A New Dictionary of British History

A New Dictionary of British History

A New Dictionary of British History

A New Dictionary of British History


The predecessor of the present book was A Dictionary of British History edited by J. A. Brendon, B.A., F.R.Hist.S. It appeared in 1937 and went quickly out of print, but war-time conditions prevented its re-issue so that it failed to 'establish itself as the true and trusted friend of many teachers and students', as the editor had hoped.When the publishers approached the present editor in December 1958 with a view to producing a revised edition, it was decided at once that this revision should become a completely new book.Certain principles were laid down for the guidance of the contributors and a summary of the main points they contained may serve as 'advice to the user', who will thus see at a glance what he may legitimately expect to find.

1. The present book is the co-operative effort of a dozen contributors. They have co-operated in drawing-up the list of entries and seen, at least in the proofs, all entries; they have suggested numerous amendments which have recommended themselves to their fellow-authors and therefore been embodied in the final text. While each one bears the main responsibility for the articles signed by him or her, a number of entries include the work of other contributors. They are therefore reasonably hopeful that no serious mistakes have been allowed to pass uncorrected.

2. All purely biographical entries, which in Brendon's Dictionary took up more than half of the book have been excluded. For these the student should refer to the Dictionary of National Biography, its twentieth-century continuations and concise editions, and the Dictionary of Welsh Biography. The space thus gained has been used for increasing the scope as well as the number of individual headings.

3. The scope of the present book has been extended to comprise:

A. The countries which are, or at some time were, part of England and her overseas possessions, the British Empire, or the Commonwealth of Nations. Their history, however, is carried on only as long as their British connexion lasted: that of Calais, for instance, terminates in 1564, that of the United States of America in 1783, that of Burma in 1947.

B. Political, constitutional, administrative, legal, ecclesiastical and economic events have received varying stress in different periods, but the aim has been to strike a fair balance between their claims to the historian's attention. The histories of literature, music, the arts and architecture, philosophy and science have been excluded, except in a few cases when they have direct bearing on other aspects of history, as for instance CASTLES.

C. The internal history of Scotland and Ireland, although not neglected, has been treated less fully than that of Wales. Rather than accord superficial treatment to all three, the first two have been treated mainly, although not exclusively, from the point of view of their relations with England; the close association of Wales, from Roman times onward, with England made it the obvious subject for fuller treatment.

4. Contributors have generally used as headings such terms as come most readily to mind when looking for information, even if they are not strictly

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