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Conference of Archæological Societies.
HE second congress of archæological societies in union with the Society of Antiquaries was held at Burlington House on July 15, Dr. Evans, President of the Society of Antiquaries, in the chair. The following is a list of the societies in union, together with the address of the secretaries :
Royal Archæological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. (Hellier Gosselin, Esq., Oxford Mansion, Oxford Street, W.)
British Archæological Association. (W. de Gray Birch, Esq., F.S.A., British Museum, W.C., and E. P. Loftus Brock, Esq., F.S.A., 36, Great Russell Street, W.C.)
Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion. Isambard Owen, M.A., 5, Hertford Street, W., and Alfred Nutt, Esq., 270, Strand, W.C.)
Huguenot Society of London. (Reginald S. Faber, Esq., M.A., 10, Oppidans Road, Primrose Hill, N.W.)
Society for Preserving Memorials of the Dead. (W. Vincent, Esq., Belle Vue Rise, Hillesdon Road, Norwich.)
Berkshire Archæological Society. (Rev. P. H. Ditchfield, M.A., Athenæum, Friar Street, Reading.)
Birmingham and Midland Institute (Archæological Section). (Alfred Hayes, Esq., Birmingham.)
Bristol and Gloucestershire Archæological Society. (Rev. W. Bazeley, M.A., Matson Rectory, Gloucester.)
Bucks Architectural and Archæological Society. (John Parker, Esq., F.S.A., Desborough House, High Wycombe.)
Cambridge Antiquarian Society. (Rev. S. S. Lewis, M.A., F.S.A., Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.)
Chester Archæological and Historical Society. (Henry Taylor, Esq., F.S.A., 12, Curzon Park, Chester.)
Cornwall, Royal Institution of. (Major Parkyn, F.G.S., 40, Lemon Street, Truro.)
Cumberland and Westmoreland Archæological and Architectural Society. (T. Wilson, Esq., Aynam Lodge, Kendal.)
Derbyshire Archæological and Natural History Society. (Arthur Cox, Esq., M.A., Mill Hill,
Essex Archæological Society. (H. W. King, Esq., Leigh Hill, Leigh, Essex.)
Hampshire Field Club. (W. Dale, Esq., F.G.S., 5, Sussex Place, Southampton.)
Kent Archæological Society. (G. Payne, Esq.) Lancashire and Cheshire Autiquarian Society. (G. C. Yates, Esq., F.S.A., Swinton, Manchester.)
Leicestershire Architectural and Archæological Society. (W. J. Freer, Esq., 10, New Street, Leicester.)
London and Middlesex Archæological Society. (M. Pope, Esq., 8, Dane's Inn, W.C.)
Norfolk and Norwich Archæological Society. (Rev. C. R. Manning, M.A., F.S.A., Diss, Norfolk.)
Oxfordshire Archæological Society. (Rev. W. D. Macray, M.A., F.S.A., Ducklington Rectory, Witney, Oxon; and G. Loveday, Esq., J. P., Manor House, Wordington.)
Shropshire Archæological and Natural History Society. (Francis Goyne, Esq., Dogpole, Shrewsbury.)
Somersetshire Archæological and Natural History Society. (Rev. J. A. Bennett, F.S.A., South Cadbury Rectory, Bath.)
Surrey Archæological Society. (Mill Stephenson, Esq., B.A., F.S.A., 8, Dane's Inn, Strand, W.C.) Sussex Archæological Society. (H. Griffith, Esq., F.S.A., 47, Old Steyne, Brighton.
Wiltshire Archæological and Natural History Society. (Rev. A. C. Smith, M.A., Old Park, Devizes.)
Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club (Hereford). (H. Cecil Moore, Esq., 26, Broad Street, Hereford.)
Yorkshire Archæological and Topographical Association. (G. W. Tomlinson, Esq., F.S.A., Wood Field, Huddersfield.)
