Introduction: Editorial Conventions

The transcripts presented here 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 on the oath rolls. To avoid repetition, the text of the oaths, which appears at the top of each document, is included just once (see Appendix 1). The Latin header that precedes each adjourned Quarter Session has been translated into English and only the critical elements provided. These are the location of the session, the date, and the names of the administering Justices of the Peace. This is followed by the names of the individuals who took the oaths. In the interests of accessibility a certain amount of normalisation has been employed. Therefore, Christian names have been standardised according to the most common modern spellings, with the exception of unusual names no longer in common usage. The spelling of all surnames is preserved as it is entered in the original text. Places of residence are standardised according to the spellings given in J.E.B. Gover and Sir Frank Merry Stenton (eds.), Place-names of Devon.142 In the interests of brevity, the scribes tended to treat a sequence of individuals from the same parish by writing the name of the parish beside the first inhabitant and grouping the remaining names within a curled bracket with the designation ‘of the same’ entered alongside. Where this occurs, it has been treated as though the parish name was entered beside each individual entry to assist with indexing and ease of use. Descriptions of status or occupation have also been normalised. Finally, each name is entered twice on the oath roll. The first entry, with the residence and additional information, is made by the clerk of the court. The second is either a signature, or is also by the clerk accompanied with the mark of the oath-taker. Whether or not an individual signed their name or made a mark is indicated in italic text within squared brackets. Where a mark can be represented with letters or symbols within the restrictions of the conventional keyboard, these follow within inverted commas. On occasion, the first (clerks) and second (signature or clerk’s second entry) rendering of a name differ in their spelling. In these cases, alternative spellings of surnames are entered in conventional brackets after the individual’s name. Dubious readings are identified with a ? at the beginning of the questionable word. Editorial comments or additional information is entered in italcis within []. Where text is shown as crossed through on the transcripts, this indicates a crossing out on the original. Where no signature appears, or if it is unclear whether an individual has signed in their own hand, this is noted in an editorial comment. Figure 10 provides an example of how the editorial conventions work in practice.

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  1. J.E.B. Gover, A. Mawer and Sir Frank Merry Stenton, Place-Names of Devon (2 vols, Cambridge, 1931-32). [back]