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British dating style

Compare the symbol for about a pound in weight, which is represented by ‘lb’ - it comes from the same. A shilling was represented by ‘s’, originally short for ‘solidos’, a Roman coin. A penny was represented by ‘d’, short for ‘denarius’, a Roman coin. A halfpenny was represented by ‘ob’, short for ‘obolus’, a Roman coin. A farthing was represented by ‘qua’, short for ‘quadrans’. When transcribing documents that mention amounts of money, do not expand the abbreviations such as li, ob, etc.Leave them abbreviated, and remember to transcribe li as ‘£’. Top of page Square measurements were given in acres (abbreviated to ‘a’), roods (‘r’) and perches (‘p’).

The Calendar Act 1752 brought about further changes.

Ordinal numbers are represented by superscript letters following them, just as today. Top of page Money was calculated in pounds, shillings and pence. The pound was represented either by ‘li’, or £: transcribe both with a £ sign before the amount given. It was worth two-thirds of a pound, that is 13s 4d.

This symbol is actually an elaborate ‘L’, from the Latin ‘libra’, meaning pound. Half a mark (one-third of a pound) was therefore 6s 8d.

Watch out for documents written in the reign of Charles II.

Although he came to the throne in May 1660, after the Commonwealth period, he actually calculated his regnal year as beginning on 30 January 1649, the date of the execution of his father Charles I.

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For further information about measurement see Colin Chapman, ‘How heavy, how much and how long?