• Census,  Source Spotlight

    Stories from an early 18th-century census: Introduction

    In 1724, 77 years before the first national census in Britain, vicar Henry Dawnay took a census of the village Puddletown in Dorset where he lived. He wrote his observations down in ‘An account of the inhabitants of Piddletown Parish 1724 Dorsetshire’. In the first of a series of posts on this source, I talk about what this exceptional document could tell us about life in eighteenth-century England. Puddletown, Dorset Puddletown lies about five miles north-east of Dorchester. You can see the boundary of the parish in the map below. Thanks to Dawnay’s census, we know that in 1724, it had a population of around 600. At that time it…