In the course of writing this account I have drawn on the example and experience of many scholars, specialists on topics where I can claim little expertise; some are mentioned in the references and notes at the end of each chapter, while others must remain anonymous from limitations of space. I acknowledge their guidance with gratitude.
Thanks are due to the Librarians and staffs of several major libraries for valuable assistance in using their collections, in particular to the Keeper of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford; Keeper of Manuscripts, British Library; Keeper of Manuscripts, Guildhall Library; Keeper of Archives, Cambridge University Library. Archivists and their staffs in the Public Record Office at Chancery Lane and Kew, and in County Record Offices, have invariably been helpful, especially Mrs Margaret Rowe, Devon RO; Mr H Jaques, Dorset; Mr D Shorrocks, Somerset; Mr C R Davey, East Sussex; Miss R C Dunhill, Hampshire; Mr M Farrar, Cambridge; Mr W N Yates, Kent. Mrs A M Erskine, Archivist of the Dean & Chapter, Exeter Cathedral and the Librarian, West Country Studies Library, Exeter, have been similarly helpful.
Many people, too numerous to name here, have willingly given of their time, knowledge and advice in response to my requests for specific information, among whom I wish to mention specially Rev. Christopher Tull, Rector of Bishops Nympton and Mr E W Bentley, Crosspark Hill, Oakford for valuable discussions and hospitality; Prof. Kenneth Cameron, Hon. Director, English Place-Name Society; Mr James Yorke, Dept. of Furniture and Woodwork, Victoria and Albert Museum, Lady Susi Jeans, Dr Alec Hyatt King, Dr I Payne, Dr J Cannell. Mr F V Loosemore, my long-term collaborator, has contributed much valuable information in the course of an extended correspondence and many visits.
Lastly, but by no means least, my wife has provided much needed balm and encouragement, as well as removing the worst of my many grammatical and syntactical shortcomings.
Naturally, any errors and omissions remaining in spite of the efforts of those named above are entirely my responsibility."