Delegates from the majority of these societies were present, and the following business was transacted:
The following report of the PARISH REGISTERS AND RECORDS COMMITTEE was discussed, and referred back for some additions and verbal amendments. The committee is a very strong one, consisting of Dr. Freshfield, V.P.S.A. (chairman), Rev. Canon Benham, F.S.A., Mr. R. S. Faber, M.A. (hon. sec. Huguenot Society), Mr. W. J. Hardy, F.S.A., Dr. Howard, F.S.A., Dr. Marshall, F.S. A., Mr. Overend, F.S.A., Rev. Dr. Simpson, F.S.A., Mr. Mill Stephenson, F.S.A., and Mr. Ralph Nevill, F.S.A. (hon. sec.).
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE TRANSCRIPTION AND
PUBLICATION OF PARISH REGISTERS, ETC.
The Congress of Associated Archæological Societies desires to call the attention of the public, and especi ally of those interested in antiquarian research, to the extreme importance of duly preserving and rendering accessible the registers and other parish records of the United Kingdom.
These contain matter of the greatest value, not only to the genealogist, but also to the student of local history, and through these to the general historian.
It is to be regretted that sufficient care has not been taken in the past of these documents, which have too often been thoughtlessly destroyed.
The Congress has drawn up the following suggestions in the hope that they may prove useful to those anxious to assist in the preservation, transcription, and, where possible, publication of the documents referred to. As the older writings are in a different character from that used at the present time, they are not easily deciphered, and require careful examination even from experts. It is extremely desirable, therefore, that they should be transcribed, not only to guard against possible loss or injury, but in order to render them more easily and generally accessible to the student.
Many registers have already been copied and pub
lished, and every year adds to the list, and the Congress is in hope thut these suggestions may lead to a still greater number being undertaken.
SUGGESTIONS AS TO TRANSCRIPTION.
Limits of Date.-It is evident that there is most reason for transcribing the oldest registers, but those of later date are also of great value, and it is suggested that A.D. 1812, the date of the Act of 52 G. III., cap. 146, is a suitable point to which copies may be taken.
Care as to Custody.-Great judgment should be used in entrusting registers and other parish records to be copied, and a formal receipt for them should in all cases be required.
Character of Writing.-In transcribing, great care must be used to avoid mistakes from the confusion of certain letters with other modern letters of similar form.
A committee has in preparation an alphabet and specimens of letters and the principal contractions; but registers vary, and especially in the manner in which capital letters are formed. (Copies of the alphabet, etc., may be obtained when published on application to the Committee on Parish Registers, care of the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House.) Further information may also be obtained from Wright's Court-hand Restored (enlarged by C. T. Martin).
Great help in deciphering names may be gained from a study of existing local names.
It must, however, be borne in mind that the same name may be constantly spelt in different ways, and may undergo considerable changes in the course of time, or from the hands of different scribes.
In copying dates it must be remembered that down to A.D. 1752 the year began on March 25, and not on January 1.
Method of Transcription.-There can be no doubt but that a verbatim et literatim transcription is of far more value than any other form.
It is otherwise impossible to be sure that some point of interest and importance has not been overlooked. The extra trouble of making a complete transcript is small, and the result much more satisfactory. In any case the names should be given literatim, and all remarks carefully copied. Other records, such as churchwardens' accounts, should certainly not be transcribed and printed otherwise than in full. It is far better in both cases to do a portion thoroughly, than the whole imperfectly.
Revision and Collation of Copies.-The decipherment of old registers is, as already pointed out, a work of considerable difficulty, and it is therefore strongly recommended that in cases where the transcribers have no great previous experience, they should obtain the help of some competent reader to collate the transcript with the original.
Publication. With regard to the publication of registers, the Committee have carefully considered the question of printing in abbreviated or index form, and have come to the conclusion to strongly recommend that the publication should be in full, not only for the reasons given above for transcription, but because the extra trouble and expense (if any) is so small, and the value so very much greater.
There seems, however, no objection in either case
Wid.: widow or widower.
Dau. With regard to entries of marriage after Lord Hardwicke's Act of 1752, it is suggested that the form of entry may be simplified by the omission of formal phrases, but care should be taken not to omit any record or fact, however apparently unimportant.*
It is believed that many registers remain unprinted owing to an exaggerated idea of the cost of printing and binding. Reasonable estimates for these might probably often be obtained from local presses which would be interested in the publication.
