Originally published in 1922, this work details the history and society of the Upper Thames. The following passage is an extract from its preface:
'The scope of the book is principally nature and life, speech, story, tradition, and humorous incident. Whatever of this is contained in the chapters was gleaned on the ground, and is, I believe, for the most part original. In traversing the circle of villages in the area I have attempted to avoid historical references, which are often tedious, though it was obviously impossible to eliminate them altogether. The question always is whether a particular locality is in itself sufficiently interesting to merit attention. This I leave for the reader to decide ; his judgment and not mine must determine the issue.
Since my object was to portray as much life as possible - not its sufferings and tragedy - I have made free use of persons, and these not fictitious, but real, who inhabited the villages within the memory of those yet living, believing that such records can never become stale or valueless, and that here, as elsewhere, a little fact is more convincing than a goodly array of fiction.'
The River Thames takes its name from the Middle English Temese, which is derived from the Celtic name for river. Originating at the Thames Head in Gloucestershire, it is the longest river in England, flowing a total length of 236 miles, out through the Thames Estuary and in to the North Sea. On its journey to open water it passes through the country's capital, London, where it is deep enough to be navigable for ships, thus allowing the city to become a major international trade port.