Lynsted with Kingsdown Society

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1943 Obituary for William Howard Aymer Vallance

(Archaeologia Cantiana: Volume 56 for 1943 – Printed 1944)

IN our old friend’s death on July 16th, 1943, at the age of 51, the Society has suffered a great loss. From Vallance’s youth at Aymers, Lynsted—his Father’s home—he was devoted to Early Art and this predilection started him collecting old oak furniture at the age of 19. Educated at Harrow he went on to Oriel College, Oxford, where he took his MA. degree. Some three years later he settled in London and seriously engaged in the study more especially of ecclesiastical art. For some years he was a lecturer on Gothic Architecture to the Architectural Association, at the same time working for The Art Journal and The Studio, excellent draughtsman and designer as he was. He did much in these latter lines for Church embroidery: with all this he was a skilled photographer with a strong leaning towards work of the Middle Ages.
He had travelled widely on the Continent, always making notes, sketching and photographing. Thus he amassed a large collection of negatives and slides. This valuable material was given ten years ago to the Courtauld Institute of Art, and numbered many hundreds. Valiance’s interest extended to ancient bridges and timbered houses. His know ledge of the construction of the latter went into the smallest detail. This was seen in 1920 when he purchased a derelict hall-house at Otham. Stoneacre, dated 1480, well repaid his enthusiastic care. In its reconstructed state it evoked great interest among the members of the Society who visited it and were entertained there by Mr. and Mrs. Valiance in 1927. It was handed over to the National Trust in 1929.
Vallance wrote three standard books—-Old Crosses and Lychgates, 1920; Old Colleges of Oxford, and English Church Screens. The last, published in 1939, was reviewed in Archaeologia Cantiana. He had finished a fourth volume on Cathedral Screens. This, held up from publication through the War, is in the hands of Mr. E. T. Long, F.S.A.. his literary executor. He had been a member of this Society since 1883, and had acted as Hon. Editor for Volumes XXXIII to XLI (1918-29); 24 papers and important notes from his pen have been published in our pages. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1895 and was a particularly active and useful member of the Royal Archaeological Institute. At the latter’s summer meetings he frequently lectured and spoke.
These notes owe much to material kindly supplied by Mrs. Vallance to the writer.