VIII. Publication History

Both works were issued as part works in monthly Numbers simultaneously. The first part issue of Moore’s History contained the title page, two engravings and twenty-four pages of text which, apart from the extra title page(s) required for binding in two or three volumes, was the format announced to prospective subscribers. The cover of issue Number 1 makes it clear that Thomas Moore was to be responsible for the History and Topographical aspects, the physical geography, geology and natural history would be covered by E W Brayley, Jun. ALS. The title page included in this first Number only refers to Thomas Moore, reinforcing his importance in the project.

As we have seen, the whole work was dedicated, by permission, to the Right Honourable Earl Fortescue who was Lord Lieutenant of the County. Hugh Fortescue, 2nd Earl Fortescue KG, PC (13 February 1783 – 14 September 1861), styled Viscount Ebrington from 1789 to 1841, was a Whig politician who would also serve as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1839 to 1841. As Viscount Ebrington he first became an MP for the town of Barnstaple just after his 21st birthday; and he sat for various constituencies almost continuously until 1839, when he was summoned to the House of Lords. He is credited with playing a prominent role in the electoral reform of 1832 and establishing Whig party organisation under the new electoral system.[1] His arms embellish the cover of Moore’s work. A severe fire destroyed much of the ancestral home in 1934 and much correspondence was lost which might have established whether it was an approach by Jennings or an acquaintanceship with Moore that led to this dedication.

Moore’s publisher, Robert Jennings, became Jennings & Chapman from the summer of 1830 and Somers Cocks possibly had access to the known (incomplete) set of parts to assert that it was published in 1833 despite the title page date of 1829. No complete set is extant in any library catalogue but a nearly complete part set of the first 47 issues is held at the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter. The back covers of early parts have a long Address in which Moore outlines the format the completed book is to take. “The engravings will be executed in the first style of the arts...”. Under the heading MODE OF PUBLICATION it is announced that “This work will be printed in octavo, on paper of the best quality, and will be completed in about fifty numbers”. Maps were also promised and these were presumably to be added to final issues for inclusion when the volumes were bound. As it is, all the plates had been issued by late summer 1833 and this is the last date found on any dated prints and the date of Number 47.

The text of each Number seen seems to have been assembled as one gathering of 16 pages (8 leaves) and one gathering of eight pages (4 leaves), making the 24 pages of letterpress promised in the Address and these were issued with “two highly finished engravings”. Octavo is the form referred to in the Address although other formats were to be available: the Address refers to “A superior edition … in Quarto, with proof impressions of the engravings on India paper ... 2s. each number.” The History was advertised in other publications. For example, Part XXXIX of Moule’s English Counties (which itself was issued as a parts series) contained an advertisement for the various parts of Vol. I of Moore’s work.[2] Tony Campbell’s article actually depicts the back cover of that issue and we learn that “Numbers 1 to 46 have already been published, price 1s. Octavo and 2s. Quarto; or neatly done up in parts, price 3s. Octavo and 6s. Quarto. Or, Vol. I being now completed may be had, price 2l. 11s. Quarto, and 1l. 5s. Octavo.” Campbell uses previous ownership inscriptions to determine that this issue of Moule appeared in August 1833.

The first 47 issues largely corroborate the mode of publication announced in the Address. The pagination of Vol. I. begins with page 1 and the printer’s mark “B”. This marks four leaves, or eight pages. However, one gathering is a “double” gathering, i.e. while page 1 is “B” and page 3 is “B2”, page 17 is “C” and 19 is “C2”. One gathering has 16 sides and the other 8 giving 24 pages for each two gatherings. Each parts issue appears to have contained 2 such gatherings of 24 sides. Hence, the complete text of Volume I was issued with Number 26 published in October 1831. Vol. I. is completed with gathering “3C” and there are both “2A” and “3A” printer’s markings (after each “Z”) but the letters J, V and W are never used. Vol. II. is constructed the same way and finishes with pagination “4Y”, however, on inspection the gatherings from 3A onwards, i.e. from page 545 are all of 4 leaves or eight sides. Does this signify a new printer?

Two engravings and 24 pages of text were issued as planned every month and the 94 engravings (without two maps and various title pages) were indeed finished in just 47 months (July 1833). Part 47 includes pages 529-552 of what was to become Volume II. The total letterpress, however, when published in book format amounts to nearly 1500 pages (574 Vol. 1 and 908 in Vol. 2 not including title page or index). This would indicate that the complete work would require just over 60 months from first issue. Hence the final publication, despite title pages being dated 1829 would have been September or even December 1834 at the earliest, see Table 1 below.



