CURIOUS TRAVELLERS: THOMAS PENNANT AND THE WELSH AND SCOTTISH TOUR, 1760-1820
Tours of Wales and Scotland, 1760-1820: Methodology
Thomas Pennant’s Welsh and Scottish tours were a major catalyst for the hundreds of
tours that followed in their wake over the next half century. While some of these
texts were published in the period, and became important works in their own right,
many more remain in manuscript in libraries and record offices the length and
breadth of Britain. The Curious Travellers project aims to chart the influence of
Pennant on subsequent travellers to Wales and Scotland by creating a searchable
online collection of these unpublished tours. Our edition of manuscripts texts from
the period will enable us to explain in much more detail the role of home tourism in
the construction of national histories and identities, both at a ‘four nations’
level, and in wider contexts. In considering how the selected tours represent
contemporary and historical Britain, the project will also examine travellers’
engagement with vernacular Celtic cultures, including language, poetry and song, and
ask how far their perceptions were influenced by contemporary ideas from science,
landscape aesthetics and topography.
The following editorial guidelines were produced by Dr Alex Deans and Dr Elizabeth
Edwards (Research Associates), with input from Dr Mary-Ann Constantine (PI), Dr
Nigel Leask (Co-I) and Dr Luca Guariento (Web Developer).
The Curious Travellers website
presents transcriptions of some twenty-five (and counting) previously unpublished
tours, with a range of search facilities and supporting introductory and editorial
material. Manuscript home tours can be found in research libraries and record
offices all over Britain, and the final selection draws on material held in
geographically-scattered institutions (e.g., the British Library, the University of
Manchester John Rylands Library, a range of local record offices). Substantial
collections of Welsh and Scottish tours exist particularly in the National Library
of Wales and National Library of Scotland, and items from these repositories form
the backbone of our edition. Budget constraints did not allow for fully reproducing
original images of the manuscripts online, though our introductions are illustrated
with contemporary images where possible. Each document has its own individual record
in the project database, containing metadata (information such as its author, date
of composition, source repository). XML tagging records particular areas of
interest, such as people and place names, books, manuscripts and art works
mentioned. Our policy on this is explained in more detail later in this
Basis of Textual Policy
While recognizing the importance of reflecting the state of the copy-texts, we also
aim to produce an edition in which fidelity to the sources is reconciled with
clarity for modern readers, including the general public, students and specialist
scholars. Our textual/editorial policy reflects that of ‘The Letters of Thomas
Pennant’ in order to standardise the presentation of texts across the project as a
whole as far as possible. It is therefore based, with some adaptation and
variations, on that devised by Dr David Shuttleton for the AHRC funded project
‘Consultation Letters of Dr William Cullen (1710-1790) at the Royal College of
Physicians of Edinburgh’. There are fewer examples of modern editions of unpublished
travel writing, but we have also consulted Marie E. McAllister’s edition of Ann
Flaxman’s manuscript continental tour, An
Uninteresting Detail of a Journey to Rome (1787-9), published by
Romantic Circles Electronic Editions, and Alastair J. Durie’s edited
selection of unpublished Scottish tours, Travels in Scotland 1788-1881 A
Selection From Contemporary Tourist Journals (Boydell Press, 2012).
The XML schema used for our transcriptions is derived from current Textual Encoding
Initiative (TEI) guidelines. Our general policy is to reproduce all of the
original text of the tour, including the original paragraphing, punctuation, period
spellings, misspellings, grammatical solecisms, neologisms, authorial punctuation,
contractions, abbreviations, superscripts, underlinings, italics, deletions,
numberings, symbols, marginalia, etc. Wherever practicable, this extends to any
later additions in the form of headings, marginal notes etc. Original spelling and
grammar is silently retained, however TEI <sic></sic> tags are used
where apparent authorial slips or solecisms could be mistaken for transcription or
editorial errors, e.g. in the case of needlessly repeated words.
We do not always reproduce the precise visual appearance of the original manuscripts
in terms of layout. If any text continues down the side of a page, for example, we
have treated it as part of a continuous paragraph. While we preserve existing
paragraph breaks and do not impose paragraphing on a document that lacks it, our
paragraphs themselves are standardised in being separated by line breaks and lacking
indentation. We do not retain original line breaks, but, following McAllister, have
indicated page breaks in the original manuscript by means of superscripts in the
right-hand margin. In the case of poems or songs, the lineation of the manuscript
has been retained. Where necessary editorial notes have been inserted in the form of
clickable links, in order to distinguish them from authorial notes, which appear at
the end of the text.
