The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 11. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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THE GREAT LENGTH of time, since the last Edition of Mr. Somner's History of the City, and Church of Canterbury was published by Mr. Battely, now near an hundred years, induced the Editor, especially as some account of them was necessary to compleat his History of the County of Kent, to attempt to continue that of both city and church, in a full and ample manner to the present time; in the pursuit of which, he soon found, among the records and authorities, which he had occasion to search on that account, materials fully sufficient for the purpose of the latter, insomuch as to enable him to give the Public a compleat History of them, of which the labours of Mr. Somner and Mr. Battely should be the foundation, and indeed the principal part, as far as the times in which they respectively wrote.
For that part of it, which relates to the city itself, and its civil jurisdiction, he had been favoured with two manuscript volumes collected by Mr. Jekin, veral charters, perambulations of bounds, charitable benefactions, extracts from the book of burghmote, and many other valuable articles relating to the franchises and privileges of the city, most of which are deposited in the city chamber and with the chamberlain of it; a valuable acquisition, which has greatly contributed to this part of the History. The ecclesiastical part of it, as far as relates to the parochial churches, received copious additions from the manuscript collections of the late Rev. Mr. Lewis, of Margate, now in the Lambeth library; and the patrons and incumbents of the churches have been continued down to the present time from the books of presentation, induction, &c. in both the prerogative and archdeacon's offices within the precincts of Christ-church, and the several wills proved from time to time in those offices have likewise furnished much valuable information.
The Editor's long residence as well in the city as in the cathedral precincts gained him much local knowledge, and from his friendships formed there during that period and his intercourse with the inhabitants, he acquired from time to time continued useful information, which is dispersed throughout the History.
There have been since Mr. Battely's time several accounts published of the cathedral and priory of Christ-church. Mr. Dart published one in 1726, in a thin folio, taken in a great measure from Mr. Battely's, to which he added several extracts from the manuscripts in the Cotton library, and he embellished it with many beautiful plates of the building and mo numents in it, which are indeed the chief merit of the book. Mr. Gostling's Walk in and about Canterbury was published soon after the author's death in 1777; a work of much merit, as well as entertainment; but it is written congenial to the author's peculiar strain of humour, rather a criticisin on the opinions of others, and a book of pleasurable reading for travellers, than one comprehending the antient and civil history of the city, drawn up, and authenticated from records and other documents of authority; nor indeed was such ever his design, and therefore he has not entered into it. His local knowledge was great, for he had been a resident within the precincts of the cathedral full fifty years, as one of the minor canons of it, during the whole of which time he had been an indefatigable and curious observer of whatever was worthy of notice in the cathedral and the precincts of it, as well as in the city and its environs, whatever therefore could be made use of from his book, consistent with the nature of this History, the reader will find interspersed throughout the contents.
Since the above there has been published by Simmons and Kirkby, printers, of Canterbury, in 1783, an octavo pamphlet, containing a concise description of the cathedral, and the inscriptions on the several monuments in it, together with the lives and characters of the archbishops down to that time, being a new and much enlarged edition of a smaller and more confined pamphlet before published by Mr. J. Burnby, on the same subject; of the latter part of this publication the Reader will find some use has been made in the like account of the archbishops in this History.—Lastly, Mr. Todd, a reverend and learned member of this church, published in 1793, a well written authenticated account of the lives of the deans of it to that period, from which the account of them in this History has been chiefly selected; and the Editor cannot but embrace this opportunity of acknowledging his obligations to Mr. Todd, for his continued liberal assistance throughout this History, but more especially in that part of it which relates to the church of Canterbury; his acknowledgments are likewise due to Mr. Alderman Bunce, for his valuable information relating to the civil jurisdiction of the city, and the several charters granted to it.
Many curious particulars relating to the state of the cathedral and precincts of it, as well as of the revenues of the dean and chapter, and the members of it, after their dissolution in the year 1648 to the time of the Restoration, are inserted from a folio manuscript of Captain Monins, who was the treasurer and manager of them, during that time, appointed by the ruling parliamentary powers it was kindly communicated to the Editor by John Monins, esq. of Canterbury, in whose possession it now remains.
The description, inserted in this History, of the several seals of the archbishops and priors of the priory of Christ-church, and other religious houses, annexed to deeds and muniments among the Chartæ Antiquæ, deposited in the cabinet within the treasury of the dean and chapter, were lately selected from them by the late Dr. Beauvoir and the Editor jointly.
The Reader will no doubt observe, how much he is indebted for his knowledge of the state of the priory of Christ-church and the precincts of it, at the time of the dissolution, and the distribution of the several buildings among the members of the new community of the dean and chapter, to the manuscript account of the orders of chapter made in the year 1546, with Mr. Somner's valuable explanations and observations on them; by which not only the situation, but the use of the several buildings of the priory can be, with much certainty, pointed out at this time. This book was in the most friendly manner communicated to the Editor by the hon. dean North, now lord bishop of Winchester, for the use of this History, of which he has been a continued and liberal patron.
Besides the assistance mentioned above, the Editor is indebted to many other most respectable friends, whose communications, though too numerous to be particularly noticed here, are inserted throughout these Volumes, to all whom he is equally obliged for the favour of them.
He has only to notice further, that the History of the Church of Canterbury is so connected with the events of public affairs, that the greatest difficulty has been, not to find materials for the compiling of it, but to select and abridge those only, which were found most interesting for that purpose, and such as related more particularly to the prelates, who presided over it, whose high and superior station, as metropolitans, entitled them to the royal confidence, and a participation in all public affairs of government, and occasioned their being placed in the highest and most important offices of the state. The chronicles and histories of former times abound with occurrences relating to both, and mention them with the highest encomiums of praise, honor and commendation.— MAY THIS CHURCH long continue to flourish, an ornament to religion, and an example to others, with a series of worthy prelates to preside over it; and may the present most reverend and worthy Metropolitan long continue to govern it, to the prosperity and welfare of it, as well as of the Protestant church in general!