button to main menu West's Guide to the Lakes, 1778/1821

The transcription, and notes, are from A Guide to the Lakes, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Westmorland now Cumbria, and in London, 1778; using the 11th edition, 1821. This edition has footnotes by William Cockin, made for the 2nd and 3rd editions, 1780 and 1784, and numerous addenda. The copy used is in the Armitt Library, Ambleside, item AMATL:AS1221.
source type: West 1778
Deciding how to arrange a transcription in 'records' which are destined to become html pages is not easy. Thomas West's text is ever so slightly rambling; there is no regular paragraph structure, no regular use of headings, though it's all very readable! even if the picturesque hyperbole is repetitive. The transcript here is made page by page, ignoring the problems that a sentence might be split across page breaks; excepting footnotes, which may go on from page to page, and which are gathered together on the page on which they start. The original markers for footnotes are star or asterisk, section sign, etc, which are replaced in the transcript by a serial number within each page.
Somewhen, the text, at present in MODES records, will migrate to xml. At this change the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) should be considered, though at first sight that methodology seems very biased towards academic study of 'Literature' rather than everyday text. TEI would mark up the whole of West's text as one document, the particular arrangement into pages for an edition treated as a subsidiary feature.
The exact typesetting has been ignored. In particular: font posture, italic or upright, is ignored; and hyphenation across lines has been removed, judging as well as I am able to retain the hyphen where it likely belongs. A word split across pages is left that way, but the beginning part of the word is added as inferred data to its continuation on the following page.
Peculiarities of spelling and grammar are preserved, some are perhaps just typesetter's errors; they are perhaps confirmed by '(sic)', though the variable use of o and ou in words like colour and honour is not usually commented upon.
(Also see OFR file of transcription rules, under 'topics'.)
Notice that there is potential for interesting problems if the transcription is checked by machine for consistency of punctuation. It happens that there are more open quotes than close quotes, and for quotes to remain unclosed at the end of a page of text ...

Text Indexing
Keywords for indexing the text have been recorded, as well as I am able: using today's placenames as well as the text's versions; recognising unnamed places if possible; using locality type terms if nothing else is possible, in particular trying to spot "stations" ie special viewpoints; indexing objects and topics only if useful. Thus, I have tried to interpret and understand the text to make the indexing helful and comprehensible in today's world; a basic rule is "would you want this page if you were searching with this keyword?"

Marginal Comments
Marginal comments have been added by the present editor and attempt to structure the text into journeys and descriptions at viewpoints, the stations, and of places.

Map Indexing
We have indexed maps by cutting them up into 'squares', using the national grid so that all maps conform to some extent, and indexing placename in both map and standard spellings to the map square. It is fairly easy to find place within a square, as long as it is not too crowded, and the map square is presented at a reasonable size.
The analogous process with text is to cut it up into pages and index placenames to page, again using both the text and standard spellings. The index terms are in the set of keywords allocated by the editor. But it is always a bother trying to find a placename within a whole page of text; not too difficult, but more trouble than is reasonable. The bits of text relevant to one place might be scattered over several pages.

Gazetteer Extracts
For text, it is worth carrying out a further process. The chunks of text relevant to each place are extracted and gathered together, and loaded into the record for the place in a gazetteer. This is much easier to use. And you can still go to the original text and read it all in context. The gazetteer is arranged using standard placename spellings, today's version of the placename, but will be indexable on all sorts of spellings, and by other place data. The gazetteer can also hold extracts from other sources, and map square images.
Not all keywords allocated to the text will prompt a gazetteer entry. Some places in the text will be unidentifiable; for some places there will be no useful description (perhaps they shouldn't be indexed at all); some keywords are for other topics than places, char, clap bread, roads in general, etc.

Following West
Thomas West's description of his routes takes a great deal for granted; there are no grid references of locations, no step by step instructions. Thomas West uses trees and other landscape features for markers, which will have changed after more than 200 years. He travelled on foot and horseback so following his routes by car is not always practical; following them by foot would take more time than we have. Although paths are remarkably longlived they do change, as do roads. Some interpretation of Thomas West's routes is done from maps, some from our own travels, using car and foot. Forgive us our errors; we've done our best.
Thomas West in his time was a gentleman and could presume on other gentlemen. He could ask to cross their private grounds, stand in their gardens for views, and so on. Today this is not possible. As an individual you may be well behaved, gentlemanly, but the number of people wanting to see what there is to see, is too great for access to be granted so easily.

Thomas West suggests a number of stations from which to appreciate a view. These are noticed quite formally, in numbered sequences, for some of the lakes. But the reader should be aware that there are other stations along the way, referred to in the text without a heading, and that the system of headings is abandoned after Bassenthwaite Lake has been visited.
The gazetteer entries, and indexing keywords, use the term station followed with a pertinent placename. Other authors introduced their own stations at later dates. In particular notice that the maps of Peter Crosthwaite, drawn in the 1780s, plot both West's and Crosthwaite's own stations.
The reader must also be aware that the term station is also used by Thomas West for roman camps etc.

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