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TO THE GENTLEMEN, AND CUSTOMARY TENANTS, OF FURNESS.
HE Author hopes this account of the Abbey, and ancient State of Furness, will meet with your ap probation and encouragement, as it shows from what a generous stem you are descended, and places before you such laudable examples in every imitable virtue, civil and religious. It certainly will meet with approbation from the descendants of ancestors, whose memories are thereby redeemed from the bosom of prevailing oblivion, and recommended to their protection. Those very men, to whom you owe the blessings you now enjoy, invite you to do honour to their names ;--these Ancestors, who, after many strugles against the oppression of feudal slavery, laid the foundation of your present happiness upon the solid basis of British Liberty (the right of Personal Security, the right of Personal Liberty, the right of Personal Property) call on you to remember their virtues. Other considerations there are to render this Work acceptable;-its usefulness, especially, in the connected view it gives of your ancient customs, rights, privileges, and bye laws, upon which your tenures depend. By your immutable customs, the line of right is drawn between the supreme lord and his free-homager and customary tenant. No, oppression can be introduced by the one; nor default, under so light obligation, be made by the other.
It will also give pleasure to the feeling heart, in tracing out his ancestors' names, to find what share they had in these variations productive of so many agreeable consequences to posterity, till, warmed with filial emulation, he resolves to live a steady imitator of so many noble examples in civil and religious life.
The following account is also intended to give pleasure to the curious, and satisfaction to those who visit the pompous ruins of Furness Abbey, by a particular
and succinct account of each part of the building. The foundations are accurately marked out in the Plan, and each part is called by its proper name, with letters of reference. Those who have not seen the Ruins, may from this Account, with the View and annexed Plan, form a just idea of the whole. The dimensions are taken from actual mensuration, and the different stages of the ruins are distinctly noted on the Plan. The parts yet standing are distinguished by black lines; and dotted lines mark ruins. The groinings of the arches, in the nave of the church and east side of the cloisters, are taken from bases of pillars yet standing, and serve to show what the building was in its glory..
As the Plan only comprehends the strait enclosure, the Abbot's quarters and eleemosynary are not delineated. These were situated on the north side of the church, at the distance of about three hundred and twenty feet, in the narrowest part of the Vale, near the principal entrance of the great enclosure.
The family of the Prestons, when proprietors of the Abbey, erected a modern building upon the spot where the Abbot's quarters stood. There is only part of an arched gateway remaining of the ancient building.
In the year 1727, an elegant east perspective view of the ruins was taken by the Society of Antiquaries; and the same year, a south view was taken by the ingenious Samuel Buck: a ground plan therefore was the only thing wanting to give a just and satisfactory account of the whole, and to preserve its memory to future ages. Nothing of this kind has been attempted before this, and those who visit the ruins return with a confused idea of the premises. The walls in many places are rased to the ground; and the foundations, in some places, are not visible to strangers. Much of what is standing, and in ruins, has been called by improper names. All these inconveniences are by the following Account and Plan entirely removed, and for the future prevented.
"Si quid novisti rectius istis,
THE following work was first published in Quarto in 1774. In the present edition, which is the first that has been offered to the public since the death of the author in 1779, several material alterations have been made. The descriptive and historical part is divided into more chapters; a new arrangement, in some places, has been adopted, in order to collect all the particulars relative to the same subject under one head; and to comprize the whole of what was interesting, with several additions, within the size of an 'octavo volume, some parts have been abridged, by omitting a few copies of ancient writings which appeared somewhat superfluous. Considerable attention has
also been used in the printing, to reduce the work to a volume of a moderate size. In place of the omissions a Supplement is added, containing miscellaneous observations relative to various objects which appeared worthy of notice. These additional parti'culars it was thought better to subjoin, with short 'narratives of the excursions in which they were collected, rather than encumber the pages with numerous detached notes. The few additions which it was requisite to introduce into the body of the work, are, for the most part, included between two inverted full points, as marks of addition; but a few passages relative to Furness, contained in the Author's Guide to the Lakes, are inserted without this notice.
The ground plan of Furness Abbey has been carefully
Dalton, November 26, 1804.