The history and antiquities of the county of Buckingham, England


When the History of Buckinghamshire was first announced for publication, the Editor thought it his duty to afford some account of the sources from which he had derived his preparations for so important an undertaking; and, as an apology for his presumption, to state the grounds on which he solicited the favor of the public: that he had devoted many years to the prosecution of the Work; had explored with assiduity the National Records, the Libraries of the Metropolis, of the Universities of the United Kingdom, and all other depositories of Manuscripts, Charters, Genealogical, Biographical, and Heraldic Collections accessible to his diligent and respectful applications; that he had been liberally permitted to investigate, in numerous instances, those authentic sources of information, the archives and muniments of ancient and noble families connected with the County which has been the object of his peculiar solicitude, and had thus greatly increased the stores previously collected by the care and industry of Dodsworth, Kennet, Wood, Willis, Steele, Delafield, Cole, Langley, and the still more valuable and important materials supplied by the indefatigable labors of the late Reverend Edward Cooke, A.M. and LL.B. Rector of Haversham; which he avowed to have formed the basis of that superstructure which it had been his endeavor to raise.

This explanation and appeal have not been made in vain. They were offered with humility and diffidence, but with a confident reliance upon the candor of the friends of Literature.

Impressed with the conviction that Buckinghamshire possessed local features and artificial embellishments, united with objects highly interesting to the Antiquary and the Scholar, which placed this County in an equal rank with others which had long boasted the advantages of very learned and able Historians; that its connexion with events of national importance, together with the fame and distinction of many eminent characters identified with it, in ancient and modern days, as heroes, patriots, statesmen, orators, and poets, dignifying and adorning the spheres in which they moved, must be the Author's apology for having undertaken so laborious a task. It might seem a reproach that the name of Willis, pre-eminently venerable amongst Antiquaries, had not, even where he passed a long life in constant endeavors to promote so desirable an object, warmed with enthusiastic ardor some congenial spirit, to rescue the County from oblivious neglect, if not by equal powers, at least with kindred diligence.


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The progress which has been made in the study of British History has rendered almost every reader so conversant with the expressions and phraseology of our early writers, that some apology may be necessary for the introduction of remarks, which might formerly have been deemed the requisite preliminaries of a work of this description. However, as one of its principal objects is, by supplying an additional incentive to the investigation of our national antiquities, to engage in that interesting and useful pursuit the active co-operation and concurrent assistance of those who are best qualified for its advancement; and as such studies are usually undertaken with the greater prospect of success when commenced at an early period of life, it is hoped that a concise account of the terms which relate to the ancient measures of land, and ancient tenures, to which continual reference must be made in the following pages, will not be thought either impertinent or useless. It will at least explain the sense in which they are intended to be understood when employed by the writer, and thus tend to prevent mistakes or ambiguity.