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County Histories Collection

500 items (dispersed).

The Library holds a fine collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century county histories, which are an important source for studies of local history and topography, antiquities, agriculture and commerce, the aristocracy and gentry, ecclesiastical history, and genealogy.

They include:

  • the first and second editions of Edward Hasted’s History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (1778–99 and 1797–1801)
  • Owen Manning and William Bray’s History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey (1804–14)
  • Sir Richard Colt Hoare’s Ancient History of South and North Wiltshire (1812–19) and History of Modern Wiltshire (1822–44)
  • three editions of John Hutchins’s History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset (1774, 1796–1815 and 1861–70)
  • the first and second editions of Francis Blomefield’s modestly titled An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, in five and eleven volumes respectively (1739–75 and 1805–10)
  • John Cussans’s History of Hertfordshire (1870–81)
  • George Baker’s History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton (1822–41)
  • John Nichols’s History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester (1795–1811)
  • the Rev. Stebbing Shaw’s History and Antiquities of Staffordshire (1798 and 1801)
  • the original 1819 edition of George Ormerod’s History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, and the 1882 edition revised by Thomas Helsby
  • Edward Baines’s History of Lancashire (first edition, 1836, second edition edited by John Harland, 1868–70)
  • Robert Surtees’s History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham (1816–40)

The Library also boasts all the editions of John Stow’s A Survey of London, from 1598 to 1633, the first edition of William Maitland’s History of London: from its Foundation by the Romans, to the Present Time (1739), and a grangerized copy of Thomas Pennant’s Some Account of London (1805).

Many of the volumes are extra-illustrated with the coats of arms hand-painted.

Finding aids

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The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library