August 1833


4C – 4E

April 1834


3E – 3G

September 1833


4F – 4H

May 1834


3H – 3K

October 1833


4I – 4L

June 1834


3L - 3N

November 1833


4M – 4O

July 1834


3O – 3Q

December 1833


4P – 4R

August 1834


3R – 3T

January 1834


4S – 4U

September 1834


3U – 3Y

February 1834


4X – 4Z

October 1834


3Z – 4B

March 1834




Table 1. Assuming the monthly series continued with 3 gatherings per Number publication would be complete in October 1834. However, text on gathering 4X-4Z is dated 1836. 

We know that the text was still being written during the serial publication as is shown by various entries. On page 272, in Brayley’s summary of the Natural History of the county he refers to the engraving of “the Dewerstone rocks (published with No. 8). This plate was issued in April 1830 and is dated such indicating Brayley’s reference to the plate was included later. Page 529 has a table of output from the Wheal Betsy Mine from 1821 to 1830 and we are told in the text that: At the present time (1831) the state of mining in the county is at a low ebb. This text must have been written between initial publication (1829) and issue of the final plate (Number 47 in July 1833). More intriguingly still, the final page of the biographies refers to the suicide of the Rev. William Davy, A.B. who took his life at the age of 94 on June 12th, 1836. Someone was adding text just before the book appeared. This final entry is in the same gathering as the imprint of the printer W C Featherstone of Exeter. Additionally, the two maps are dated 1835 (Exeter) and 1836 (county) and this would tie in neatly with this final entry. The maps and the index may have been added using local contributors (printer and map designer) delaying final publication as a book or an attempt was made to get the complete book published even if it was almost three years overdue. See Appendix IV for a reconstruction of the publication history.

We know that Moore was still writing and/or correcting his Biography section as late as 1832 as he refers to both the correspondence between the Rev. Samuel Merrivale and Dr Priestley published in a recent work (footnote p.610) and to Memoirs of Great Commanders written by G P R James and published in that year (footnote p.629). He was also possibly in contact with Octavian Blewitt whose Panorama of Torquay was published in 1830 and 1832, although only the latter edition refers to Blewitt by name (footnote p. 695)[1] and he refers to Blewitt again in the biography to Rev. Bidlake. 

Certainly, Moore had contact with local persons as shown by the intriguing letter recently found from Thomas Moore to the Reverend George Oliver of Exeter dated August 1833 (see Appendix VI).[2] Although trained as a Jesuit priest Oliver unusually did not actually join the Society. He was resident in Exeter from 1807 and remained there till his death in 1861. His literary output was impressive and much centred on the Catholic Church, Devon history and its families and Exeter. He apparently lent Thomas Moore a number of books (those portrayed on the title page?) and Moore wrote to Oliver to return the books and to explain delays and possible termination of the project. He clearly states that the plates were finished (confirming the planned publication timetable) but is not sure that the work (text?) will ever be finished. He must have been in contact with Oliver very early on in the project as he even intimates that Oliver had attempted to put him off agreeing to write it.

It must be borne in mind, the enormous scope of Moore’s planned project. If his title page is an indication of part of his plans then his introductory pages clearly suggest he wished to supplement this with more up to date, more current activities in connection with trade and commerce etc. His desire to cover the worthies of the county, to borrow Prince’s phrase, obviously took up the bulk of the work and his other projects were treated in fewer pages or omitted. The promise of a particular and historical description of the different towns was abandoned. Davidson mentions Moore’s work in mixed tones: This work was published in parts, and it is much to be regretted that it was not carried out to the extent proposed. Of the parochial History the first sheet alone was printed. There are no Title-pages; an Index of reference only to the Biography comprised in the second Volume.[3]

Moore’s work was very possibly not rewarding financially. Maxted has ascertained that many of the covers of the single issues after No. 22, i.e. about August 1830, recycled older covers. There is evidence of the numerals displaying the part issue number being erased and modified by hand with manuscript numbers inserted. This also means that the date on the cover is often erroneous. New covers were printed about May 1832 which included a list of plates already published (number 34 erroneously reads 04 in the address to the list). More covers were printed once the complete series of prints was available.

Fig.18. Cover to Number 29: note handwritten alteration to numeral.

After publication of Part 47 with the last of the plates, Jennings would have had to offer all the text in one go or to issue three text gatherings of eight sides each month for 15 months to complete, including two more title pages in these parts (for binding into 3 volumes) but the maps would still not be ready. It is possibly not a coincidence that the partnership of Jennings and Chapman ceased in December 1833.

However, some time later it was also possible to purchase three parts bound up together (i.e. quarterly) and three examples are known (numbered 8, 9 and X). Number 8 actually completes Volume I and consists of the final 72 pages. Number 9 and X have the first 144 pages of Volume II and each has 72 pages. If this was the standard number of pages then some 12 issues would be required to complete the text of Volume II, hence a completion in XX Numbers and in the third quarter of 1834. The back cover of Part X lists 55 plates and Numbers 1 to 29 have now been published. The Number 29 (of the monthly series) was published in December 1831 and this Part X has an 1832 date on the cover.



