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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 126   2006 page 425 - Book Reviews - continued

   The thoroughness of this study is truly astonishing. Not only have many original sources been examined, regardless of their location, but also the whole is set in the context of the external events of the time. This, and the style, leavened with dextrous touches of allusions to today’s events and humour, for example, ‘too tired and emotional’ of the Editor of The Builder in 1845, make this an excellent example of the genre. On p. 44 Brown is probably a misprint (not the author’s) for Lown.
   Cresy and his life remain, as our author admits, elusive matters. He had a happy marriage, five children and many friends. He had a concern for the new urban working class, evinced in practical actions and also for local and general history. As was then a widespread convention, he tended to idealise the lives of the past poor. He both valued new devices such as engines and mathematical analyses applied to construction but also the use of empirical evidence from precise measurements of ancient structures. As his tombstone inscription summarises, he did not obtain that degree of achievement he hoped for and his relicts considered he deserved. Perhaps his distaste for the then current architectural fashions, his disinclination to compromise and his relatively secure home and financial (except on odd occasions) circumstances are the explanation. Another factor of relevance may be his participation in property speculations (not all of which proved profitable).
   This work constitutes both a remarkable tribute to an illustrious ancestor and an important addition to our knowledge of significant Kentish characters.


The West Kent Probate Index. Wills Administrations for all courts and peculiars in the Diocese of Rochester 1750-1858. By David Wright. 2005. CD in Adobe Acrobat. £12.50 +50p p+p; £15.00 airmail, from the compiler, 71 Island Wall, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1EL. Email:

David Wright has produced a very useful, and easily accessible, resource for local and family historians with an interest in the Diocese of Rochester. Kentish researchers are tolerably well served by probate indexes inasmuch as the wills for the Diocese of Canterbury (east Kent) are more or less fully indexed, although the equally (and sometimes more) valuable administrations are not. Hitherto those with ancestors in the Diocese of Rochester have had to make do with a card index to some, but not all, wills in the Maidstone searchrooms, whilst the administrations have remained completely inaccessible unless one is prepared to brave long and slow searches in the probate act books.
   This master index of wills and administrations to the two probate and

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