No absolute rule as to size and type can be laid down, but on this and other questions the standing committee will always be glad to give advice.
General Committee.-A standing committee has been appointed by the Congress for the purpose of giving advice and preparing and distributing to the various societies in union such information and lists as may be of common value to all.
This committee is engaged on the preparation of a list of all the registers that have been printed, and when completed this list will be communicated to all subscribing societies for inclusion in their publications.
Local societies are strongly urged to form their own committees to take steps to secure the printing of the many transcripts that already exist unpublished, and to promote further transcription.
It is believed that the publication of a series of registers, supplemental and extra to their transactions, would add to the attractiveness and usefulness of the societies without being a serious burden to their funds. By combination and organization a considerable body of outside subscribers may probably be secured for such a series, and the cost of distribution of circulars, etc., may be materially reduced by such a plan as the issue by the central committee of an annual circular containing lists of registers in course of publication. Such a circular might be distributed by the local societies, and published in their transactions and elsewhere.
The subject of an ARCHEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF ENGLAND by counties or districts was further discussed. It was announced that maps of Cumberland, Westmoreland and Surrey were in preparation, and it was hoped that one of Berkshire would shortly be undertaken. It was resolved that a copy of the circular issued by the Surrey Archæological Society be forwarded with the report.
PROPOSED ARCHEOLOGICAL MAP OF THE COUNTY OF SURREY.
General Scheme of the Work.-A set of maps of the 6-inch Ordnance Survey is kept at the headquarters of the society; on this it is proposed to mark all objects of archæological interest in the county. When the map is complete, a reduced copy and a complete topographical index will be published in the "Collections "of the society.
Such, for instance, as the names of witnesses, ministers, occupation, etc.
Following the lines laid down by Mr. George Payne, F.S.A., Honorary Secretary Kent Archæological Society, in his Archeological Survey of the County of Kent (published by the Society of Antiquaries), it is proposed to divide the work into three sections, viz.:
(1) Pre-Roman :
(a) Earthworks and tumuli. Where no date can be assigned to this class of antiquities, it is proposed to simply mark them as earthworks (E).
(b) Megalithic remains, cists, paleolithic and neolithic implements, bronze objects, as celts, palstaves, spear-heads, etc., sepulchral relics, etc.
(2) Roman, including cemeteries, interments, tombs, and sepulchral relics, foundations, camps, roads, hoards of coins, pottery, glass, personal ornaments, etc.
(3) Anglo-Saxon, including barrows, cemeteries, interments, and sepulchral relics, coins, glass objects, etc., personal ornaments, arms, etc.
Finds of single coins, except in the case of early British or Anglo-Saxon, may be noticed and recorded, but need not be entered on the maps. The exact locality of all discoveries of British and AngloSaxon coins should always be given, together with the date of the discovery and a reference to any published account of the same.
Printed forms can be obtained from the honorary secretaries; and any members willing to assist, either by personal investigation, or by reading and noting the various books relating to the county, are requested to communicate with the honorary secretaries. To present confusion and double labour, members are requested to notify to the honorary secretaries the work they are willing to undertake.
Members can render much assistance by purchasing the single sheets of the Ordnance Survey for their own district, and filling up the same at home; but in all cases the annexed form should be filled in as well. Single sheets of the 6-inch Ordnance Survey can be purchased from E. Stanford, Cockspur Street, Charing Cross, S.W., at a cost of 2s. 6d. each, and a skeleton map, showing the divisions of the county, can be obtained for 3d.
Field-names are most important, and especially those occurring in old charters, court rolls, or other documents, parish maps, rate-books, terriers, etc. All field-names should be marked on the maps, and such old names as cannot be identified should be recorded under the head of the parish to which they belong, together with full particulars of their occurrence. Much information on these points can often be obtained from the maps and estate plans issued in auctioneers' catalogues on the sale of estates. Members are requested to send sale catalogues of any estates in their neighbourhood to the headquarters of the society.
It was resolved that the attention of archæological societies be also called to a DOMESDAY MAP OF SOMERSET, just published by Bishop Hobhouse in the Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaological and Natural History Society for 1889 (noticed among the reviews in this issue of the Antiquary).