Dorset Record Society was set up in the 1960s with the aim of publishing original manuscripts to make them accessible to the general reader. They have concentrated on documents that are not readily available for study, those that are difficult to read, or those that are of particular interest. Publication is occasional, and depends on funding from sales of previous volumes. The Record Society is a committee of DNHAS. For general enquiries please contact the Hon. General Secretary, Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XA.
By Mark Forrest
Published by DRS 2011
Price £6.00 (add £1.00 for post and packing)
48pp, index, colour photographs, A4 stapled, glossy cover
Manorial documents are a useful and yet underused source for local and family historians in Dorset. They illustrate many aspects of the lives of ordinary people: property ownership, maintenance of roads and hedges, punishment of minor crimes, election of local officers and interpretation of local customs all fell within the remit of the manor court. The guide explains the history and development of Dorset manors and introduces the documents produced by the manorial administration through examples from the collections held at the Dorset History Centre. The focus is on those documents written in English produced between the mid-seventeenth century and the early twentieth century which are most easily accessible to researchers who have not previously worked on manor and estate records. Examples of court rolls, perambulations, stewards' papers, presentments and customs are provided with transcriptions to illustrate the contents and uses of a variety of records.
Edited with an introduction by Dr Judith Ford.
Price £15.00 (add £2.50 for post and packing)
Hardback with jacket, illustrated with engravings and photographs.
Published July 2011
This book reproduces in full all the Marriage Duty Act assessments for Lyme Regis and Colway, with an index of names. In 1695 the 'Marriage Duty Act' imposed a tax on births, marriages and burials, as well as an annual charge on bachelors over the age of 25, and on childless widowers. The tax was introduced by William III to help pay for war with France. The administration of the tax involved the drawing up of a certified list of the names of the inhabitants of every town, village and hamlet in England and Wales. Only about 150 of the Marriage Duty Act documents are known to survive nationally but the Marriage Duty Act assessments for Lyme Regis survive for the years 1695, 1698, 1699, 1701 (two copies), 1702 and 1703. One undated assessment survives for the tithing of Colway, adjacent to Lyme. The war for which the tax was raised damaged Lyme's trade with France in serges and linens and the town's resulting decline can be traced both in the decrease of the total number of inhabitants and in that of individuals liable to surcharges.
Published 2009, price £10.00
(add £2.50 for post and packing)
Hardback with jacket. Illustrated with contemporary photos.
Phyllis Walther worked as a volunteer for the WVS and witnessed at first hand the effects of war. She was responsible for the welfare of evacuees and for providing clothing for displaced children and their mothers. She organized the provision of hand-knitted comforts for the troops and despaired of the tangle caused by garments mistakenly knitted in the wrong sizes and service colours. She is an acute observer of patriotic fund-raising events and local military exercises and her descriptions of some of the inevitable muddles make amusing reading. Phyllis had an enquiring mind and decided opinions. Everyday life in wartime Dorset comes alive in her diary.