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In the autumn of 1798 Sir Richard Colt Hoare, a famous Wiltshire antiquarian, came to visit his friend, William Coxe in Monmouthshire. To pass the time they undertook a tour of the antiquities of the county during which William was:

'struck with the picturesque ruins of ancient castles memorable in the annals of history, and I was animated with the view of mansions distinguished by the residence of illustrious persons; objects which the sketches of my friend's pencil rended more impressive.'

He continued his journeys alone in 1799, covering 1500 miles in five months. The result was the two monolithic volumes that form Coxe's Historical Tour of Monmouthshire.

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