A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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'Preface', in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 1, (London, 1906) pp. xxi. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]


Although Somerset has many claims to a complete history, the History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset, by John Collinson, published in 1791, is the only work that can be said to treat the history of the county in any way fully. Collinson had little opportunity of referring to original sources, hence his work lacks the exactness and exhaustiveness which are now looked for in a work of this nature.

A more ambitious scheme for a county history was that of William Phelps, who published the first part of his History and Antiquities of Somersetshire in 1835, but only seven parts were issued and the work was left incomplete.

It may be mentioned that the Rev. R. W. Eyton, among his various works on the Domesday Book, published in 1880 a digest of the Great Survey under the title of the Survey of Somerset, although this of course cannot be reckoned as a county history.

The present volume has been unfortunately delayed on account of unforeseen difficulties, but it is hoped that the delay has enabled the work to be made more complete than could otherwise have been the case.

The Editor wishes to express his acknowledgements to Sir Henry C. Maxwell Lyte, K.C.B., and the Rev. E. H. Bates, M.A., for advice and help in the revision of articles, and to thank the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Archæological Institute, the Somerset Archæological and Natural History Society, the Bath Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club, the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society, the proprietors of the Bath Herald and Mr. G. C. Dymond for illustrations and the use of blocks.

The Editor wishes also to acknowledge the assistance of his late colleague, Mr. H. A. Doubleday, during whose editorship the earlier part of this volume was passed through the press.

The Index to the Domesday Introduction and Text will appear in Volume V.