Newspaper readership in south west England: an analysis of the Flindell's Western Luminary subscribers list of 1815.
Notes on sources and Flindell's introduction
THE NOTES ON LISTS & TABLES ARE FOLLOWED BY FLINDELL'S INTRODUCTION TO HIS LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS
List 1. List of subscribers in original order. [to be digitised] Numbers have been added to each entry to aid identification in other listings. All other details are transcribed as in the original, including italics.
Other subscriptions. Letters are used as follows:
D: The Devonshire adventurer, conducted by the Rev. George John Freeman, L. L. B. No. 1. August 26, 1814. (Tavistock: Printed by James Chave ... and sold by Messrs. Trewman and Woolmer, Booksellers, Exeter [and nine other firms], 1814).
G: Francis Gregor. The works of Francis Gregor, of Trewarthennick, Esq. (Exeter: printed by T.Flindell, 1816).
P: John Prince. Danmonii orientales illustres; or, the worthies of Devon (Plymouth: Rees and Curtis, 1810).
W: A guide to the watering places on the coast between the Exe and the Dart. (Teignmouth: Croydon, 1817).
List 2. List of subscribers in alphabetical order. Not all persons were checked in all appropriate sources. Only relatively rarely can identification be considered as completely certain, although most are probably correct. Where there is considerable doubt a query (?) is added in the entry. In many cases there was insufficient detail in the original list for any identification to be attempted. In most cases a nil return is indicated where sources were checked without success.
1811H: Holden's annual London & county directory ... for ... 1811 (London: W.Holden, 1811).
1812P: The picture of Plymouth: being a correct guide ... also a list of the principal inhabitants (Plymouth: Rees and Curtis, 1812).
1816T: The Exeter pocket journal ... for ... 1816 (Exeter: Trewman and Son, ).
1818P, Polled for Courtenay/Newman/Northmore: The addresses, speeches, squibs, songs, &c. which were circulated during the recent general election (Exeter R.Cullum, 1818). [Includes poll book.]
1823P: Pigot & Co.'s London & provincial new commercial directory for 1823/4 (Manchester: J.Pigot & Co., 1823).
BLG: John Bernard Burke. A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland 4th edition (London: Harrison, 1862). [This edition was normally used for checking.]
BP: John Bernard Burke. A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage of the United Kingdom 24th ed. (London: Harrison, 1862). [This edition was normally used for checking.]
Baptisms: parish registers checked for the period stated.
DNB: The dictionary of national biography (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885).
Devonshire adventurer: The Devonshire adventurer, conducted by the Rev. George John Freeman, L. L. B. No. 1. August 26, 1814. (Tavistock: Printed by James Chave ... and sold by Messrs. Trewman and Woolmer, Booksellers, Exeter [and nine other firms], 1814).
EFP: Trewman's Exeter flying post. [Exeter newspaper.]
Foster: Joseph Foster Alumni oxonienses, 1715-1886 (Oxford: Parker & Co., 1888).
Freemen: Exeter freemen 1266-1967, edited by Margery M.Rowe and Andrew M.Jackson (Exeter: Devon and Cornwall Record Society, 1973).
GM: Gentleman's magazine. [London periodical.]
Gregor: Gregor, Francis. The works of Francis Gregor, of Trewarthennick, Esq. (Exeter: printed by T.Flindell, 1816.)
Guide to the watering places: A guide to the watering places on the coast between the Exe and the Dart. (Teignmouth: Croydon, 1817).
Hennessy: G.L.Hennessy. 'Institutions of incumbents to Devon benefices ... 1456-1894', [1900?]. [Manuscript, a later transcript by Vyvyan Hope was used.]
IGI: International genealogical index. [Computer index of baptisms and marriages, produced on microfiche by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.]
Lysons: Samuel and Daniel Lysons. Magna Britannia. Vol.5: Cornwall (London: T.Cadell, 1816) [and] Vol. 6: Devon (London: T.Cadell, 1822).
Maxted EWP7: Ian Maxted. The Devon book trades: a biographical dictionary (Exeter: J.Maxted, 1991).
Potts: R.A.J.Potts. 'Early Cornish printers 1740-1850' Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, New ser., vol. 4, (1963), 264-325.
Prince: John Prince. Danmonii orientales illustres; or, the worthies of Devon (Plymouth: Rees and Curtis, 1810).
