Charles Thomas Cracklow (1763-1826)

Lithographic views of all the churches and chapels of ease in the county of Surrey

Cracklow board plateCharles Thomas Cracklow (1763-1826) was a London surveyor who is best known for his publication of Lithographic Views of all the Churches and Chapels of Ease in the County of Surrey. The book contains descriptions of each church, with detailed engravings and floor plans that provide a valuable record of the county's churches before the late nineteenth century church restoration boom.

"The Author, having perused with attention and much satisfaction the History of Surrey by Manning and Bray, was anxious to transmit to posterity a correct relation of the present condition of the Churches in that County."

So opens the preface to Cracklow's book which was published in 26 parts from July 1823 to 1827. The subscribers to this work received bound issues on completion of the series, and two lovely examples of this book are held in our reference library at Surrey History Centre.

A page from the book showing Mickleham ChurchInformation about Cracklow's life and career is difficult to find, but some clues can be found in our archive collections.

As a professional surveyor, Cracklow carried out work in Surrey including drawing up plans for alterations to the turnpike road from Guildford to Farnham in 1787 and 1795 (SHC ref G25/5/1-2). We also have a 1793 coloured plan of the estate of William Beaumaurice Rush in Wimbledon, part of the Earl Spencer's Park, made from a survey by C T Cracklow (SHC ref 2354/51/17/44). In the early 1820s, Cracklow was employed by the Proprietors of the Wey Navigation as an agent, as revealed by correspondence and accounts in the records of the Navigation (SHC ref G129/-).

In October 1822, Cracklow seems to have had a change of career as he registered as an owner of a printing press according to the Surrey Quarter Sessions records (SHC ref QS6/14/135). He published some prints of Surrey houses, and a slim volume of these, A series of views in the county of Surrey [c.1820], is held in our local studies collection. From the paper cover, bound in this volume as a title page, it appears that Cracklow had meant this publication to be part of a similar series for collating into a finished volume as was intended with the Lithographic Views of all the Churches and Chapels of Ease in the County of Surrey.

Charles Thomas Cracklow was buried on 26 August 1826 at Swanscombe in Kent.

Descriptions of the bound volumes of Lithographic Views of all the Churches and Chapels of Ease in the County of Surrey held at Surrey History Centre

Charles Thomas CracklowOne volume is fully bound in goatskin and came from the library of the late Kenneth Gravett (the author of the introduction and editor of Views of all the Churches and Chapelries in the County of Surrey, C T Cracklow, Phillimore, 1979). It has the book plate of Gertrude Agatha wife of James Stewart Hodgson of Lythe Hill, Haslemere for whom this volume was bound. The original paper covers are bound in the back with the cover for issue 3 used as the title page for the whole volume.

The second volume is half bound in calfskin and contains a printed title page dated 1827 that shows it was printed and sold by J Taylor after the death of Charles Thomas Cracklow.

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