There is no evidence from the composition of the books that the constables charged with compiling them simply returned the same names from one year to the next, without consulting the relevant tax assessments to ensure that the lists were kept up-to-date. Although some names appear regularly for a period of several decades, many individuals were included in the books for just one or two years. The returns made by the parish constables of Sampford Peverell and Luppitt through the century reveal a high degree of turnover in the composition of the lists. Between 1711 and 1780 a total of 58 men were included in the returns for Sampford Peverell, and 68 for Luppitt.35 39 of those from Sampford appear on lists covering a period of ten years or less. This includes 32 men named for no more than five years, of whom 20 are named just once. The equivalent figures for Luppitt are 44 named for no more than ten years, 29 appearing on the lists for five years or fewer, and 15 mentioned only once. These figures are slightly misleading, since they include individuals whose earliest appearance is in 1711 and those who are last mentioned in 1780, and are likely to have been returned before or after those dates.36 However, even excluding all of these leaves 57.6% of the Sampford freeholders and 48.5% for Luppitt entered in books covering less than a decade. Nonetheless, there was a substantial core of householders in each parish who were returned as potential jurors for a more extended period. In Sampford Peverell thirteen are named between 11 and 20 times, five remain on the lists for between 21 and 40 years, while the name Francis Taylor appears continuously from 1738 until 1780, with just one omission in 1754.37 For Luppitt, 15 are named on between 11 and 20 occasions, six for up to 30 years, and three appear on lists covering 31 years or more.
A further indication of the turnover of names in the freeholders books can be gained from comparing the average number of names returned annually with the total number of inhabitants for a parish mentioned over the course of a decade. Table 2 indicates that many more people were identified as eligible jurors during a given decade than appear in the listings for any one year. This is significant, since it suggests that whilst the yearly freeholders books contain the names of a small proportion of the total adult male population of the county, the percentage of the population who at some stage in their lives may appear in the lists was considerably higher. For example, the 25 inhabitants of Luppitt named between 1731 and 1740 represent one fifth of all householders within the parish.38 Therefore, the lists include the names of both substantial householders who were eligible to serve on juries throughout most of their adult life, and a significant group beneath them who may have only qualified for a short period of years.
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