Editorial Practices & Symbols

These collections adhere to the same editorial practices and conventions used to produce the printed REED volumes. For symbols used to represent features of the documents, see the Editorial Symbols page. For abbreviations of the names of archives, reference works, etc. used in these collections, see the Editorial Abbreviations page.

Transcription conventions
The transcriptions of documents appear with a minimum of editorial interpretation. The layout of the documents generally follows that of the manuscripts in the placement of headings, marginalia, and columns, except for lineation in prose texts. The spelling of the original has been preserved, along with the capitalization. The letters ‘ff’ have been retained for ‘F’; the standard and elongated forms of ‘I’ are uniformly transcribed as ‘I’ except where clearly distinguished as a ‘J’ in later and printed documents. Ornamental capitals and display letters have been transcribed as ordinary letters but are noted. Arabic ‘1’ has been substituted for ‘i’ in numbers other than sums. Abbreviated words have been expanded with italics to indicate letters supplied by the editor. Where manuscripts yield insufficient evidence to judge individual scribal habits, abbreviations are expanded to classical forms in Latin and modern British forms in English. First names have been expanded wherever possible. Italics and other special typefaces in printed sources are not observed; they are silently printed as roman in transcriptions within the Records.

Abbreviations that are easily understood today (‘li.,’ ‘s.,’ ‘d.,’ ‘ob.’ (for half-pence), ‘qwa.’ (for farthing), ‘viz.,’ and ‘etc’ or ‘&c’), and abbreviations cumbersome to expand, including those
typical for weights and measures (‘lb.’ for ‘pound’ and ‘di.’ for ‘half’) are retained. By convention
we print a stop (.) after the standard abbreviations for currency: ‘li.,’ ‘s.,’ ‘d.,’ ‘ob.,’ qua..’ ‘Mr’ and ‘Dr’ are expanded only when used as nouns or when occurring before another title (eg, Master Mayor); they are left unexpanded when introducing a proper name. ‘Xp-‘ and ‘xp-‘ are expanded as ‘Christ-‘ and ‘christ-.’

Superscript letters are lowered to the line except when used with numerals. Letters or words obliterated, damaged, or lost are indicated by dots within diamond brackets, with the number of dots representing the number of lost letters (ie, one dot for one letter, two dots for two, and three dots for three or more lost or illegible letters). . Virgules are indicated as / and //. Most manuscript braces and all line fillers have been overlooked. Capitulum marks and other marginal marks in financial accounts and inventories have for the most part not been transcribed. In general dashes between numbers in columns of sums are not preserved. No hyphenation is introduced into the records text that is not in the original sources.

Where an unfoliated manuscript has a small number of leaves or membranes, these have been counted by hand and the supplied numbers placed in square brackets.

Principles of Selection
These REED pre-publication collections attempt to include all records of dramatic, musical, and ceremonial activity before 1642 in the locations and institutions covered: records of professional travelling players and minstrels; records of amateur town and parish plays, liturgical plays, household plays, and school plays; records of musical performance by professional travelling musicians and by civic musicians, including waits and people responsible for horn blowing, drumming, and rough music; records of civic ceremony incorporating musical or mimetic activity, including marching watches with pageants, triumphs and festive celebrations, royal visits, bullbaiting, and bearbaiting; and ceremonial customs incorporating mimetic or minstrel activity, such as the boy bishop celebrations, Hocktide rituals, and summer games.

In compiling their collections of records, editors are encouraged to err on the side of inclusion: it is always easier to omit something than to return to the archives to transcribe material ignored previously. Thus, these collections may include records that will not appear in the final editions, once they have been scrutinized by the editorial team at the REED office.

Exact dates of performance are rarely given in the documents. Civic, ecclesiastical, and judicial records tend to be dated by the commencement of the proceedings, rather than by the actual event. Dating of personal accounts is also at times general rather than specific. Inventories are dated by when the inventory was taken, if the information is given, otherwise by probate date.

Regnal years, saints’ days, and dates of moveable feasts have all been converted to modern usage. Documents from before 1642 tended to use the old style year (beginning 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation). Therefore records dated 1 January-24 March 1583 would be dated 1 January-24 March 1584 according to modern usage. To avoid confusion dates which fall between 1 January and 24 March show both the original and modern date by means of a slash.

(Note: The above explanation of editorial practices has been compiled from the introductions to several of the printed REED volumes, and represents the work not only of the editors of several collections but also of the Executive Editor, Sally-Beth MacLean, and others at the editorial office. As the explanation of REED’s practices has developed over the decades of the project’s existence, it would be difficult to ascertain exactly who originally crafted particular sentences or phrases. So let me give credit and thanks for their work to all my colleagues in the project–PG.)