Devon and Cornwall Record Society (Charity Registration no. 1011931)

Notes for prospective editors


1. The Devon and Cornwall Record Society exists to publish editions of original records relating, wholly or in major part, to one or both of the two counties. Occasionally, it publishes handbooks too, such as Exeter Freemen, 1266-1967 and Guide to the Parish and Non-Parochial Registers of Devon and Cornwall 1538-1837.

2. The Society usually publishes a single volume each year. Our publisher is Boydell and Brewer. The normal print run is about 400-500 copies. Copies are sent to the 300 or so subscribers, and the rest are stored for sale to the public, primarily through Boydell and Brewer; local sales are also handled by the Society.

3. Volumes are paperback, and normally include about 100-250 pages (40,000-90,000 words). Longer and shorter texts will be considered for publication but if texts are very long volume editors may be asked to make cuts or seek additional funding to cover the higher publication costs. Longer texts may also have to be split over two volumes.

4. Anyone wishing to propose a volume for publication should write a proposal (see below) and submit it to the Honorary Editor along with the other materials required. The Honorary Editor is also happy to discuss potential volumes before a formal proposal is submitted. The application will be considered by the Society's Council, in consultation with other experts in the field.

5. When reviewing applications and drawing up a timetable for publication, the Council will take the following into consideration:

                - The document’s significance and interest. Why is this document important? Why will it interest the Society’s members, who include many local historians, family historians, and general readers, as well as students and academics beyond the Society’s membership?  Is it primarily of interest within the region, or in a wider area?

                -  How does it fit into the existing timeline of publication and other planned series volumes? The Society plans its sequence of volumes several years in advance. It aims to publish a diverse range of volumes, keeping a balance between Devon and Cornwall, and between different periods and types of document, as far as possible. This may mean that we sequence some volumes later or earlier than others, rather than following a strictly first-come-first-served policy.

                - Does it open up difficult or inaccessible documents to a wider audience?  The Society welcomes proposals to edit documents of all types from any period but it may give particular weight to publishing material that is difficult for non-specialists to access without a published edition, e.g. because of language or palaeography, or because it is in a distant archive.

                - The author’s skills. Many of our volumes are not edited by professional academics and we welcome submissions from independent scholars or local historians including those without formal publishing experience. However, we will seek to confirm that prospective editors have the skills to transcribe (and, if necessary, translate or summarize) the documents and so we ask prospective editors to submit digital photos of the original manuscript alongside their sample transcriptions (see below, Part 4).

6. If the Council approves the application, it may, if it chooses, appoint a General Editor for the volume, generally a member of Council or other specialist in the field who will liaise with the author and help to oversee the production of the final manuscript. Otherwise the Hon. Editor will be the main point of contact. Other experts may be involved in commenting on the project as it proceeds – for example, reading a draft introduction or sample of text.

7. The Society normally bears the cost of type-setting, printing, binding, mailing copies to subscribers, and sending out about 20 review copies. Authors are normally expected to pay for research costs, finding illustrations, and arranging reproduction of material in copyright and permission to publish (although the Society can reimburse the costs of permissions and archival photography to a certain extent – see below, part 2). Authors are also responsible for reading and checking proofs and for providing an index. It is, however, helpful if authors can suggest organizations which might offer grants to support publication. This should be discussed with the Honorary/General Editor as appropriate before the final text of the book is produced.

8. The Author will receive four free copies of the book, and may buy others at 33% discount to the normal sale price, provided that these are not for re-sale.

9. The Society reserves the right to increase or reduce the price of its volumes and to hold book sales, at any time.



The character of our volumes can be seen by looking at recent previous ones. This section gives details about their format and contents. Please also refer to Boydell and Brewer’s author guide, which explains the process of publication, and their house style sheet. These can be found at https://boydellandbrewer.com/boydell-brewer-author-guidelines/

Roughly speaking, each volume includes:

(a) Prelims: Table of Contents, Preface, Acknowledgements, Lists of Text-Figures/Tables/Maps/ Illustrations/ Abbreviations as appropriate.

(b) An Introduction normally up to about 35 pages, i.e. about 10,000 words.  Some readers may not be specialists in this period of history or kind of document, so it is important in the introduction to explain the historical context of the document, and also to show why this document is interesting and important. The Introduction would normally be divided into sections with subtitles, and would describe the nature of the document(s) being edited, the kinds of material it contains, any problems and benefits which arise from using the document, how the document affects (and is affected by) a wider understanding of the field to which it relates, and how the document has been edited (e.g. has everything been transcribed? Has original spelling/punctuation been amended at all?). The Introduction aims to cater for both intelligent general readers and professional historians -- providing what each needs to know. The Introduction also includes footnotes as references.

