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essays on the
county, of a hundred, or even a parish ; whilst the experience of the Societies above referred to proves that there are many persons who are at once capable and ready to prepare
short history, the architecture, and the characteristics of an ancient castle, a mansion, a monastery, a church, or some other single subject, and thereby contribute essential matter towards a County History.
“The counties of Gloucester, Somerset, Kent, Northampton, Hertford, Northumberland, York, Sussex, and Norfolk, as well as the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, already possess their respective Archæological and Architectural Societies; and when the many remarkable and important objects of antiquity which belong to Wiltshire are considered, it must at once be acknowledged that the Historian, the Topographer, and the Archæologist will find within its limits ample subjects for study and for elucidation.”
The Congress of the Archæological Institute at Salisbury, as above stated, constituted a memorable epoch, not only for the city, but for the county; and exhibited to the inhabitants of both, the spirit, the zeal, the varied knowledge which the members possess, and have successively displayed, in Canterbury, Winchester, York, Norwich, Gloucester, Bristol, and Lincoln. The results of their visits to those interesting cities, have been partially exhibited to the world by the publications they have produced ; but the seeds sown in the minds of many who attended their meetings, cannot yet be known, though they must germinate, and eventually produce abundant crops. Had such a Society met in Salisbury at the end of the last century, it would have experienced a cordial and cheering reception from the antiquaries of that city, and others in the county; and the Topographer and Archäologist of the present age would have seen very different works on “ Ancient Wiltshire,” “ South Wiltshire," "Beauties of Wiltshire," or on “Salisbury Cathedral,” than the volumes which have been published with those titles.
To this appeal there were not replies enough to justify a public meeting; and until the commencement of 1853, nothing more was done on the subject. Having amassed a large collection of books, manuscripts, drawings, sketches, models, &c., relating to Wiltshire, I printed a catalogue of the whole, and distributed a few copies amongst my friends in the county. Mr. Scrope and Mr. Cunnington immediately saw and felt the desirableness of securing such a mass of Topographical and Archæological materials within the area of the shire to which they referred. The latter, in the true spirit and zeal of his revered and amiable grandfather, to whom the county and Archæology are essentially indebted for the contents of the two splendid volumes on “ Ancient Wiltshire,” now before the public, after some entreaty amongst his friends at Devizes, formed a committee in that town, appealed to several gentlemen in the county, and raised a subscription to purchase my collection. One hundred and fifty pounds have been raised and paid to me, the whole
of my Wiltshire collection so purchased, has been transmitted to its new home at Devizes, near the centre of the county, the Mayor and Corporation have kindly and judiciously given it safe and respectable shelter, and the large and influential assembly, which met there on the 12th instant to inaugurate the Society, cannot fail to gladden my heart, and render the event, the time, the place, and the flattering expressions used, the most memorable in the life of their old friend and well-wisher.
Some thirty years ago, I had correspondence with Sir Richard Colt Hoare, about forming a Wiltshire Topographical Museum and Library in the county; I offered to present my collection, if he would do the same. He, however, declined, as he intended to preserve them in his own mansion. Family considerations have restrained me from giving the whole of the materials and objects I had amassed relating to my native county; but as a Society is now formed, and has “a local habitation and a name," and as it has paid me the sum above specified, for the articles I had enumerated in the printed catalogue above mentioned, it is my intention to present additional models, busts, drawings, books and manuscripts to the value of fifty pounds, and trust that this example will be followed by other gentlemen, and even ladies, before the anniversary meeting of next year.
The Arrhæology aud Natural History of Wilts..
1. What was its ancient name and supposed derivation? 2. Are there any ancient or modern accounts of it; by whom
written; whether in MS. or in print? 3. What historical events have occurred? 4. What circumstances worthy of note have taken place within
the memory of man? 5. Are there any letters, papers, or other documents of interest
in possession of any of the resident individuals, or supposed to exist elsewhere?
6. Are there any remarkable pictures in the possession of in
dividuals, tending to illustrate its biography, history,
antiquities, &c. ? 7. Have any celebrated characters been born in it, or connected
themselves with its history? 8. What manors are there in it; and who are the lords? 9. Is any part tithe free; are there any peculiar manorial rights,
customs, privileges, tenures, or courts of judicature? 10. What is the date of the earliest entry in the parish registers? 11. Are there any entries calculated to afford interesting infor
mation on the ancient customs, habits, &c., of the parish?
ANCIENT BUILDINGS, MONUMENTS,
1. Name the most ancient buildings, with their dates, pecu
liarities of structure, forms, &c. 2. Have any been injured or destroyed within the memory of
man? 3. Are any remarkable circumstances connected with their
history? 4. Are there any crosses, market or wayside, or monuments of
antiquity; add the present state, traditional particulars, &c.,
connected with each? 5. Are there any heraldic sculptures, dates, or inscriptions, either
in or attached to particular houses, or insulated ? 6. Are any ancient carved oak chests, or other articles of fur
niture existing in the parish? 7. Are there any barrows? Have they been opened and what
discovered? 8. Are there any rocks or stones which are objects either of
tradition, or popular superstition, and what name do they
bear? 9. Are they adherent to the soil, or placed there by the hand of
man? How arranged ?
10. Of what nature (geologically considered) are they? 11. Is there any camp, and by what name known? 12. Are there any ancient roads or track-ways, boundaries, dykes,
&c.; and what are their direction and name? 13. Have any coins, glass vessels, tessellated pavements, seals, stone
or metal hatchets, pottery, bone pins, rings, beads, collars, arrow heads of bone or flint, bronze and iron articles, spears, swords, or other weapons been discovered; where,
and under what circumstances, and by whom possessed ? 14. Is there a site of a British village? 15. Are there any traces other than the above mentioned, of
supposed Celtic, Roman, Saxon, or Danish occupation? 16. Are there any trees of superstitious or traditional interest?
TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, &c.
1. Are there any traditions referring to historical or local
events? 2. Are there any customs, festivities, &c., occurring on certain
days in the year, such as wakes, perambulations, &c.? 3. Are there any fairs of ancient date existing, or any discon
tinued ? 4. Are any superstitious practices still observed? 5. Are any peculiar customs observed at funerals?
IDIOM, DIALECT, &c.
1. Are any words or phrases peculiar to the people of the
district ? 2. Any proverbs ? 3. What is the characteristic of the common dialect ?
1. Of what form is the church; about what period built, and in
what style? Is the founder of any part known ? 2. Of what materials; and whence procured ? 3. Are there any arms, inscriptions and dates coeval with its
structure, or with any part ? 4. Are there any low side windows in the chancel ? 5. Are there any monuments, inscriptions, or other antiquities,
in the church worthy of notice ? 6. Any remains of wood or stone screen work? 7. Is there any ancient stained glass ? What are the subjects,
inscriptions, &c.? 8. Are there any brasses ? 9. What number of bells, with their date and inscriptions ? 10. Is there any church library? When formed ? 11. To whom is the church dedicated ? 12. Is the communion plate ancient; and does it bear any inscrip
tion, date, and armorial bearings? 13. Are there any ancient embroidered hangings or altar cover
ings? 14. Is there any early churchwarden's account book ? What is
the date of first entry? Does it contain early inventories of church goods, copies of injunctions, &c.
1. Is there any covered gate ? 2. Any churchyard cross ? 3. Are there any curious monuments, or epitaphs and dates ? 4. Is there any remarkable tree; and any tradition connected
with it? 5. Has anything worthy of observation occurred in opening old