Gostlings Canterbury walk 1825
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A Walk in and About the City of Canterbury With Many Observations Not to be Found in Any Other Description Hitherto Published1825 By William Gostling
A chance conversation with one of Kent's archivists lead me to produce this reprint of one of Canterbury's most famous guides. I gather that at some time in the past Kent Arts and Library Service hoped to do a reprint but the funding could not be found. My main concern has been to produce a serviceable and affordable edition that I can keep available. From the beginning it has been my objective to keep the price under £10, something I have just managed to achieve. I have used the design that I first used with Mockett's journal, putting four pages of the original book on to one A4 page of the reprint, whilst enlarging the engravings to A4 size. I have used the folding map from my own copy for the cover, as it was hand coloured long ago, possibly when the book was first produced, and is one of the most charming aspects of the book.
As is often the case with books of this age, some of the pages have been marked with the print from the next page, so parts of the book are not as crisply defined as they would have been had I copied a modern book.
This 1825 edition-that I chose to purchase for the reprint-appears to have been the last ever published and is, I believe, the most revised with the most pictures. I have put the collations of the previous editions on the title page verso so that you can see how I made my choice. Original copies of the book in any edition are fairly expensive, making them beyond the reach of many with an interest in the city's history, and unsuitable to walk with as was intended.
Gostling's charm reaches us across the gap of over 200 years, his knowledge about, and his love of Canterbury evident for us all to appreciate.
I feel I should add a word of warning. The reading of a good antiquarian book is very different from the reading of a modern book. I, and many of my customers, find that after the initial realisation that time is indeed another country, and that the writer is trying to communicate with a foreigner-we have become addicted to this foreign narcotic.
The First Edition Canterbury, 1774.
The Second Edition Canterbury, 1777.
Third Edition, 8vo. Canterbury, 1779.
Fourth Edition, with Additions, 8vo. Canterbury, 1796.
of which this edition is a copy.
Biographical notes based on those in Bibliotheca Cantiana 1836
The Rev. WILLIAM GOSTLING was the son of the Rev. John Gostling, sub-dean of St. Paul's, born in 1695; he was sent to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he took the degrees of B.A. 1715, and M.A. 1719. He obtained the rectory of Brooke, in Kent, 1722 (resigned1733), a Minor Canon of the Cathedral of Canterbury, Vicar of Littlebourne 1733, which in 1753 he exchanged for the vicarage of Stone, in the Isle of Oxney. He had been for a long time employed in collecting materials for this publication, which he modestly called" A Walk through Canterbury," to which Dr. Beauvoir contributed an account of the Painted Windows. Rev. Gostling died at Canterbury, March 9, 1777, in the 82nd year of his age, and was buried in the cloisters of the Cathedral. In the introduction to the fourth edition of the Walk, is the following just delineation of the author :-"This book is indeed a true characteristic of the very excellent disposition of its author, who at all periods of his life, during his residence within the precincts of the Cathedral, found the greatest satisfaction in rendering this city and its environs worthy the attention of travellers; and however incapable some of them might be of deriving pleasure from these venerable antiquities, yet from his cheerfulness and hospitality he insured to himself universal respect and esteem. When no longer able to do the friendly office of attending upon strangers in their walks round the City, being many years before his death confined to his chamber, he gave to the printers this little, though copious tour, undertaken by him from no other motive, but that of information to the curious and inquisitive traveller.'' It is a very curious fact, that the author was not able to leave his room, through age and infirmities, during the whole time that he was employed on the work, nor indeed for full fifteen years preceding and subsequent to that period. His MSS. however were corrected by his friends.-Nichols's Literary anecdotes.