Our more detailed policy on particular matters of transcription follows below:
- Upper and Lower Cases: For headings, sub-sections and words appearing
mid-sentence, we reproduce the original use of lower-case and capitals whenever
decidable. Eighteenth-century writers often use enlarged letters at the start of
sentences that are not actually capitals (in particular an enlarged lower-case
version of ‘a’ is often employed). For the transcriptions, we render these as
full-capitals (i.e. wherever the start of a new sentence is clearly indicated in
the text by the use of a full-stop or a dash, then we start the first word with
a capital letter). Alternatively, in a number of hands the lower-case letters
‘c’ and ‘s’ in particular tend to appear more enlarged, but unless found at the
start of a sentence, these are treated as lower-case.
- Disguised Names: Where a name is indicated by a number of dashes (e.g. ‘Mr.
F-------’), the exact number of dashes is transcribed.
- Dashes: Dashes are standardised as either short ( - ), medium (–) or long (
––––– ) and transcribed, according to normal usage, with a single space both
before and after the dash. Where obvious, we distinguish between straight and
- Brackets: Where obvious, we preserve any original distinction between square and
curved brackets, as well as the use of forward-slashes to serve as brackets.
- Full stops in abbreviations: These are standardised to some degree, to put the
full stop (if one exists) at the end of the abbreviated word even if it falls
within a superscript – i.e. ‘Wm.’ rather than ‘Wm.’ or ‘W.m’ for ‘William’,
regardless of the precise placement of the full stop on the page.
- Long s (ſ): These are standardised as lower-case ‘s’, except where they have
been used as a form of specialist notation.
- Title pages, prefaces and appendices: In cases where title pages appear within a
manuscript (e.g. as a mock-up of a published title page), the original lineation
and pagination has been preserved. Other prefatory material and any appendices
have been transcribed according to the editorial principles outlined above.
Expansions and contractions
As David Fairer observes in his edition of Warton, ‘obsolete abbreviations are by far
the largest obstacle to the readability of a text’. The naturalised transcriptions
therefore expand or normalise all abbreviations not in standard use today: for
example, ‘ye’ and ‘yt’ (where the ‘y’ is strictly speaking a thorn) are expanded to
‘the’ and ‘that’. Abbreviations that are self-explanatory, clear from the context in
which they appear, or occur very frequently – e.g. ‘yr’ for ‘your’ – are
Some different rules apply for specific issues:
- Abbreviated signatures: These are relatively common, especially for first names
(i.e. ‘Wm.’ and ‘Jno.’ for ‘William’ and ‘John’). We do not expand these; the
person record for each person mentioned is linked to the document’s database
record, including the full version of their name.
- Contracted surnames: These – e.g. ‘Lady E.’, ‘Mr F----’ – are not expanded.
Usages of this kind indicate informality and occasionally generate ambiguity
(between Mr. Fielding and Mr. Faulkner, say), and for both these reasons they
are preserved. Where the person can be identified, they have been tagged using
an XML ID attribute and can be clicked by the user to reveal biographical
- Contracted book titles: These – e.g ‘Br. Zool’ for British Zoology – have been
retained but tagged using an XML ID attribute that corresponds to the relevant
bibliographical record in the database.
- Common abbreviations: We do not expand any contraction which is still in common
and familiar use today (such as ‘Dr’ for ‘Doctor’, for example).
XML content markup
In addition to encoding each document’s structure (e.g. paragraph breaks – although
not line breaks, in contrast with the Letters) a TEI P5 XML schema adapted to the
aims of the project has been used to mark up content features of each tour:
place-names (both contemporary and modern forms), people (referring to our
biographical data base), published works and their authors, and art works. These
elements are tagged using the <placeName>, <persName>, <bibl>, and
<art> tags respectively. The significant benefit of using XML in this way is
that we can apply the same numeric ID attribute to these elements regardless of how
a particular feature is spelled or expressed, especially useful given the
non-standardized nature of eighteenth-century toponyms, especially in Welsh or
Structural and orthographical elements are treated as follows:
- Tour header: Each document has a TEI header which includes a unique numerical
ID, an indicative title, the name of the original author, the date of
composition, the shelf-mark of the manuscript source, any additional notes on
the source, and the editor of the tour.
- Textual divisions: Corresponding TEI tags are applied to the tour body and
individual paragraphs, including internal divisions of time and/or place (e.g.
where the tour may have been written sequentially in diary format).
- Abbreviations and expansions: Where abbreviations in the original tour present
an obstacle to readablility, a normalised version is provided through the use of
XML encoding (e.g. <choice><abbr>abbreviated
- Highlighted text and characters: Superscript, subscript, underlines and
italicised text are preserved in the transcription through the use of the
corresponding ‘<hi rend=</hi>’ XML encoding.