B-G 72 pages




2nd quarter 1833


H – N 72 pages




3rd quarter 1833


Page 216

2nd quarter 1832



4th quarter 1833



3rd quarter 1832



1st quarter 1834



4th quarter 1832



2nd quarter 1834



1st quarter 1833


864 / 908

3rd quarter 1834

 Table 2. Assuming the quarterly series continued with 72 pages per Number, publication would be almost complete in October 1834. Only 28 pages would be lacking.

Fig. 20. Fisher No. 33 included the map of Cornwall.

The letter from Moore to Oliver strongly suggests that the ownership of the project had changed hands and that the current owner had lost interest or lost patience with Moore’s large scale plans. Moore had effectively been sacked and Ireland was to write the text of three more issues and terminate the work with Number 50. To do this and include the volume of letterpress that finally appeared some 15 gatherings per issue would be required. No later Numbers have been found and Moore implies that even this late attempt to complete the project was not carried out. Given a date of 1836 in the final text gathering bearing an imprint of an Exeter printer combined with the inclusion of two maps dated 1835 and 1836 under the aegis of local talent (Browne and Colliver), it does seem possible that the project and all letterpress and plates bearing Jennings’ imprint was sold or made available to Featherstone or Colliver in order to honour the pledge to subscribers. Most of the printing plates had been sold to George Virtue in July 1833. Virtue was to become one of the most influential print publishers and specialised in serial publications and the recycling of existing plates, and he reissued these with amended imprints and dates. The author’s copy of Moore has 90 plates and one of these bears Virtue’s imprint. Other copies of the complete work (i.e. bound in two or three volumes) have no list of plates and varying numbers of plates.

Fisher’s work, on the other hand, seems to be straight forward in its mode of publication. Two plates and four pages of text were issued every month and with only 106 pages of letterpress for Devon and a further 44 for Cornwall could neatly be issued in the time available for the plates. While no complete set of the parts series has been found a nearly complete set is extant. This has 33 parts and the make up is almost identical throughout. It was originally published in regular monthly instalments by “H Fisher, Son & Co, 38 Newgate-Street; Jones & Co., Finsbury Square; J Gibson, 8 Lady-Well-Place, Plymouth; and all booksellers. While the last refers to the retailers, John Gibson was Fisher’s representative in the southest. This edition had 36 monthly parts, i.e. was just 3 years in the publication.

The work was already being issued bound as a complete work in 1832 by H Fisher, R Fisher and P Jackson with identical printer’s marks and pagination to the parts issue. According to Somers-Cocks it was reprinted 1835; reprinted again in 1840[1] and 1844 by Fisher, Son & Co, London & Paris, as Fisher's Views In Devonshire & Cornwall; and finally in 1849, again with latter title, by P. Jackson, London & Paris, with only 1 plate to a sheet. From the late 1830s into the 1840s selected plates also appeared in Fisher's Annual Drawing‑Room Scrap Books.[2] The work was also reissued as a part series at least twice. 
Fisher’s publication, given a near complete parts set, is easier to follow and the initial format of two pages (i.e. four) illustrations and one double page of text to form a four page (2 leaf) gathering was adhered to almost throughout. The 36 month publication is evidenced by the 3rd Series which was issued quarterly. Part 9 is the final part and consists of the contents of the final three Numbers 33 to 36. These three Numbers indicate that pages 101-106 (2 gatherings C and D) of Devonshire and pages 41 to 48 of Cornwall (2 gatherings L and M) remained to be issued along with 2 Preface/Index pages and a combined Title Page. In addition 12 plates, i.e. 6 pages, were so far lacking. This reconstruction allows publication to be completed by September 1832, nicely matching title page dating and the dates on the final views. See Appendix V for a reconstruction of the publication history. 


IX: Collaboration or Coincidence

Return to Introduction

[i] See,_2nd_Earl_Fortescue.

[ii] See Tony Campbell; The Original Monthly Numbers of  Moule’s ‘English Counties’; The Map Collector; Issue 31; June 1985; p.31.

[iii] Kit Batten (2011) entry Cockrem 1.

[iv] Research by Ian Maxted, as yet unpublished, September 2020 and communicated to the author.

[v] Davidson (1852) page 10.

[vi] Bristol University Library (COPAC) has a copy with added engraved title page Fisher's illustrations of Devonshire and Cornwall. Fisher, Son & Co., London & Paris, 1840.

[vii] See Somers Cocks entry S. 107 and p. 265.


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