In manuscripts, words are often spelt in various ways, even in the same document. It was not until the appearance of the dictionary by Nathan Bailey in and Samuel Johnson in that there was any attempt at standardisation. Phonetic dialect: Many words were written as they sounded and were therefore heavily influenced by local dialect and the individuals level of education and therefore varied widely. It needs to be remembered that most people could not read and many of these documents were in any case completed by clergy who moved regularly around the country and may not be familiar with the dialect.
A sudden change in spelling of a family name for example is often associated with a change in Rector or churchwarden. Transcription : is very difficult as you are often dealing with faded, out of focus or damaged documents written in Court or Secretary hand where the formation of letters was significantly different from that used today.
Examples of Secretary hand - but there are probably many others available on the web. An added complication is that probate is usually written in Latin. If you get through all that you often end up with a word that you have never heard of which then takes research. In the course of doing many old documents from Dorchester I have built up a glossary which I have placed on line mainly for my own benefit but I hope that it may also help those trying to decipher old documents originating in Dorset.
Some words have also been added to the glossary because they simply did not mean the same thing in 17th century. Abbreviation: Was used extensively in Wills and Inventories often indicated by a line above the omitted letters which I can't reproduce for the web. So in text you will see pfect for 'perfect' or pformed for 'performed'.
Supertext is also used as in w th for 'with' but it can also mean 'which' depending on context. Some scibes also abbreviated Christian names extensively; W m is still used today for 'William' and most are self explanitary like Eliz; Rich; Robt etc.
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Less common were 'Gorg' for George and 'Jams' for James. I have generally tried to spell them out in full in brackets not because I don't think the person will understand most abbreviations but to increase the hit rate when searching documents. There were many recognised abbreviations such as those given in these links:- Pages from an 18th century book showing commonly used Contractions of that period And an abbreviation listing for 17th century records available on the web. Pictures: I have started adding links to pictures to better explain some items given in inventories on this site.
Please bear in mind that most of these have survived because they came from the houses of landed gentry or well off merchants. Every day items in tenements and farm houses would be of a much more basic type, functional rather than elaborately carved. To have left a will with an inventory however meant some standing in the community. In Dorchester many of these were indeed wealthy merchants who ran businesses importing produce and furniture from Germany, Holland etc but mainly France where some Dorchester Merchants owned property in the 17th and 18th centuries.
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October [i. Now known as Milton Abbas. In ecclesiastical law the right to recommend a member of the Anglican clergy for a vacant benefice, or to make such an appointment. The 'advowson' was often purchased from the church by wealthy landowners to ensure that they had control over the appointment of clergy to the church in their Manor. This enables you to roughly calculate year of birth. A written statement made on oath or by affirmation. On burial registers it confirmed that the individual had been buried in a woollen shroud in accordance with the law.
Acts in and encouraged the wool trade by laying down that bodies were not to be buried wrapped in anything but wool, and a relative had to make an affidavit before a justice, or failing him, a clergyman, within eight days of the funeral stating that the law had been complied with.
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In some parishes at the conclusion of the burial service the clergyman asked 'Who makes the affidavit?. The making of a satisfactory reply was indicated in the register by the word Affidavit, or an abbreviation such as Affid.. Old Land Apportionment and Tithe maps often refer to measures of land simply by the letters 'a' meaning acre 'r' rood and 'p' square perch. A square perch was equal to th of an acre.
The person responsible for calling from time to time to ensure that ale and beer were being sold by the correct measures and at a price and quality laid down. This was extremely important as nobody drank water as this was generally unfit for consumption. Ale was made from a mash, which was used three times to give three different strengths. The first and strongest mash was for men, the second for women and the weakest for children.
The term has no disreputable connotation. In a few cases both names joined by 'alias' were retained for several generations and so became the equivalent of our hyphen in a modern double barrelled name. Once hereditary surnames became established, a change of name might be caused by the inheritance of a property from a maternal relative, by a young person being adopted, by becoming known by a stepfather's surname, or by a number of other causes. In legal papers a married woman often had her maiden name added as an alias to show her connection with the matter in hand.
In 'Speeds' map of Dorchester dated it is referred to as 'Alhalens'.
Examples:- John Williams of Herringston in his Will dated 29 May gives 6s 8d to the reparation of the parish church of Alhalones in Dorchester. Member of a Protestant movement characterized by adult baptism. Anabaptists held that infants were not punishable for sin because they had no awareness of good and evil and thus could not yet exercise free will, repent, and accept baptism. Denying the validity of infant baptism, they accepted adult baptism, which was regarded as a second baptism by those outside the group who identified them as Anabaptists.
This is a particular problem in trying to trace ancestors in Dorchester as there is no infant baptism and records of adult baptisms often do not survive. Latin - In the year of Our lord. Often abbreviated in parish records A. The rights and duties attached to the holding of manorial land. The most important were submission to the manor court, grazing rights and the payment of various fines to the lord of the manor.
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A pew, or part of a pew, in church was often an 'appurtenance' of a specific house in the parish. The apron hung down the front of the dress, Made of Linen it would be hand made and hand sown. Where worn by ladies of fashion it would could have an edging of needle or bobbin lace, and even be embroidered in coloured silks. White was common for respectable ladies of the town, but around the house or for working women, coloured cloth was more usual. An apron or a Napron as it should be more correctly called was used for all sorts of work; drying hands and dishes, carrying hot or dirty pans, wiping surfaces and utensils etc.
For the less well off it might be unbleached and made of wool. Picture Link. A Manorial Lord's local manager, appointed from outside the tenantry. He looked after the Lords interests, superintended his demesne land, and liaised with tenants of the manor through their representatve the Reeve. He was responsible to the Lord of the Manor or his steward for the efficient carrying out of his duties. In Dorchester things were handled slightly differently as the King had granted them a Charter empowering the Corporation to administer various forms of local Government.
Two Bailiffs were appointed by the Corporation and they together with the Capital Burgesses were given power to make Bye-laws for the due government of the inhabitants. Link to a list of Bailiffs for Dorchester A person who loads ballast into the empty hold of ships. Still worn by the legal profession.
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He watched his lord's interests, superintended his demesne land and conducted relations with the tenants of the manor through their representative the reeve. More correcty referred to as a 'bearing cloth' : Bearing cloths were used for ceremonial occasions, particularly baptisms, up to the end of the 17th century. The bearing cloth would have been wrapped round the swaddled child during the procession to church but removed for the immersion of the child in the font as part of the ceremony. The cloths were generally very ornate, and therefore expensive to produce.
Such a cloth would traditionally be passed down through the family, being used for sons, daughters and cousins alike, and many remained treasured family possessions. The bearing cloth was effectively replaced by the christening robe when total immersion ceased to be used, therefore allowing the child's clothing to be more decorative in itself. Example: Dorchester Will of Richard Barker Bethlem Royal Hospital or the treatment of mental illness, See Holy Trinity Vestry Minutes for examples of parishioners being referred to the Hospital : e.
She returned to Dorchester to be placed in the workhouse on 14th June Bible: The bible played an important part in the lives of most families in Dorchester in the 17th century. For them to be itemised in an Inventory would have meant they were of both sybolic in as much as it was a demonstration of the Lords word being studied in the home, and also a valuable item in its own right.
Some were highly decorated and generally secured in a bible box. When included in a household inventory would have been used to speed combustion when cooking. Estimated year of birth:- Where year of birth is unknown it has been estimated identified by use of the letter 'c' for circa before the year as being 27 years old for a man and 25 years old for a woman. These are averages applying to the Tudor period for England.
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