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The Manuscript which has supplied the materials for the following pages is a quarto volume of two hundred and fifty-eight folios; the first sixty devoted to notes upon the Castle at Norwich, the remainder to an account of the Religious Orders and Houses, and the Hospitals of the City. It is altogether in the hand-writing of its author, Mr. John Kirkpatrick, by whom it was bequeathed, with many others, to the Norwich Corporation. No portion, however, of that bequest, which was neither unimportant in quantity or in quality, remains at present in the hands of the legatees. Indeed, none is even known to be in existence, except the volume before us ;* and this is now the property of the representatives of the late Mr. William Herring of Hethersett, whose father purchased it many years ago of a bookseller. He himself lent it to the editor, with the declared wish that it should be published—a wish which the well-known liberality of Mr. Hudson Gurney, and his laudable desire to perpetuate the knowledge of the antiquities of his native city, has at length caused to be carried into effect. To accomplish such an object in the most satisfactory manner, it was considered desirable that the work should be printed precisely as left by the author; and this has accordingly been done, without even an attempt to add to the matter, or to correct any inaccuracies in spelling or language, or to subjoin a note by way of explanation or emendation.
* Perhaps from this sweeping assertion should also be excepted a certain quantity of the " small pieces of paper containing notes of the tenure of each house in Norwich," (see p. xi); but on this subject the editor is not fully informed; and he has reason to fear that, if such do exist, they are so scattered and injured by waste or neglect, as to be no longer applicable to any useful purpose.
Mr. Kirkpatrick was one of the most able, laborious, learned, and useful antiquaries whom the county has produced. He was especially an indefatigable searcher into local antiquities; and, had his life been spared to the term allotted by the holy Psalmist to man, it were impossible to say how much of what is now irretrievably lost to us might have been rescued from oblivion. He had accumulated copious materials; but his early death prevented him from digesting and publishing them. Better far had he contented himself with amassing less, and turning what he had got to account: a lesson hard to learn, but most important to be borne in mind and acted upon. As it was, he was obliged to leave the fulfilment of his task to others; taking all possible care for the safety of his collections, and not doubting but that those who came after him, seeing what was prepared for their hands, would cheerfully undertake the office—perhaps with a praiseworthy zeal for communicating information; perhaps with the not less natural desire of building their own fame upon the labours of their predecessors. But in his expectations he was sadly mistaken, and has but furnished an additional proof how difficult it is for any one to enter completely into the objects and ideas of another, and consequently how imperative it is upon us all, ourselves to finish the web we have begun, if we wish to see it come perfect and uniform from the loom.
It was Mr. Kirkpatrick's good fortune to be the contemporary of Blomefield, the historian of Norfolk; of Peter le Neve, Norroy King at Arms; and of "honest Tom Martin," the author of the History of Thetford. With all of these he lived in habits of friendship. The first of them, in his second volume, p. 756, bears the following testimony to his merits: — "Mr. Kirkpatrick was a most laborious antiquary, and made great collections for the city of Norwich, of which he published a large Prospect. He likewise gave a gilt silver cup for the mayor's use. In pursuing his studies, he worked with Peter le Neve, Norroy; and as they were very intimate, they mutually exchanged their collections for this place; Mr. Kirkpatrick giving all his draughts to Mr. Le Neve, and Mr. Le Neve giving his to Mr. Kirkpatrick. To the labours of both these gentlemen I am exceedingly obliged; and did I not acknowledge my obligations in this public manner, I should inwardly condemn myself as guilty of the highest ingratitude." Mr. Blomefield in the preceding page had recorded the death of his friend, and his being buried in St. Helen's church,' Norwich. The tomb, a black marble monument,