A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603. Originally published by Clarendon, Oxford, 1908.

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'Preface', in A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603, (Oxford, 1908) pp. iii-iv. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]


Two hundred years ago Thomas Hearne recommended that Stow's Survey should be reprinted as a venerable original. No words could express better the intention of the present edition. The not infrequent misprints and some obvious errors have been corrected, and it has been necessary at times to vary the punctuation. But otherwise the text now given follows faithfully the edition of 1603, save that the list of Mayors and Sheriffs has been revised, since the original was in its earlier part so tangled with error that more close reproduction could only have been mischievous. The edition of 1603 was printed for the most part in black letter. In the present edition the Roman type represents the black letter of the original; the Italic type is used for those passages or phrases which, in 1603, were printed in Roman type. Occasionally it has been necessary in the interest of uniformity to vary the type. But the only changes of importance are the printing in Roman type on i. 117 of the paragraph beginning: 'Hauing thus in generality'; and the printing in Italics of the quotations on ii. 96 and 105. The pages of the 1603 edition are marked by a | in the text, and by the number of the page (in Italics) in the margin.

The text of 1603 is followed by a collation with the first edition of 1598, showing all the variations between the two versions.

Of the making of Notes to such a book as the Survey there need be no end. Critics may be disposed to ask once more: 'Why have ye not noted this, or that?' But some restriction was necessary.

The chief aims of the Notes in this edition have therefore been: to correct any errors of statement or fact which might be found; to trace as far as possible the sources of Stow's information; to supplement the text with fresh matter from Stow's own collections; to illustrate it, within a reasonable compass, by quotations from contemporary writers. There has been no intention to complete Stow's history. Still less have I endeavoured to carry that history beyond his own time. I have, however, added notes on places and place-names, especially in those cases where Stow had himself given some history, suggested a derivation, or cited obsolete forms.

The preparation of the text and its passage through the press have been supervised by Mr. C. E. Doble. How much care and pains his labour has entailed, only one who has had some share in it can realize. For myself I have further to thank Mr. Doble both for suggesting to me the undertaking of this edition and for his constant advice and assistance in its performance. Mr. Doble has also supplied the Glossary. The map of London circa 1600 has been prepared by Mr. Emery Walker; it is based on a comparison of Stow's text with the maps of Hoefnagel in Braun and Hogenberg's atlas (circa 1560), of Faithorne (1658), and of Morden and Lea (1682). The famous map of Ralph Agas was probably based on Hoefnagel's map.

I have to thank Dr. R. R. Sharpe, the Records Clerk at the Guildhall, Mr. W. H. Stevenson of St. John's College, Oxford, and Mr. J. A. Herbert of the British Museum for their assistance in various points of difficulty.
January, 1908.