Anecdotes of British Topography: Or, an Historical Account of What Has Been Done for Illustrating the Topographical Antiquities of Great Britain and Ireland

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The leading antiquary of his day, Richard Gough (1735-1809) promoted the history of the British Isles, particularly the Anglo-Saxon period, rather than pursuing the classical interests of contemporaries who had made the Grand Tour. Gough travelled extensively over the years, sketching and taking detailed notes on what he observed. He believed that the Society of Antiquaries, of which he was director from 1771 to 1797, should preserve the nation's heritage without catering to fashion or the interests of dilettantes. He published this major work anonymously in 1768, and it found a receptive readership. The book is in effect a gazetteer of published and unpublished materials for the local history and topography of the whole of Great Britain and Ireland, discussing public records, printed books, manuscripts, maps, and other sources relating to the antiquities of each county.