(c) The Main Text, i.e. the document(s) being edited. If the document is in Latin, an English translation must also normally be provided. A calendar or summary might also be appropriate for certain kinds of document but this needs to be discussed with the General Editor.  If it is in old-fashioned English, it can normally be transcribed as it stands, keeping the original spelling, but modernising the use of i/j, u/v. Words that will be unfamiliar to most general readers should be explained – this could be in footnotes, brackets, or a glossary.  Policy on capital letters, punctuation, and spacing (e.g. of financial accounts) should be discussed with the General Editor(s). The Main Text usually has only a few footnotes, limited to explaining textual problems, names or technical terms, rather than long explanatory notes.

(d) Bibliography, divided into published and unpublished sources.

(e) One or more indexes of names, places, and subjects. This does not need to be submitted until the publisher has provided proofs of the text.

(f) Tables, maps, plans and photographs are welcome. We would normally publish these in black and white. Authors are responsible for providing professionally drawn maps and plans and prints of photographs. In order to provide illustrations of the document the Society can reimburse the cost of a small amount of archival photography and the cost of permissions to publish images – please discuss this with the General Editor before ordering. Policy about maps and illustrations must be discussed with the General Editor(s) at an early stage.  Boydell and Brewer has its own guidelines for the quality of images needed (e.g. resolution of digital photos) and the permissions needed – so please discuss this with the General Editor. The General Editor can also provide a template letter for requesting permissions.

Authors are responsible for getting permission to reproduce text, quotations, or illustrations from those to whom copyright belongs. Permission should be gained from public archives, as well as private owners, to reproduce photographs, documents or literary works. Please check with the General Editor as to which permissions are required.  Good-quality images and permissions to publish maps or photographs must be sent to Boydell and Brewer at the same time as the final manuscript.



1. All the contents of a volume (including tables, plans, maps, and illustrations) must be seen by the Hon/General Editor in final draft before the General Editor submits a clean text to the publisher. This is to enable the Editor to see and comment on the nature of the work.  This final draft must be submitted to the General Editor well before the final submission date for the publisher, to enable him/her to read and comment and allow time to make any changes. This final draft should be absolutely complete, as regards checking and insertion of references.

2. The clean text should be submitted to the Hon Editor in MS Word in the first instance, either by email or via a file-sharing programme such as Dropbox or WeTransfer.

3. Authors must produce texts according to Boydell and Brewer’s House Style which can be found here: https://boydellandbrewer.com/boydell-brewer-house-style-guidelines/

4. The Society aims to publish its volumes late in each year.  The following timetable indicates the typical sequence for preparing and submitting a manuscript (although the General Editor will discuss this with individual authors):

o             1 September of previous year (at latest). Author submits a final draft to the General Editor to enable the Editor to comment on it. This draft should be complete and ready for publication in all respects, including references.

o             1 January. General Editor will have sent comments on the final draft to the author.

o             1 March. Author sends final version to General Editor, who will send files to the publisher, complete with manuscript, images, and permissions.

o        May-September. Author is available to answer copy editor’s queries, read proofs and produce index

Any author unable to conform to this timetable should discuss the matter with the General Editor as soon as possible and well before the submission deadline for the draft.




Please produce your book proposal, drawn up as follows, including both the section numbers and titles or questions, as listed below. This will be considered by the General Editor(s) and by the Council of the Society. Please submit it to the Hon. Editor (c.r.rider@exeter.ac.uk) along with a sample transcription (approx. 3 pages) and digital photos of the original document that relate to the section of text that has been transcribed.


1. The Applicant

- Surname and Forenames

- Preferred Title

- Occupation

- Relevant experience (e.g. degrees, professional qualifications, previous publications)

- Contributions to Costs. (Are you able to contribute to the cost of publishing your book, or can you identify organizations that may offer grants to support publication?)


2. Description of the Volume

i.  Title of Proposed Book (preferably not more than 12 words). Consider here a title that will make clear what the book is about and appeal to a general reader.

ii. A Synopsis of the Book. Please look at the Part 2, above, before writing it. The synopsis should include a summary of each section and a total word length.  In calculating word lengths, please remember to include footnotes.  It should include a Description, of a page or two, of what the Introduction and Main Text will each cover.

iii. Three Specimen Pages of Text along with digital photos of these pages of the original document.


3. Questionnaire (Please start on a new sheet)

1. Why does this book merit publication? What makes this document important, interesting and/or unusual?

2. What other books exist in the same field, and how does yours differ from them?

3. What aspects of your work will interest general readers who read history mainly for pleasure?

4. What aspects of your work will interest scholars?

5. What readership do you envisage the book having? (Please identify, e.g. general readers, local or amateur historians, students (school or university), academic historians, specialist groups? Readers within the region, or outside it?)

6.  Personal links. (Do you have any personal links or reputation that would help the sale of your book?)

7. Book Sales. (Who is likely to buy the book other than the Society’s subscribers, who include many local historians and libraries in the two counties, and major university libraries in England?)

8. Reviews. (Where should the Society send copies of your book for review?)

9. Outline your timetable for completing the work. (Please say how long you need to carry out remaining research and writing, and the date by which the Society’s General Editor will be able to see all the work in final draft.)

Catherine Rider

Honorary Editor, Devon and Cornwall Record Society

February 2022