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A Survey Of The Cathedrals Of York, Durham, Carlisle, Chester, Man, Litchfield, Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol, Lincoln, Ely, Oxford, Peterborough, Canterbury, Rochester, London, Winchester, Chichester, Norwich, Salisbury, Wells, Exeter, St. Davids, Landaff, Bangor, and St. Asaph. Containing an History of their Foundations, Builders, Antient Monuments, and Inscriptions; Endowments, Alienations, Sales of Lands, Patronages. Dates of Consecration, Admission, Preferment, Deaths, Burials, and Epitaphs of the Bishops, Deans, Precentors, Chancellors, Treasureres, Subdeans, Archdeacons, and Prebendaries, in every Stall belonging to them. With an exact Account Of all the Churches and Chapels in each Diocese; distinguished under their proper Archdeaconries and Deanries; to what Saints dedicated, who Patrons of them, and to what Religious Houses appropriated. The whole extracted from numerous Collections out of the Registers of every particular See, Old Wills, Records in the Tower, and Rolls Chapel: And illustrated with Thirty-two Curious Draughts of the Ichnographies, Uprights, and other Prospects of these Cathedrals; newly taken to rectify the erroneous Representations of them in the Monasticon, and other Authors. In Three Volumes. Vol. I. By Browne Willis, Esq;

Browne Willis

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed for T. Osborne in Gray's-Inn, and T. Bacon, in Dublin.: MDCCXLII.

Physical Description

3 vols. in 2; 242 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Volumes I and II are bound together, have continuous pagination, have a half-title which refers to the contents of both, and have indices covering both.. Vol. I: viii, viii, 370 p., [9] pl. (fold.). - Vol. II: [2], [371-]894 p., [11] pl. (fold.). - Vol. III: [4], [i]-[iv], 592 p., [12] pl. (fold.).


Vol. I: [Half-title]; Books printed for R. Gosling, at the Middle-Temple-Gate in Fleetstreet; [t.-p.; dedic.] - The Preface - [Text, with pl.] - Vol. II: [T.p.] - [Text, with pl.] - Addenda & Corrigenda - A General Index Of the most Material Contents In each See ... Of Epitaphs Contained in this Volume ... Of The Sirnames Of The Archbishops [&c.] that occur in this Volume; Books Printed for R. Gosling. - Vol. III: [T.-p., dedic.] - The Preface [incl. note on dedications] - [Text, with pl.] - Addenda & Corrigenda - A General Index Of the most Material Contents In each See ... Of The Epitaphs Contained in this Volume ... Of The Surnames Of The Archbishops [&c.] that occur in this Volume.

Responsibility Note

In Volume I all plates are signed as engraved by either I. Harris (views) or M. Burghers (plans); no plate carries a draughtsman's signature. In Volume II all plates are signed as engraved by I. Harris; one plate is signed as drawn by 'Ios. Dougharty Wig:', and four as drawn by W. Merricke. In Volume III eight plates are signed as engraved by John Harris, one as engraved by J. Cole, and three carry no engraver's signature; four are signed as drawn by I. Harris, the rest are unsigned by a draughtsman.

The work is dedicated by the author to Alexander Denton, in Volume I; in Volume III there is an additional dedication from the author to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.


RIBA, Early printed books, 4 (2002), 3668, 3669 [on the 1727-1730 edition].
ESTC, T93605, T171012, T171011
On B. Willis see J.G. Jenkins, The dragon of Whaddon (1953).

Summary Note

These are reissues of Willis's surveys originally published by R. Gosling in two volumes in 1727 (A Survey Of The Cathedrals Of York [&c.]) and 1730 (A Survey Of The Cathedrals Of Lincoln [&c.]). The present reissue by T. Osborne and T. Bacon (some copies have a title-page naming Osborne alone) retains Gosling's advertisements. Despite the new title-page the cathedrals described are those of York, Durham, Carlisle, Chester and Man, and Lichfield, Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester and Bristol, in Volumes I and II (as in the 1727 volume), and those of Lincoln, Ely, Oxford and Peterborough, in Volume III (as in the 1730 volume): Willis's descriptions of St David's (1717), Llandaff (1719), St. Asaph (1720) and Bangor (1721) are not reprinted here. Volumes I and II are preceded by a common half-title, which reads, 'A Survey Of The Cathedrals Of York, Durham, Carlisle, Chester, Man, Lichfield, Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, and Bristol'.

The plates accompanying the descriptive text for each cathedral consist of a view and a plan - except that in Volume I there is no plan for Man, in Volume II there are two views of Hereford, and in Volume III there are two views of Lincoln and Peterborough, and three of Ely.

British civilisation between the departure of the Roman legions and the Reformation had frequently been regarded in the seventeenth century as unsympathetic to the arts, although its role in the formation of the constitution and common law was recognised. Willis, while viewing ancient churches primarily as bearers of Christian and national identity, also admired them as buildings, deplored their neglect, and in his surveys is careful to include descriptions of their physical condition and character.


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

20th-century calf; gilt-decorated spines lettered 'Willis's Cathedrals Vol. I (III)'. Bound with B. Willis's Parochiale Anglicanum.

Name as Subject


Architecture, British - Churches - Cathedrals - Inscriptions, Latin - Inscriptions, English - Great Britain - History
Plans - Views - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


John Harris the elder, engraver, draughtsman
Michael Burghers, engraver
James Cole, engraver
Joseph Dougharty, draughtsman
Walter Merricke, draughtsman
Robert Gosling
Thomas Osborne, publisher
T. Bacon, publisher
Alexander Denton, dedicatee
University of Oxford, dedicatee
University of Cambridge, dedicatee