The Victoria history of the county of Warwick, England
Warwickshire enjoys the distinction of being the first county whose antiquities formed the subject of an exhaustive County History. Although Stow with his Survey of London and Norden with his design for a complete series of county histories, and a few others, were Sir William Dugdale's predecessors by half a century, their work is not quite on the same plane with the latter's Antiquities of Warwickshire, which saw the light in 1656. On this publication was brought to bear not only the intimate local knowledge of a native of the county, but the genius and industry which made its author perhaps the greatest antiquary England has produced.
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The beginnings of the history of our county are to be found written on the stony tablets of the rocks, in records by the side of which the Saxon chronicle, the Roman epitaph, are nothing but the closing passages of a many-chaptered story. Through a study of the various operations by which to-day the materials of the land are everywhere being worn down, carried away by streams, and redeposited in seas and lakes as beds of gravel, as sandbanks, or as mudflats, it is possible in some measure not only to realize the physical conditions which prevailed in our district in those far-off ages, but also to people again those ancient waters with their shelly denizens, and to form some idea of the animal and vegetable inhabitants of those long since vanished lands.