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Although so remarkable for their wealth of early work, these churches have been accorded surprisingly little printed notice. Some of the more important ones are described in the earner archaeological journals, but even where such information is conveniently accessible, much of it has been superseded by later study or rendered obsolete by subsequent "restorations." Meanwhile, a great mass of interest, distributed mainly among the smaller churches, remains unrecorded, and in the majority of cases is yet scarcely appreciated, even in the immediate neighbourhood.
It is with these less-known buildings that the present volume particularly deals. Descriptions of famous churches such as Cirencester, Fairford and Burford have been purposely compressed, in order to leave all possible space for new material; even so, at an early stage this became so voluminous that no absolutely exhaustive account of any one particular church could be entertained. Much had to be omitted, in order to keep the letterpress within tolerable bounds. For this reason no very detailed descriptions have been attempted of Norman doorways, of fonts, of bells, of monuments or of plate, these in most instances having been set forth in the monographs enumerated in the appendix, or mentioned in the footnotes. It falls as a significant sidelight upon Cotswold churches that, having touched even so lightly upon such details, there remains so much of genuine interest to record.
The Introduction, while classifying the main characteristics of the churches, provides also a short glossary, the various paragraphs of which may be read in conjunction with the description of any individual church. As an appendix, an index has been designed to give, at a glance, the most outstanding features, arranged according to place-names.
In the preparation of this volume, help was received from various sources, and this, wherever possible, has been acknowledged in the following pages. A particular expression of gratitude, however, is due to Mr. St. Clair Baddeley, who, besides so often and so readily responding with valuable advice, annotated a number of the proofs. Many profitable hours have been spent in the library of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, at Gloucester, where Mr. Roland Austin obligingly placed his wide knowledge of local literature at the writer's disposal and also revised the list of references. Thanks must be rendered also to my wife, for her ever-available help and for the patient care with which she prepared the drawings.