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The Visitation returns of William Wake, Bishop of Lincoln 1705-16, shed light on the history of over 1200 villages and the people who lived in them in six counties of England in the early years of the eighteenth century. Covering Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, they contain detailed information about the population, religious affiliations, schooling, charities, church attendance, and much besides. Many individuals are named, particularly non-conformist preachers and those who transgressed church laws or were baptized as adults.
Bishop Wake's Summary of Visitation Returns from the Diocese of Lincoln 1706-15 is published in two parts. Part 2 completes the survey, covering parishes in the Archdeaconries of Huntingdon, Bedford, Leicester and Buckingham. Transcriptions of the summaries of the Visitations in 1706, 1709, and 1712 are given, together with additional material from the original returns from those years, and from 1715. Appendices contain the text of Bishop Wake's questionnaires. There is a comprehensive index of places mentioned in Parts 1 and 2.
This latest addition to the Records of Social and Economic History series will be a rich source of information for social historians, local and family historians of these counties, and church historians.
John Broad is Chair of the Buckinghamshire Record Society, Editor of Records of Buckinghamshire, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Current projects include a history of English rural housing since the late medieval period, and (with Richard Hoyle and Leigh Shaw-Taylor) a project to re-evaluate the 1798 Land Tax and the structure of landholding and tenancy c.1800. He is currently Visiting Academic at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge.