A. R. Dufty
R. W. McDowall (Secretary)