A Fête at Bermondsey, c. 1570 (oil on panel), Gheeraerts, Marcus, the Elder (c. 1520-90) / Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, UK / Bridgeman Images

How REED Defines Locations

We share the list of terms below to explain our understanding of how places appear in REED Online records that provide context for performance in pre-modern England, Scotland and Wales. These definitions are rooted in the Oxford English and Oxford American Dictionaries and are as etymologically specific as possible to the time frame in which our work deals; where necessary definitions have been amended and are indicated in the Source column. The examples listed are from records in our collections.

The list was developed in partnership with Diane Jackaki and her REED London Online project. Please cite this work as follows:

Chung, Kathy K.Y., Diane K. Jakacki, Sally-Beth MacLean, and Illya Nokhrin. 'How REED Defines Locations.' REED Online, 2024. https://ereed.library.utoronto.ca/about/locations/.'

Term                    REED Definition                                                Example(s)                      Definition source            

arena A level area in which sports, entertainments, and other public events are held. Includes cockpits, tiltyards, animal baiting arenas. Bear Garden 3 New Oxford American Dictionary, 3rd ed. Amended.

bridge A structure forming or carrying a road, path, etc, which spans a body of water, a roadway, a valley, or some other obstacle or gap, and allows a person or vehicle to pass unimpeded over or across it. London Bridge OED 1. Amended.

church A building for public Christian worship or rites such as baptism, marriage, etc, traditionally cruciform in shape, and typically having a tower, dome, or spire; distinguished originally from an oratory or place of private prayer. St Peter and Paul, church of; Westminster Abbey OED 1a.

A house owned by a church; esp. a building next to a church, in which social events, meetings, etc, connected with the church are held; a church hall. Also: a house provided by the church for a member of the clergy; a parochial. OED

country The territory of a nation England, France OED 5. Amended.

county An administrative division of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Middlesex, Surrey OED I.

ecclesiastical area A geographic region formally connected to a religious organization, such as a diocese, archdeaconry, etc. Does not include parishes. Richmond, archdeaconry of; Winchester, diocese of

gate An opening in a wall, made for the purpose of entrance and exit, and capable of being closed by a movable barrier, the existence of which is usually implied; said with reference to a city or other enclosure, or the enclosure-wall of a large building, formerly also to the building itself, where door or doors is now commonly employed. Westgate OED 1.

guildhall The hall in which a guild met. From its use as a meeting-place for the town and corporation often synonymous with 'town-hall.' The Townhouse, Linton OED

hospital A house or hostel for the reception and entertainment of pilgrims, travellers, and strangers; a hospice. Hence, one of the establishments of the Knights Hospitallers; or an institution or establishment for the care of the sick or wounded, or of those who require medical treatment. St Cross Hospital, Winchester OED 1 and 3.

Inn of Court The four sets of buildings in London (the Inner Temple, the Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn) belonging to the four legal societies which have the exclusive right of admitting persons to practise at the bar, and hold a course of instruction and examination for that purpose; hence, these four societies themselves. Gray's Inn OED 5c.

liberty (a) An area of local administration distinct from neighbouring territory and possessing a degree of independence. In extended use: a precinct, a domain. Also in plural in same sense. (b) The district outside a city over which its jurisdiction extends. Also in plural in same sense. (c) Chiefly in plural and also with capital initial. An area outside a prison within which, on payment of a security, certain prisoners, esp. debtors, were permitted to reside. Clink, the Soke OED 6c.

manor An estate of a lord, including both the land and the manor house or mansion; a landed possession. Note: Manor houses themselves are categorized as 'residences' and may have different names from the manor itself. If the name is the same, then the manor house name is capitalized (eg, Holcombe Burnell Manor) Great Linton Manor, Paris Garden Manor OED 1. Emphasis and note added.

open area An open space, often with poorly defined boundaries, such as a field, park, forest, market, etc Whitby Market OED "area" 1.

other catch all for misfits; misc.

parish An area or district having its own priest, vicar, or other incumbent under the jurisdiction of a bishop (to whom tithes and ecclesiastical dues were formally paid); a territorial subdivision of a diocese. The smallest unit of local government in many rural areas.The existing ecclesiastical parishes were adopted by the Tudor state for civil purposes in a series of legislative measures beginning in the 1530s. These involved the parish having local responsibility for vital registration, highways, militia matters, and, above all, poor relief, roles which were largely retained until the 1830s. All Hallows Bread Street, St Saviour Southwark OED 2a. and 3a. Amended.

place of punishment A building or other location where people are disciplined for a crime or other offence, where people are held while awaiting trial, or where people are incarcerated. Marshalsea Prison, Tower of London OED 'prison' 1b. Significantly amended.

playhouse An edifice specially adapted to dramatic representations Fortune Playhouse, Rose Playhouse OED 'theatre' 2a.

property A piece of land under one ownership. Sometimes a landed estate. Little Rose, the Unicorn OED 3c. Slightly amended.

A house or building inhabited by a religious order; an abbey, monastery, convent, etc; places where the religious orders lived and includes: priories, friaries, monasteries, nunneries, etc. Ely Priory OED. amended

The place where a person resides; the dwelling place or home of a person (esp one of some rank or distinction). Gilling Castle, Hampton Court OED 4a.

school An establishment or institution for the formal education of children or young people. Includes colleges and universities as well as grammar schools, primary schools, etc. Cambridge University OED II. 5a. Amended.

settlement A collection of dwelling-houses and other buildings identified as a single geo-political or administrative unit (such as a town or city). London, York OED 'village' 1a. and TEI def of settlement. Amended.

street A path or way between different places, or leading to some place (including lanes, alleys, roads). Fleet Street, Rose Alley OED "road" 4a.

town hall A building used for the administration of local government, the holding of court sessions, public meetings, entertainments, etc; (in early use also) a large hall used for such purposes within a larger building or set of buildings. town hall, Reading OED 1a.

A house where victuals are supplied or sold; an eating-house, inn, or tavern. Boar's Head Inn, Dancing Bears OED.

ward An administrative division of a borough or city; originally, a district under the jurisdiction of an alderman. Also, the people of such a district collectively. In Anglo-Latin documents the wards (wardæ) of London are mentioned by that name from the 12th cent, sometimes designated by the name of the alderman and sometimes by their locality. Cripplegate OED 19a.

A body or mass of standing or flowing water (natural or artificial), irrespective of size or type; a sea, lake, river, etc. sewers, Southwark OED "water" 11a. Amended.

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