First published in Birmingham in 1830 and republished here on fully-searchable CD-Rom is William West's The History, Topography & Directory of Warwickshire. Containing more than 800 pages, the original contains a number of beautiful engraved views of the major cities and towns in the county as well as numerous engravings and pen-and-ink drawings that accompany the many advertisements. The full title of this edition hints at the scope of its contents: The History, Topography and Directory of Warwickshire. The Ancient Histories of Rous, Camden, Speed and Dugdale, with Curious Memories of the Lives of these Early Writers; A Description of the Present State of the County, with Modern Divisions and Subdivisions, & their Population & Valuation. A Directory of Every Town & Considerable Village in the County; A Gazetteer of all the Towns, Villages, Parishes & Hamlets .... & an Itinerary of the Direct & Cross Roads, with a List of the Noblemen & Gentlemen's Seats. Given the relatively early date of Samuel West's directory and the amount of historical and topographical detail contained therein, coupled with its extensive and numerous directories, this is a far superior and quite different publication to Pigott's Directory and in many respects more useful. The History, Topography & Directory of Warwickshire begins with a number of early descriptions of the county. The first of these is taken from William Camden's Britannia which first appeared in print towards the end of the sixteenth century; the second is taken from John Speed's History of Great Britain, first published in 1614 and the last is extracted from Sir William Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire , illustrated, first published in 1656 and considered to be his most important work. There follows West's own brief topographical description of the county as it stood in 1830 before recording the names of the Hundreds in the county and the parishes contained within each. The second part of the publication, that of the general directory of the county of Warwickshire is recorded under the name of the Hundreds. A large part of the History, Topography and Directory of Warwickshire is given over the major city in the county, Birmingham and this section encompasses nearly three-hundred pages. Starting with a lovely etching of the city taken from some elevated ground outside of the city's bounds, the city is introduced by a description of is character, name, site and the elements that constituted the city. The 'elements' include descriptions of the city's prominent buildings - civil, religious and private, its incorporation and a description of the Battle of Birmingham at the start of the Civil War. The description of the buildings providing a valuable addition to this directory. The section on Birmingham is completed by the alphabetical directory for Birmingham, which extends to more than one-hundred and eighty pages. The remainder of West's 1830 publication is taken-up by the topography and directory for the remainder of the county of Warwickshire. Subdivided into its twenty Hundreds. The first of these, the Alcester Hundred or Division includes descriptions of eleven parishes, three hamlets and one township, an alphabetical directory for Alcester and its surrounding neighbourhoods as well as topographical descriptions of many of the gentlemen's seats other buildings and geography of note. This detail is matched in the entries for the remaining nineteen Hundreds and divisions in the county. A truly superb and highly recommended; William West's History, Topography & Directory for Warwickshire is one of the best that was published.
There are no comments yet