Subscribed £... 1821: Lists of subscribers in support of Flindell in Trewman's Exeter flying post and Flindell's western luminary, June and July 1821. For other subscriptions, see below.
Venn: J.A.Venn. Alumni cantabrigienses. Part 2: 1752-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1940).
WL: Flindell's Western luminary. [Exeter newspaper.]
List 3. Place index. This is arranged alphabetically by place (normally parish) within county. Scotland, Wales and ireland are treated as counties for the purpose of arrangement. The places are normally as stated in the list, although some attempt has been made to locate houses to the correct parish. Sometimes the houses may lie considerably outside the place named in the list.
List 4. Occupation index. Trades are as given in the sources used for first identification. Inconsistent terminology and indications of related trades can be ascertained from table 1. Many individuals have not been identified and of those a considerable number would doubtless swell the ranks of the gentry. In many cases individuals could well have been put in more than one category, for example many gentry were also magistrates and many women are listed under specific trades, so this analysis and table 1 should be regarded as indicative only.
Table 1. Table of occupations. An attempt to group occupations and provide statistical analysis. Only one entry is given to each individual identified. Totalled figures are given in (parentheses), often with percentages of the total of 1695 subscribers. Figures from other sources are given as notes in [square brackets].
Table 2. Topographical table.This is an attempt to merge the order of listings under each letter of the alphabet to arrive at a conjectural series of distribution routes. Places indented are indicated in the list as adjacent to the larger settlement noted above and may well have been served by an agent in that settlement rather than directly by the newsman.
Table 3. Market penetration. Based on registration districts, with separate figures for the individual settlements with the greatest market penetration. The figures are arrived at by dividing the population figure from the 1811 census by 4.64 to arrive at the number of families and applying the figure for the number of subscribers to arrive at a percentage. The expansion of population since 1811 should balance to some extent the fact that many copies of the newspaper were seen by many more than one family, as evidenced by comments in Flindell's introduction and the numbers subscribed for by inns, libraries and similar public places.
FLINDELL'S "EXPLANATIONS" TO HIS LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS
The original is printed in italic throughout. The three dashes: --- are in the original; they do not represent omissions in the transcript.
It was at the request of some very respectable Subscribers to this paper, that the Editor first undertook to print and give a List of the whole, to accompany the Title-page for binding up with the Volumes. But as he proceeded to the work, he discovered many difficulties. One the one hand, he found it impossible to give the List correct; and on the other, he was not sure that the should not, however unintentionally, give offence to some of his friends, who might not chuse to have their names so published. Finding, however, some time after his intention to print such List was expressed publicly in this paper, that only one gentleman has signified a desire to have his name omitted; and that a very considerable number of the Subscribers, including personages of rank and high consdieration, have ordered such Lists to be forwarded to them, and thus (he presumes) acquiesced in the printing of it; what other course was left but to yield this point to the active majority?---With respect to correctness, the main difficulties he has met with are these:---1, The greater part of the weekly impressions of this paper (to the amount perhaps of two-thirds of the whole) go into the hands of little copartnerships formed for the purpose, and consisting of two, three, four, five or six persons, or families. In some cases a single copy serves a whole village or little country parish. The Editor, in the mean time, has only the name of that member of each partnership, who undertakes for the payment; and therefore, he can only give that one name in his List of Subscribers; though he is equally obliged by every other contributor.---2, Gentlemen, respectable yeomen and others, living on their estates, remote from their post towns, frequently obtain their newspapers through certain residents in such towns, who undetake to forward them to their proper destination by private hands. In such cases, the name of the town-resdent only is known to the Printer. Indeed, many papers sent weekly by the Printer to persons in Exeter and other towns, are subsequently forwarded to friends in various distant parts of the kingdom.---3, Some of the Printer's agents, who receive weekly parcels of this paper in a wholesale way, have not yet forwarded to his printing office, the names of the Parties for whom they order them:---whilst, of the names sent, some are perhaps mis-spelt or improperly designated.---The friends of this paper, who shall discover omissions, or inaccuracies of any kind in the following List, are therefore respectfully assured, that they cannot regret them more than the Printer does. His only motive for printing it, is, to display the honorableness of the patronage, the extent and number of the obligations, for which he feels indebted---in short, to evince his mingled sentiments of pride and gratitude.
This page last updated 29 Jan 2007
© Ian Maxted, 2001.