Volume I. Number I. November, 1841.
THE principal design of the present periodical, is to furnish such members of the Cambridge Camden Society as may reside at a distance from the University, with the information which they have a right to expect, but at present cannot easily obtain, unless at long intervals and from uncertain sources, respecting its proceedings, researches, publications, meetings, grants of money, and election of members. The want of such information, which virtually excludes many zealous members of the Society from co-operating as effectively as they are desirous to do, and the manifest impossibility of regularly supplying it by means of written correspondence to nearly five hundred individuals dispersed over all parts of the kingdom, has rendered the publication of such a periodical as the present an advisable, if not a necessary, expedient. THE ECCLESIOLOGIST is therefore, strictly speaking, a periodical report of the Society, primarily addressed to, and intended for the use of, the members of that body. But it is contemplated at the same time to conduct the publication in such a manner that its pages may convey both interesting and useful information to all connected with or in any way engaged in church building, or the study of ecclesiastical architecture and antiquities. It is intended to give with each number, among other matters pertaining to Ecclesiology in general, critical notices of churches recently completed, or in the progress of building: to give publicity to projects of church building or church enlargement, and thereby, it is hoped, to aid the erection or the endowment of the edifices in contemplation: to suggest, where it can be done without unwarrantable interference or presumption, alterations or improvements in the arrangements and decorations of new designs: to describe accurately and impartially the restorations of ancient churches: to point out those which, from their delapidated condition, antiquity, or architectural interest, are peculiarly deserving of repair, and to suggest the means of effecting it: and to supply notices and reviews of any antiquarian researches, books, or essays, connected with the subject of Ecclesiology. At the same time it is intended to afford, by means of this periodical, a convenient medium of communication between architects and ecclesiologists, who may or may not belong to the Society, and the Society itself; and to afford facilities for proposing and obtaining answers to questions on any points of taste or architectural propriety upon which the clergy may wish to consult the Society--a practice which has, since the institution of the Society, been resorted to by them to a very considerable extent, and from which, it is hoped, satisfactory and useful assistance has been in many instances obtained. Papers read before the Society at their general meetings; extracts from their correspondence, if of peculiar interest or importance; notices of presents received or made by them; and accounts of churches visited and deposited in the Society's records, with various other matters of a like nature, will be occasionally inserted as circumstances may permit. It is anticipated, moreover, that THE ECCLESIOLOGIST may be made an important means of strengthening the connexion and increasing the co-operation between the Cambridge Camden, the Oxford Architectural, and other Societies of kindred character and pursuits now beginning to be established in several parts of the kingdom, and already flourishing under happy auspices in two of our principal cities.
With respect to the non-resident members of the Cambridge Camden Society, for whom we have stated that THE ECCLESIOLOGIST is mainly intended, it is presumed that no better means can be devised for supplying the want, which is generally felt and complained of by them, of regular and authentick information about the proceedings, publications, and expenditure of the Society, in which they are themselves so intimately concerned. Every member will naturally feel an interest in hearing of the prosperity, and taking part in the operations, of a band of zealous Churchmen, to which he attached himself, not from curiosity, or fancy, or caprice, or mere personal gratification, but from a hearty wish to join them in the good work of restoring GOD'S temples to their ancient honours, and of rasing from the dust the mighty works of an age long since past away. The good of the Church is the one great end to which all the Society's resources and all its energies have hitherto been and will continue to be devoted. And in carrying this object into effect, they have issued a considerable number of publications, the circulation of which, although in some instances already very large, may in all probability be materially promoted by the periodical issue of a paper such as THE ECCLESIOLOGIST; and the benefit which they were designed to confer may be in consequence proportionably increased.
It is earnestly hoped that the motive of this little publication, liable as it undoubtedly is to misconstruction, will not be mistaken. The Society have not the slightest wish to make it the instrument of proclaiming throughout the land a fame which their neither possess nor are desirous to acquire by any such means. They do not wish to obtrude themselves upon the notice of any. Their object is altogether different. To render it subservient to the good of the Church, to which the Society deems it no small privilege to be the humblest handmaid; to convey practical suggestions upon points of church architecture at present too much forgotten or neglected; to supply, from their already large and constantly increasing stores of drawings, engravings, and surveys of English and foreign churches, examples and precedents upon doubtful points or disputed usages; and to assist by advice the clergy or churchwardens in carrying into effect, with propriety and correct taste, proposed alterations and improvements;--these and similar aidances are their highest ambition and their sole desire. And the Society trusts that this distinct avowal of the motives which have induced them to undertake the publication of THE ECCLESIOLOGIST, while it releases them from the charge of forwardness or presumption, will at the same time serve to apprise the clergy in general where they may at all times find advice in practical difficulties, co-operation in their designs, and sympathy in their labours.