1794. 18th century bound quarto manuscript of the great buildings of England, 574 numbered pages + 3 blank leaves ( page 137/8 absent but probably no text missing). Contemporary half calf morocco labels, rubbed, board detached. Contents clear and very legible written on thick watermarked paper. The buildings are sub-divided into their respective counties, many pages with only county headings tantalisingly yet to be filled in. The first section - KENT - is 98 pages long, and one is bound to assume the author lived here, perhaps in Rochester. (the entry for Rochester Castle runs to 10 pages). Entries comprise historical records and architectural descriptions. The author leans on earlier antiquarians such as Leland and Camden, sometimes with direct quotes. What makes the work of unusual interest is that many of the sites were clearly visited by the author in the late eighteenth century. One has only to see, for instance the extraordinarily precise measurements for the alleged Dark Age monument, Kit's Coty House (pp 34-35), to observe the author's keenness for detail. Here are a few further examples : 1) Rochester Castle, having been granted to Sir Anthony Welldone in 1610,had its timbers sold by one of his descendants 'to one Grimmet and the stone stairs the ... windows and arches to different masons in London.' But his plan to sell the 'whole of the materials' to a pavier was foiled by the discovery of the extreme hardness of the mortar. An essay 'on the east side near the postern leading to Bully Hill' can still be seen. Thus the castle escaped demolition. 2) At Evesham Abbey, 'the most curious remains' is an elliptical arch 17 ft high. It is divided by three sets of mouldings into 2 ranges of niches with well-carved figures. The outer 2 figures are seated on a kind of throne, perhaps abbots or bishops. But all were decapitated by a 'capricious gentleman,' whose mansion garden was entered via the ruin. 3) At Naworth Castle, in one one of the towers, is Lord Howard's library a small room with a narrow staircase. No books have been added since Eliz I's time. A 3 ft high triptych, six pages long, tells the story of Joseph of Arimathaea ending with a history of the saints and their rights of granting indulgences.This ambitious work was never completed: indeed other volumes were planned and many counties are not even begun. There are substantial entries for Kent, Sussex, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Berkshire, Cumberland, and lesser listings (a few pages long) for many other counties. The fascination with this manuscript is that the author knows many of these sites at first hand. In some cases, the buildings - covering the full range of structures from castles to abbeys to monasteries and even Stonehenge (4 pages) - may be either no longer extant or much reduced since his time, thus making his work potentially an antiquarian's or archaeologist's resource.. Half-Leather. Good.. 4to. Manuscript.