Hobnob Press
HobnobPress

Record Societies

Most counties have had for many years a society devoted to editing and publishing important historical records relating to their area. I have been involved in the Wiltshire Record Society since the 1970s, and the Dorset equivalent for more than ten years. As Hobnob Press I have helped to publish the most recent volumes in each series as print-on-demand publications, and I hope to continue to do so.

Dorset Record Society

For information about the society and earlier volumes go to http://www.palmyra.me.uk/DNHAS/drspubs.html.

Ralph Treswell’s Survey of Sir Christopher Hatton’s Lands in Purbeck 1585-6, edited by Mark Forrest (volume 19)

When Elizabeth I’s courtier Sir Christopher Hatton acquired lands in Purbeck he commissioned Ralph Treswell to produce a survey of his estate. Treswell used the most advanced and revolutionary mapping techniques to create a document that still conveys the character of the late Tudor landscape. The detailed plan of Corfe Castle gives an insight into the building’s features and construction only sixty years before its destruction in the Civil War. This facsimile edition reproduces all of his maps, together with maps by Saxton and Hawsted with which they were bound, the accompanying written survey and a transcription in modern English. It is introduced by four essays that provide a national cartographic, archaeological and historic context by exploring the themes of early map making, land use, manuscript conservation and estate management. 2017, ix, 189pp, large format colour casebound, £19.95, ISBN 978-0-900339-22-6

Weymouth and Melcombe Regis Minute Book 1617-1660, edited by Kay Kearsey and Maureen Weinstock (volume 20)

In the seventeenth century the town of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis was emerging from its medieval troubles to become a significant harbour on the south coast. The Minute Book, covering the years 1617-1660, provides the context for its economic and strategic development. It gives detailed surveys of the properties and rents, as well as listing the customs duties and acting as a register for the enrolment of freemen and apprentices. It documents the daily decisions of the assembly and sets out the ordinances by which the town was governed; noting the leaseholders and profits of the market, bridge and customs duties, and appointments of the officers who regulated affairs during the turbulent years of the reign of Charles I, the Civil War and the Commonwealth. 2020, xxvii, 246pp, casebound, £14.00, ISBN 978-0-900339-23-3

The Thomas Rackett Papers, 18th-19th Centuries, edited by H S L Dewar, revised by Ann Smith (volume 21)

From his quiet country parish at Spetisbury in Dorset, the Rev. Thomas Rackett corresponded with a wide-ranging variety of friends and contacts between 1786 and 1840. Fellow members of the Royal Institute wrote about experiments in physics, chemistry, engineering and the emerging science of electricity, Sir Richard Hoare wrote to him about archaeological exploration, and friends from abroad sent news from afar as South Africa, Canada and Russia. Rackett's interests included botany, engineering, heraldry, prehistoric and Roman antiquities, geology, shells and conchology, barrow-digging, Greek and Roman coins, and methods of engraving. He was personally involved in many of these activities and his correspondents wrote to him for advice and to exchange opinions. His wife and daughter contributed to the scientific, literary and historical discussions and come across in these letters as intelligent and well-read members of a society that accepted them as intellectual equals. The Thomas Rackett Papers was first published by Dorset Record Society in 1965 and this new edition includes correspondence with Mary Anning who was a friend of Rackett's daughter. Dorset Record Society, vol.21. September 2021, xvi, 135pp, casebound, £14.95, ISBN 978-0-900339-24-0

Wiltshire Record Society

For information about earlier volumes go to http://www.wiltshirerecordsociety.org.uk/, where there is a complete list, and from which volumes 1-60 are available for download as searchable pdf files.

The Parish Registers of Thomas Crockford 1561-1633, edited by John Chandler (volume 73)

Thomas Crockford (1580-1634) came to Wiltshire in 1603 as schoolmaster at Stockton, and from 1613 until his death was vicar of Fisherton Delamere. For much of this time he assisted his neighbours the rectors of Wylye and Stockton, and began new registers for each of these three adjacent chalkland parishes in the Wylye valley of south Wiltshire. He assiduously collected and copied information from earlier registers and then continued them, for each parish, until shortly before his death. In doing this he was following an instruction of 1598, as many clergy did at the time, but what makes his registers unusual, if not unique, is the manner in which he set about his task. Crockford, unlike most of his parishioners, was proficient in Latin, and into his registers he wrote not only the basic details of baptisms, marriages and burials, but also relationships, occupations, causes of death, fortunes and misfortunes, and thumbnail character sketches of everyone who crossed his path at altar, font or graveyard – and all in Latin. In addition, by enquiring of families and elderly parishioners, he tried to discover details of those whom he had recorded from before his time. This remarkable mirror of rural society in the early 17th century is not a new discovery, but it is now published for the first time in translation and in its entirety. The work of translation has been undertaken by Christopher Newbury and Steven Hobbs, with additions by John Chandler, who has edited the volume and contributed an introduction and detailed indexes. 2020, xxxviii, 258pp, jacketed casebound, £20.00, ISBN 978-0-901333-50-6

The Farming Diaries of Thomas Pinniger 1813-1847, edited by Alan Wadsworth (volume 74)

From 1813 until his death in 1847, Thomas Pinniger kept a detailed daily account of the sheep and corn husbandry he practised first at Little Bedwyn Farm to 1825, and then as the owner of Beckhampton Farm in Avebury parish from 1829. These periods were separated by a stay on Sambourne Farm in Chippenham, when he was more an observer than an active farmer. These ‘Farming Memorandums’, as Pinniger described them, provide a fascinating and detailed record of the challenges that he faced throughout his long career. Farming practices and developments, prices of corn and livestock, and the weather were all recorded in detail. It is clear that they were not just kept for the sake of posterity, but as a body of knowledge and experience on which he could draw. His relations with his labourers and neighbours, not always cordial, add to the wealth of the content of the diaries. The years 1823 to 1838 have been transcribed, but the whole span is covered in the introduction. 2021, clxvii, 416pp, casebound, £20.00, ISBN 978-0-901333-51-3 

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