Joseph Hunter (1783-1861) takes his place worthily and of right among the major county historians of his age. In depth of learning and in range of interest he was the equal of any of them, and his own contributions to English history were valuable and extensive. For many years he was a Presbyterian Minister in Bath, and it was his contributions written while there, above all his Hallamshire and South Yorkshire, that brought him his position as Sub-Commissioner of the Public Records and then as Assistant Keeper in the Public Records Office, where he remained until his death. Although not a graduate, he had a good classical education and was trained at York for the Christian ministry. Basically self-taught, he copied inscriptions of every kind with passionate enthusiasm, had a knowledge of heraldry equal to that of the heralds and, most important of all, recognised that every statement he made must be based on documentary evidence. He had access to many charters that have since disappeared, and his careful abstracts of them, the basis of the genealogical tables which form so valuable a part of these volumes, have been of permanent worth. Hunter's first important volume was Hallamshire, devoted exclusively to Sheffield and its immediate neighbourhood. The success of this work encouraged him to undertake South Yorkshire: The History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster, the two volumes of which were published in 1828 and 1831. These have ling been exceedingly scarce and constitute Hunter's most important contribution to county topography and family history. Proceeding methodically and scientifically on the basis of the feudal honors, covering every place within the considerable boundaries of the ancient deanery, from Hatfield and Doncaster to Sheffield and Barnsley and almost to Wakefield, not only is an immense amount of information collected, but also is illuminated by acute and interesting observations frequently connecting antiquities with what in 1828 were recent events. A great many inscriptions and epitaphs which have since disappeared are preserved in these volumes, along with lists of incumbents in almost every church, and careful note taken of presentations and of rights to title. The undertaking was suitably dedicated to the Earl Fitzwilliam, whose ancestors, Rockinghams, Wentworths and Gascoignes, receive illustrative notice. The last words are a confession of faith: "I quit the work with the feeling of one who has endeavoured well. Some inaccuracies will be found. This is unavoidable in a work which contains so many statements derived from such a variety of sources of information. But it will not be often found that I have drawn inferences that were unwarrantable from the evidence before me, that I have not endeavoured carefully to distinguish the probabe from the proved; or that I have failed to put the public in possession of all the information which appears to me essential". It was these qualities which secured for Hunter his place as the equal of the great antiquaries who have preceded him and whose works he exploited so diligently and effectively. It is appropriate that this reprint coincides with the re-appearance of South Yorkshire as an administrative area for local government, very different from its predecessor, with which it is, however, indissolubly linked. This 1974 hardback book is in a fair condition. There is an extensive amount of creasing, dogging and tears to the sleeve. The hardback cover is in good condition apart from some dogging around the top and bottom of the spine. Apart from the occasionally very small spot mark the 498 pages themselves are clean and in good condition. There are several marks to the top and side of the page block but the majority of these are only visible when the book is closed. These issues are reflected in the price with a secondhand copy of the book available on AbeBooks at over £80.