Editorial Method

Transcribing the full run of 64 freeholders books was beyond the scope of the project for which these transcripts were prepared. Therefore, one volume for each decade of the eighteenth century has been transcribed, beginning with the earliest extant book (1711). Thereafter, the list dating from the first year of each decade has been included, or the next surviving volume where gaps appear. The first surviving freeholders book after 1791 is that for 1799, which was also considered an appropriate end date. For a full list of surviving volumes see Appendix.

The transcripts have been prepared with the intention of making the text as accessible as possible without deviating substantially from the original form and content of the documents. Therefore, the names are presented in the exact order in which they appear in the freeholders books. Contracted Christian names have been expanded and normalised where the name intended is unambiguous. Otherwise all names are rendered as they appear in the original documents, with no further attempts to normalise forenames. For indexing purposes, each variant spelling of a name has been given a separate index entry and no attempt has been made to group together different versions of the same name. Users are therefore advised to consult the indexes carefully under all known permutations of a name. Parish names are transcribed as in the original documents. Where these deviate from the standard spellings used in the index, the normalised version has been included within squared brackets. This is for purposes of clarification and to assist with searching. Hundred names have been normalised throughout.

The scribes employed to prepare the books used a number of recurrent abbreviations and contractions, for example “yeom” for yeoman and “gent” for gentleman. These have been universally expanded and spellings of occupations normalised. From 1733 the abbreviations “F.H.”, “C.H.” and “L.H.” are often used to denote freeholders, copyholders and leaseholders. These have also been expanded. Commas have been inserted between names, statuses and the nature of land tenure to improve clarity. Dubious readings are identified with a ? at the beginning of the questionable word. Deletions are entered within {}. The entries in the original manuscripts are ordered by hundred. Hundreds are entered in broadly alphabetical order, with the exception of the Duchy of Lancaster which appears at the beginning or, more usually, the end of the volume. To limit the amount of text contained on an individual webpage and reduce download times each book has been divided into its constituent hundreds.

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