Pages xiii-xiv

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 5, East. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1975.

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By the Chairman, the Rt. Hon. The Lord Adeane, P.C., G.C.B., G.C.V.O.

In this, the fifth and last volume of the Royal Commission's Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Dorset, the relevant contents of twenty-five civil parishes in the eastern part of the County are listed and described. As in previous volumes, the parishes are dealt with in alphabetical order and each parish is prefaced by a short topographical synopsis. After this the entries are arranged in order— (1) Ecclesiastical Architecture, (2) Secular Architecture, (3) Mediaeval and later Earthworks, (4) Roman and Prehistoric Earthworks and other monuments of those periods, (5) Undated Earthworks. Monuments such as 'Celtic' fields, which often extend beyond parish boundaries, are listed and described in a special section following the parochial inventories. Roman roads are similarly treated extra-parochially, and the volume includes a general discussion of Roman roads throughout the County. A general index of the monumental heraldry recorded in this and in the four preceding Dorset volumes is also included.

The entries in the Inventory are necessarily much compressed. Those for churches and other important buildings comprise a brief description of the fabric, an historical summary, a detailed architectural description and a catalogue of the fittings. The entries for less important monuments are more rigorously compressed from the records made in the field, and monuments of minor significance are occasionally represented by no more than a map-reference; a regrettable restriction, but unavoidable in view of our obligation to record so many constructions dating from before 1850.

Each monument has been inspected by one or more of the Commission's investigators, and entries relating to monuments of major importance have been verified at subsequent inspections. After editing, the text and plans have been scrutinised by my fellow Commissioners. The descriptions of important monuments have been submitted, before publication, to the incumbents of churches and to the owners of other property, as appropriate, for comment. Within the limits prescribed by the Royal Warrant, I am confident that no significant monument dating from before 1850 has been overlooked.

With few exceptions the maps and plans which illustrate the Inventory are based on measured drawings made by our investigators. The plans of most earthworks are presented at a scale of 25 inches to the mile; 'Celtic' fields are shown at 6 inches to the mile. Plans of buildings (other than half-tone reproductions and a few small-scale key plans) are printed at the scale of 1 inch to 24 feet, and most of them are shaded to indicate the dates of construction of the several parts.

Some air photographs have been kindly supplied by the Committee for Aerial Photography at Cambridge University and a few are from private collections, but most of the photographs reproduced in the volume were taken by members of the Commission's photographic department. Copies of the original photographs may be obtained from the National Monuments Record.

Our thanks are due to many public authorities and private persons who have helped in the compilation of the Inventory. Individual acknowledgements will be found in our thirty-first Report, a copy of which appears on pp. xviii–xxi.

This volume of the Inventory was checked in the field during 1971 and only a few changes that have taken place since that date are taken into account. Mistakes can hardly be avoided in a work of this complexity and the Commission will welcome suggestions for the correction of any errors that may come to light.

Since the publication of our Inventory of West Dorset, in 1952, new light has been thrown on some of the monuments then recorded, and other monuments have come to light. West Dorset is to be reprinted in the near future, but the cost of a new edition in which all amendments might be included would be prohibitive. Attention is therefore drawn to the fact that new information is added to the Commission's archives, and that these archives remain permanently accessible to accredited persons who may wish to consult them, due notice being given to the Secretary.

I cannot conclude my preface to the last volume of the Dorset Inventory without commending the skilful work of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, manifest in the printing and publishing of the five volumes.