Sources of Evidence

The sources and scholarly standards adopted in this web site are those used in the REED editions. The following gives a brief sketch – complete titles are listed in the Bibliography.


The biographical information on patrons in this database has been collected entirely from printed and online sources. A group of standard sources (see the Patrons sections in the Bibliography) are regularly consulted for biographical information, including titles of nobility, offices and property. Information provided by these standard sources is supplemented and revised according to information found in the publications of the Historical Manuscripts Commission and other compilations of period documents. These works, in conjunction with other reliable studies, are preferred when sources disagree over dates of birth and death, creation and succession to titles, tenure of office or acquisition and divestment of property.

As well, studies on particular counties or regions have been consulted for county-specific offices and properties, and especially for biographical and genealogical information on patrons who belonged to the minor gentry of the county and were primarily based there. These works are listed in the Patrons sections by the relevant county/region.

Titles of offices have been standardized and in some cases simplified according to the usage of modern historians. The Complete Peerage is followed for the form, spelling and absolute succession numbers for titles of nobility. Spelling of surnames has been standardized according to the usage established in reference works such as The Complete Peerage andThe Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; however, in instances where the form of a surname changed significantly over time, the variation is noted on the patron's 'Biographical overview' page.


The genealogy data is the result of new research undertaken by the Patrons and Performances Web Site Content Development Team. Standard sources for genealogy largely follow the standard sources for patrons (see the Patrons – Genealogy for a list of these sources).

Events & Troupes

Data on events and performance troupe activities has been gathered from manuscripts and early printed books by the editors of successive volumes in the REED series. It has been carefully checked before publication of each volume.


Historical research into every place where performances occurred has been supplemented by consultation with local experts and on-site visits, photography and measurement by the research team. Works consulted are cited in the Venues sections of the Bibliography.


Data on medieval and renaissance roads is derived from previous research by Sally-Beth MacLean, published in 'Tour Routes,' as well as other sources cited in the Maps (Roads – History) section of the Bibliography. This evidence is newly combined with locations associated with patrons' offices and landholdings as well as with performance places identified in the Events and Venues databases.

The earliest detailed route maps published in John Ogilby's Britannia (1675) have been consulted extensively to help trace pre-1642 roads using Ordnance Survey base maps. Although pre-1642 road maps are few and difficult to use for detailed tracking, several important period sources have furnished basic information about key routes across the kingdom. The Gough map (ca. 1360), Richard Grafton's list of principal highways in hisAbridgement of the Chronicles of Englande (1570) and Philip Symonson's 1596 map of Kent are primary sources for our Interactive Map. More localized studies of road networks listed in the Bibliography have also been consulted. Routes for which there is detailed cartographic evidence are distinguished by a broken line from those that must be considered speculative because the period sources are less precise.

General Reference Works

Dates follow Cheney, A Handbook of Dates (rev ed). Place names follow Ekwall, Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names and Richards, Welsh Administrative and Territorial UnitsMedieval and Modern or the Gazetteer of Great Britain (4th ed). When necessary, studies of place names for specific counties or regions have been consulted. Spelling of first names follows Withycombe, Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names. See General Reference in the Bibliography.