Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Browne 1625 Almanac with Contemporary Annotations

notes for March (sig.A7r)
Browne, Daniel, fl. 1614-1631.
Browne, 1625 : A new almanacke and prognostication for the yeere of our Lord God 1625 : being the first from the bissextile : with briefe tables of the foure termes, and their returnes / composed and properly referred to the longitude and latitude of the pole artick of the famous Citty of London, and may serue generally for the most part of Greate-Britaine ; by Daniel Browne, vvell-vviller to the mathemat.
[London] : Printed for the Company of Stationers, [1625].
[48] p. : ill. ; 15 cm.
STC (2nd ed.) 421.10
Renaissance Center copy is in later (19th-century?) dark blue straight-grain morocco (lacks leaves A2, A6, B3, and ²A6-8); extensive ms. notes in the blank spaces for each month.
Surviving Copies: Seven (MCRS, BL, Lambeth Palace, Bodleian, Folger, Newberry, American Antiquarian Society)

In early modern England almanacs served as helpful guides for farmers and merchants, containing information on important dates of the year, market times, lunar/tidal cycles, and the astrological configuration of the human body. The early modern almanac was often published with a “prognostication,” usually marked by a new title page, as can be seen in the text of Browne’s almanac, which contains a list of major historical events, astrological predictions based on season and region, a husbandry guide, and chart for computing interest. The pragmatic information found in almanacs kept them in high demand during the early modern period, and at 2d a piece most people could readily afford these cheap books. Wealthier book buyers often purchased several different almanacs (over a dozen writers produced almanacs in 1625 alone) and bound them together in one volume, creating an personalized compendium of annual information. While their bindings increased the life-expectancy of such collections, since the relevancy of almanacs expired once their designated years had passed, most copies eventually found their way to the rubbish heap.

Those almanacs surviving today typically contain clues as to how they were used. Almanacs have always been a site for “life-writing,” especially brief and inherently ephemeral notes about the intricacies of everyday life. The calendrical sections of almanacs often contained large blank spaces (or were even interleaved with blank paper) for personal annotations, usually brief and rather mundane in nature. The anonymous owner of the Center’s 1625 almanac has written in his own notes in the blank spaces complementing the book’s calendars. For the most part, the notes make reference to the owner’s travels (probably for business) in Cheshire, England, the typical entry reading something like “to chester” or “to Darby to speak with Thos pulford.” There are notes referring to money paid or received (Sept. 9: to moreton. Rec 30 li of mr wrington”), dinner engagements (Jan. 19: “to Choreley dinner with my mr and mris”), sermons attended (Oct. 23: “at warrington mr weytorne preached”), and local deaths (April 22: “mr hollinshed our parson abijt [died] about 8t in the morning”). Although usually traveling alone, at certain points the almanac-owner travels “with my lady.” We can follow him to “knottsford faire” on June 7 and the “Goosetree exercyse” on February 16. All entries appear in the same pragmatic and business-like style, even those for June 16-17, when the writer’s mother died (“my ould mris obijt about 12”; “my ould mris sepult [buried] at night: at knotsford”).

Here is a transcription of the almanac's manuscript notes:

  • MS notes (sig. A5r; “January”): [10] “to Socklich: & to crickitt ther alnight”; [11] “to Shockletch:”; [12] “Re: of Sr Ric Egerton intrest standing x li”; [13] “to Chester: & to Swanlow: cum mr & mrs:”; [14] “to Alderley y neator [sic? does he mean “Alderley the Nether”?]; [19] “to Choreley dinner with my mr & mrs”; [20] “at knottsford Tho: Whitt: & Adair Cragg:”; [24] “at peevor [I think this is referring to the house of a man surnamed “Peevor” rather than a place name, there seem to be a fair amount of “Peevors” in Cheshire] with Sr Rau” [or “Ran,” the two-minim character has a tiddle over it; two manicules after this name]
  • MS notes (sig. A7r; “March”): [3] “to Darby to speak with. Thos pulford”; [4] “to Alderley per vtkinton”; [11] “Gandie ye drover sepult.”; [12] “at Congleton with mr Ouldfeeld ye maior”; [16] “at Goosetree exercyse”; [17] “at Knottsford exercyse”; [26] “with mrs Margaret to chester per tabley & vtkinton”; [29] “to vtkinton:”; [30] “to Alderley per holfed”
  • MS notes (sig. A8r; April): [2] “to congleton:”; [3] “to prestbury christen: et millhouse diner”; [4] to manc [with tiddle over the “c”; I believe this is “Manchester”]; [22] “mr hollinshed our parson abijt about 8t in the morning”; [23] att prestbury: 222: mr hollinshed sepulter”; [25] “the Saboth day mr westrem [?] [……]”; [26: indecipherable]; [28] “mr Shipton: per mr wood vicar de Sandvich [sic] / to chester”
  • MS notes (sig. B1r; May): [8] “to chester cum Ric. deanam: [?]”; [9] “to Rixhom [Wrexham]:”; [11] “the great show for election of knight per shaw [?]; [14] “to chester”; [17] to Alderley: Tho: hollinshed obijt”; [22] “paid the 22d xd to Tho: deanem 2 leges being ixs pd.”; [26] “with the Jury to veiwe the meerts [?] at edge: [?]”; [28] “at Congleton with mr menri & mr Swettenam”; [31] “at Knottsford faire”
  • MS notes (sig. B2r; June): [7] “at knottsford faire:”; [11] “at macc. [Macclesfield] faire my lady came to Alderley”; [14] “with my lady towardes vtkinton: knot: hens [?]”; [16] “my ould mris obijt about 12”; [17] “my ould mris sepult at night: at knotsford”; [20] “goodes prinsde [?]:”; [22] “to Chester per weevor:”
  • MS notes (sig. B4r; August): [2] “at Radbruck & withington”; [7] “Tom: wilinthon [?] bapt:”; [11] “to Chester:”; [13] “to Alderley:”; [18] to Keridge for ix loades sclate [?]”; [20] “to Congleton & mr Swettenham to Sendford”; [25] “to chounber in the frees & to vttkinton:”; [26] “to Barton ther alnight”; [27] “to melyns [?] ffens Shockleach & Chester”; [29] “to Stanney to Barrowe & back to chester”
  • MS notes (sig. B5r; September): [1] “to Alderley: John Ridgway with mee”; [4] “mr: Jne – lendes – hic.”; [6] “the rent”; [9] “to moreton. Rec[eived] 30 li of mr wrington”; [17] “at peevor et wyth: [withington]”; [24] “to chester with my mr.”; [27] “Justic chamblen obijt at Ludlowe”
  • MS notes (sig. B6r; October): [6] “to Alderley from chester:”; [8] “at wyth:”; [14] “with mr Swettenham & coyth:”; [17] “to chester with my mr”; [20] “to Bewsie”; [23] “at warrington mr weytorne preached”; [24] “to Bould”; [25] “to Bewsie”; [26] “to Areley”; [28] “to chester.”; [31] “to Alderley: mr: R: to Tabley”
  • MS notes (sig. B7r; November): [3] “at Somfordes at Congleton & wything:”; [15] “at wyth:”; [28] “at cheadle with mris kelsall”; [29] “at wyth:”
  • MS notes (sig. B8r; December): [2] “at wyth:”; [3] “to chester with mr Shipton”; [10] “to Aldeley [sic] per wyth:”; [12] “at wyth:”; [15] “at wyth:”; [17] “at wyth:”; [18] “ego nupta: mr Baskervyle obijt in the […]ff”; [20] “to Alderley. John Screer his bastard”; [21] “to wyth:”; [22] “to Alderley & buck:”; [23] “to Alderly Ran: moltershedes business”; [24] “to Congleton & to wyth:”; [28] “to Alderly”; [29] “to wyth:”; [30] “to Ridley”; [31] “to chester:”
Here is the digitized version of the majority of this book:


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