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The second half of the 17th century saw a spate of DIY surveying manuals -especially Leybourn's "Compleat Surveyor" of 1653, which went through five editions between then and 1722 - but also my favourite, Adam Martindale's "Country Survey Book, or Land Meters Vade Mecum" of 1681, which suggested getting started by surveying one’s own study, using pack-thread with one hundred knots, each half an inch apart, standing in for Gunter’s Chain and its links. What is more difficult to find out is the extent to which the ordinary 'middling sort' actually took up and ran with these ideas, as opposed to just reading about them in a theoretical sort of way. I have had two cases from probate inventories drawn to my attention of yeomen (not surveyors) owning surveying equipment - one Richard Mosse of Lathom (1671) owned "Tooles for measuring ground ...5s", while Gabriel Walker of Burscough (1676) owned "one stake and 2 Chains to measure ground ... 3s 4d". How usual (or unusual) are these? Has anyone any other examples - especially ownership of chains and/or circumferentors or similar?
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