RepositoryCheshire Record Office
LevelCollection (Fonds)
ReferenceD 4784
TitleA Sketch of the Materials for a New History of Cheshire...
Description'A Sketch of the Materials for a New History of Cheshire with Short Accounts of the Genius and Manners of its Inhabitants and of some Local Customs Peculiar to that Distinguished County: in a letter to Thomas Falconer Esq of the City of Chester' by Dr Foote Gower 1st edition 1771 As above, 3rd edition, with new preface and account of further materials 'An address to the Public relative to the proposed History of Cheshire' by Foote Gower, 1792 As above, 1800 File of manuscript letters addressed to the Reverend Dr Foote Gower and relating to the publication of his history of Cheshire, 1771-9
Administrative HistoryFoote Gower (c.1726-1780) the antiquary and clergyman, made extensive collections of documents for a proposed history of Cheshire. He outlined this project in 'A Sketch of Materials for a New History of Cheshire' which was published anonymously in 1771 (D 4784/1) in the form of an open letter to Thomas Falconer, antiquary, of Chester. Gower asserted that it 'would be infinitely superior to any history yet existing of any county', excelling Dugdale's Warwickshire 'by as much as that was supposed to excel all others'. The Sketch was reissued in 1772, together with an 'Address to the Public' (D 4784/3,4) resulting from the enthusiasm generated by the Sketch. It contained a more detailed plan of the proposed work and asked for subscribers to donate ten guineas towards the anticipated cost of 4,000 guineas. He started work in 1775, corresponding with other antiquaries such as Thomas Pennant (D 4784/41-44) and Richard Gough (D 4784/7-10) and the engraver James Calveley (D 4784/26-28) who was commissioned to produce illustrations. However, at his death in 1780, he left among his papers (purchased by the British Museum in 1838) only one volume of text, dealing with Cheshire history from prehistoric to Norman times. His main achievement is thought to have been his record of valuable extant manuscript collections in the Sketch. Gower's papers passed to Dr John Wilkinson, and then briefly to William Latham who published a third edition of the Sketch and a revised plan of the History in 1800. But he did no more and the papers were returned to Wilkinson and later auctioned, some going to the British Museum, others to the Bodleian. (D N B; A T Thacker Cheshire's Historians). The collection includes his Sketch and Address and the correspondence relating to the history.
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