- Marginalia and annotations: Authorial footnotes and endnotes are retained but
standardised so that any authorial notes appear below the tour body, with the
point or span of attachment indicated through the ‘target’ attribute, and the
location of the note in the source text through the ‘place’ attribute. Where
possible, the symbol used to mark the note in the manuscript has been reproduced
or approximated, e.g. x. Marginal notes are placed at the end of the paragraph
to which they refer. Where the author of a note or annotation differs from that
of the tour this is indicated through the TEI <resp> (responsibility)
element and the author identified if possible. The <handshift> element is
used to indicate the beginning of text written in a new hand, whether in a note
or elsewhere in the document. Both marginal notes and authorial footnotes and
endnotes are rendered distinctly from editorial footnotes, the former attached
to the text by Roman numerals, the latter by Arabic numerals and appearing at
the very end of the documents.
- Substitutions and additions: Authorial additions (where distinct from notes) and
substitutions of words and characters into a line or sequence are tagged in XML
and the position of the inserted text is given, e.g. above, below, margin.
- Deletions and illegible or unclear text: These are marked using XML elements.
Where legible, both strikethroughs and the words beneath them are reproduced; if
the deleted text is illegible but the number of deleted characters or words can
be determined, this quantity is provided. Gaps where text is illegible or
destroyed are indicated in the mark-up, with the number of missing characters or
words given where available. Text which has been transcribed but which is
unclear in the original document is also tagged accordingly. Reasons are given
for unclear or missing text, e.g. damaged or torn manuscripts.
Document information in the database record
The record for each document, each person, and each place, contains information in
- ID: This is the unique numerical identifier, assigned by the database.
- Date: Where the date of the tour is not clear from explicit dating on the
document itself, or where that dating is unclear due to damage or authorial
error, there are three levels of certainty: date inferred, date uncertain and
date approximate. Our policy is to use ‘inferred’ only if we can be certain, due
to internal or surrounding evidence, of a document’s date of writing, but there
is no explicit dating on the document itself.
- Languages: Languages used in the tour, e.g. English, Welsh, Latin
- Notes on the tour: Free-text notes on the tour – e.g. if the manifestation is
unusual in some way.
- Repository: Name of the institution in which the original document is held – e.g
National Library of Wales.
- Shelfmark: Shelfmark assigned to the original document by its repository.
- People: Each person included in the archive has their own database record, with
particular types of information recorded about them, namely an ID, surname,
forename, role name or title, any variants by which they are mentioned in the
tours, and any additional free-form explanatory notes.
- Places: All places mentioned within the tour have their own database record,
with particular types of information recorded about them, namely an ID, a
standardized place name, any variant place names within the texts, GPS
coordinates, and any additional free-form explanatory notes.
- Publications: Publications mentioned within the tours and bibliographical
information are assigned the following information:
- ID – This is the unique numerical identifier, assigned by the
- Title – The full title of the work.
- Author – The named author or authors of the work.
- Year of publication – Self-explanatory.
- Place of Publication – Self-explanatory.
- Publisher – Self-explanatory.
- Edition – The specific edition of the work referred to in the tour, if
this is given.
- Language – The language in which the work is printed, e.g. English,
- Type – The type of publication, e.g. book, pamphlet, periodical.
Scholarly editions in book-form
- Battestin, Martin C., and Clive T. Probyn, eds., The Correspondence of Henry
and Sarah Fielding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).
- Durie, Alastair J., ed., Travels in Scotland 1788-1881: A Selection From
Contemporary Tourist Journals (Boydell Press, 2012).
- Kahrl, George M., and David M. Little, eds., The Letters of David
Garrick. 3 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1963).
- Pettit, Henry, ed., The Correspondence of Edward Young (Oxford: Clarendon
- Redford, Bruce, ed., The Letters of Samuel Johnson. 5 vols. (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1991-93).
Scholarly editions (electronic)
- Textual Encoding
Initiative P5 Guidelines
- Alcock, R. C., and F. C. Holland, The Postmarks of Great Britain and Ireland,
Being a Survey of British Postmarks from 1660 to 1940 (Cheltenham: R. C.
Alcock, 1940), and later supplements; see also their British
Postmarks: A Short History and Guide, 2nd edn. (1968).
- Fitch, Henry, The Perfect Calendar for Every Year of the Christian Era
(New York: Funk and Wagnells, 1928). An on-line search on ‘perpetual calendar’
brings up several useful sites for calculating days of the week in any given
month and year; see also here.
- Hunter, Joseph, ed. J. C. Clay, Familiae minorum gentium. 4 vols. The
Harleian Society. Vols. 37-40 (London: Harleian Society, 1894-96).
- Hyde, Ralph, ed., The A to Z of Georgian London (London: London
Topographical Society, 1982). This work reprints, with index, John Rocque’s map
- Salmon, Vivian, “Orthography and Punctuation”, in The Cambridge History of
the English Language, Volume III: 1476-1776, ed. Roger Lass (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 13-55.
- Zurcher, Andrew, et al., “English Handwriting 1500-1700: An Online Course,”. This
is a Renaissance resource, but some of the later examples are relevant and