Work was begun on this volume in 1937 and much of it was in print when war
broke out in 1939. The resulting dislocation of facilities for research, through
the removal from London of records at the Public Record Office and British
Museum, and difficulties concerned with printing inevitably held up its completion. It has not been possible in all instances to ascertain changes brought
about by enemy action or the mere passage of the last five years, and the General
Editor will welcome any needful corrections.
Any student with modern facilities for research at his disposal must be impressed with the prodigious industry displayed by the great Sir William Dugdale
in collecting material for his Antiquities of Warwickshire, published in 1656,
from the then uncalendared and almost unarranged national records. Moreover, Sir William examined great numbers of documents in private hands.
Many of these are no longer accessible, and for their contents Dugdale is our sole
authority. His general standard of accuracy was high, but it is not always clear
whether a document quoted was an original or a compilation of uncertain
authenticity. In our manorial histories, where it has not been possible to verify
or support Dugdale's statements, care has been taken to make it clear that they
rest upon his authority—or occasionally upon that of his worthy continuator,
Dr. William Thomas, whose augmented edition of the Antiquities (1730) has
been used throughout.
The publication of this volume has been made financially possible by the
generous donations of the Warwickshire County Council, the Cities of Birmingham and Coventry, the Boroughs of Nuneaton, Sutton Coldfield, and Stratfordon-Avon, the Trustees of Shakespeare's Birthplace, and a number of private
For assistance on the historical side we are indebted to many whose help is
acknowledged in the footnotes, but especial thanks are due to Mr. Edgar
Stephens, Clerk of the Warwickshire County Council; Mr. W. A. Sutton, Clerk
of the County Records at the Shire Hall; the late Mr. F. C. Wellstood, Secretary
and Curator at Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon, and Mrs. C. W.
Wellstood, who has filled those posts since his death; Mr. H. M. Cashmore,
Librarian of the Birmingham Reference Library; and the authorities at the
Public Record Office, who on more than one occasion brought back for our
inspection records that had been sent away for reasons of security. Acknowledgements are also due to Lady Throckmorton, the late Lord Henry Seymour, and
the Trustees of the Warwick Castle Estate for access to MSS. at Coughton Court,
Ragley Hall, and Warwick Castle, respectively; also to the late Lady Lucy and
the late Sir Henry Fairfax-Lucy for access to MSS. at Charlecote, since deposited at the Shire Hall.
For our frontispiece we are indebted to the courtesy of Trust Houses, Ltd.,
the owners of the White Swan Hotel in which the mural painting is preserved,
and Mr. F. W. Reader, from whose copy of the painting the block was prepared.
Our thanks are due to Mr. W. A. Clark for the trouble and skill which he has
devoted to photographing various buildings; to the Birmingham Reference
Library for permission to reproduce drawings from the Aylesford Collection;
and, for the loan of blocks, to Mr. William Cooper and Mr. P. B. Chatwin, who
has also given much assistance in other ways.
Finally, we would express our appreciation of the courtesy displayed by so
many owners and occupiers of ancient houses in giving our architect access to
examine the buildings.