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In 1974 Henry W. Sams remarked that ‘All students of Swift follow tracks opened up by distinguished predecessors over more than a century.’ Fifty years on, his comment is no less valid, except that in what follows from here on I understand ‘tracks’ to have much more than a metaphoric force. Some distinguished predecessors, past and present, are acknowledged in my list of short-titles, notably F. Elrington Ball, Harold Williams, Herbert Davis, David Nichol Smith, Irvin Ehrenpreis and David Woolley. Contemporary students of Swift owe a particular debt to Hermann J. Real and the Ehrenpreis Centre for Swift Studies in Münster. Others have left signposts for their fellow travellers—Andrew Carpenter, W. B. Carnochan, Dirk F. Passmann and Pat Rogers, among others. For sharing with me their knowledge of Holyhead’s maritime history, I am grateful to Dr J. K. Roberts of Bae Trearddur and R. Glynne Pritchard. Y Parchedig Dafydd Wyn Wiliam of Bodedern is closest to the history of Anglesey in Swift’s time: the Lewis Morris sketches of the Holyhead packet boats and of Holyhead town in 1725 are reproduced from his Cofiant Siôn Morris (Llangefni, 2003). Eirwen Taylor and Zina Thompson of Bowral, New South Wales (NSW), translated some Welsh for me, and Helen Wilcox found a copy of what I was looking for in Bangor University library. In Herefordshire, Rosalind and Nigel Shepherd generously hosted myself and my wife at Thomas Swift’s Newhouse Farm in Marston. Richard Overell and Monash University’s Swift Collection underpinned years of my research and Craig Pett, my late colleague Harold Love and Roger Ebbatson each made useful contributions. For his help with the illustrations I thank Tony Sheffield ARPS of Moss Vale NSW, and I am pleased to record the assistance of Anne Venables, County Archivist, Isle of Anglesey; Liz Green, Archivist, Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, Cheshire Record Office; Diane Spaul and staff at the National Art Library, South Kensington; Susan Millard, Rare Printed Collections, and Olga Tsara, Heritage Collection, State Library of Victoria; the librarians at Holyhead Public Library; and Caronwen Samuel, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. The SPCK responded to my request for permission to reproduce the map of Chester cathedral precinct. The Australian Research Council gave generous financial support to this project. I owe much more to my wife Meg.

Clive Probyn

New South Wales