How to use the dataset

Extent and Integrity of Material

The Dataset of Subscribers contains transcriptions of the lists of subscribers found in printed music and associated material printed between 1676 and 1820.

There are 779 sources in the dataset; 690 collections are of printed music, with the remainder being lists of subscribers to printed works of poetry, fiction, biography and autobiography, trade directories and other significant publications. The total number of entries is appraocing 160,000.

The sources were obtained by a variety of methods, mainly from photographs made in person at archives and libraries, and scanned digital copies available online. The quality of the digital scans was variable and sometimes resulted in indiscernible text. The quality of the original material (both paper and ink) also created problems in the transcription process.

Release 1.2, Monday 19th December 2022

Transcription Process

The data was inputted by a combination of manual entry and optical character recognition software. Although each entry in a list is treated as discreet data, there are many instances where generic or specific information has been added to retain the source context. Additional information added to entries has been placed in square brackets. Examples of such information include where names are presented under a subheading in the source (e.g., ‘Additional Subscribers’), where an entry has been added by hand ‘[added by hand]’, and where ‘ditto’ or its abbreviation ‘do.’ has been used as a shorthand referring to information in the preceding entry (e.g., ‘Mrs Smith, ditto [London]’).

Where first names are not present in the source, printers would often leave a space or add a dash. In cases where a space precedes the entry in the source, a dash in brackets is used to avoid ambiguity.

Data Format

The source data, presented in the first column of the results table, has been separated into discrete fields and placed in subsequent columns so that users can interrogate the data more effectively using the filter functions. Due to the inconsistency of presenting names in the lists of subscribers, many of the fields remain blank; typically, subscribers’ addresses are not given, and first names are often absent.

In this Beta version of the dataset, the compilers have extrapolated much of the data, separating out individuals’ surname, honorific/title, gender, residence, etc. The following fields have been completed for every entry: Subscriber Gender; Subscriber Title/Honorific/Style. Other fields have been partially completed; details of these are below.

Data Field: Source Listing

The transcribed original entry.

Data Field: Source Publication

Each source publication is presented with the composer’s surname first for ease of finding, (e.g., ‘Alcock, John: Six Concerto’s in Seven Parts’).

Data Field: Source Composer

Data Field: Source Year

Sources with no clear date of publication have been included using an approximate date (e.g., ‘1800?’).

Data Field: Place of Publication

Data Field: Publisher

Sources that were published by the author are indicated as being ‘Printed for the Author’. The Beta version does not include details of the printers or music sellers.

Data Field: Source Genre

In this field can be found the broad genres of the source publications and any instrumentation prescribed or implied. In cases of vocal music, each entry in this field will start either ‘Sacred vocal’ or ‘Secular vocal’, followed by the genres (e.g., ‘Sacred vocal, psalmody, anthems’). Every genre has been listed accordingly for each publication, and where instrumentation is specified it is also indicated in this field. For example, searching ‘Piano’ in this column will reveal publications of sacred music that specify accompaniment with a piano, as well as publications of piano sonatas.

Data Field: Source Type

Note: the majority of publications in the dataset are of ‘Printed Music’, but a number of other related lists have been included. These include printed collections of poetry and novels, lists of subscribers to opera boxes, musicians included in directories and members of the Royal Society of Musicians.

Source types are:

  • Dance Manuals
  • Essays
  • Libretti
  • Literature
  • Literature, Autobiography
  • Literature, History
  • Literature, Music Writing
  • Literature, Novels
  • Literature, Plays
  • Literature, Poetry
  • Music Treatise
  • Printed Music
  • Trade Directories
Data Field: Subscriber Title/Honorific

This field has been populated from the source listing; as there is much inconsistency in how this information is presented in the publication lists, it should not be regarded as a wholly accurate representation of the individuals’ titles. With this in mind, the compilers have endeavoured to give as much information here to enable sophisticated filtering and searching of people by rank and class.

Key to forms of address, styles and honorifics

Where the rank of a subscriber is identifiable, the form of address has been dropped. For example:

‘The Right Hon. The Earl of Exeter.’ is simply listed as ‘Earl’ in this field.


‘Sir Samuel Hellier, Bart.’ is listed as Baronet.

Where individuals have multiple titles, these have been separated by a comma. For example:

‘Sir Lawrence Parson, Bart. Colonel, Royal King’s County Militia’ is listed as ‘Colonel, Baronet’.

Where a form of address is applied to more than one rank, the full honorific is used. For example:

‘The Honourable John Spencer’ (the youngest son of Earl Spencer) is listed as ‘Honourable’.


‘The Right Honourable Lord Guernsey’ (the eldest son of the Earl of Aylesford), listed as ‘Right Honourable Lord’.

Below is a short key to forms of address encountered in the dataset.

Nobility and Gentry

Duke. Styled ‘His Grace’. (where indicated in the source, members of the Royal Family are listed ‘HRH, Duke’)

Duchess. Styled ‘Her Grace’ (where indicated in the source, members of the Royal Family are listed ‘HRH, Duchess’)

Marquess. Styled ‘The Most Noble Marquess of Huntly’ or ‘The Right Honourable Marquess of Donegall’. Note, British often favoured the continental spelling, ‘Marquis’; all indications of this rank, including those of non-British noblemen, have been listed as ‘Marquess’.

Marchioness. Styled ‘The Most Noble…’ or ‘The Right Honourable…’

Earl. Styled ‘The Right Honourable Earl of Aylesford’

Countess. Styled ‘The Right Honourable Countess of Aylesford’

Viscount. Styled ‘The Right Honourable Viscount Dudley and Ward’

Viscountess. Styled ‘The Right Honourable Viscountess Gormanston’

Baron. Styled ‘The Right Honourable Lord Brownlow’

Baroness. Styled ‘The Right Honourable Lady Grantham’

Baronet. Styled ‘Sir Henry Harpur, Bart.’

Knight. Styled ‘Sir Charles Rich, Knight’ or ‘Sir John Mordaunt, K. B.’ (Knight Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, or ‘Knight of the Bath’) Note: Many chivalric orders have altered since 1820, and it is not necessarily the case that their abbreviations correspond with modern equivalents.

Lady. This title is used for the wives of marquesses, earls, viscounts, barons, knights, and their daughters.

Honourable. This title is used for the younger sons of earls, all children of viscounts and barons/Lords of Parliament.


Rector and Vicar-subscribers have been given the honorific ‘Reverend’, regardless of whether this is used in the source listing. For example:

‘The Right Honourable and Reverend’


Doctors have also been included in this field. A distinction between medical and other subject doctors has been made where apparent, therefore ‘Randall Mus. Doc.’ is listed as ‘Doctor of Music’, and ‘Potter, M.D.’ is listed as ‘Doctor’ in this field. Where known, subscribers have been described as Doctor of Music even without this indication (e.g., ‘Dr Aylward’).

Members of Parliament are indicated in the Subscriber Occupation field.

Non-British honorifics and styles have been retained but adapted to minimise the variables resulting from numerous languages and inconsistency of spellings. For example, ‘conte’, ‘conde’ and comte’, etc. have all been rendered in the Italian form (conte) in this field. The exception to this is ‘Marquis’, which has been indicated as ‘Marquess’ (see above).


Where a subscriber entry indicates more than one person, the term Messrs is used. This was a usual practice when indicating business partnerships, (e.g., ‘Goulding, Willis, & Co. Music-sellers’ or ‘Messrs Thoroughgood and Horn, Music Sellers in Cheapside’). Sole trader businesses have been indicated using the individual’s title (e.g., ‘Mr. Skillern Music Seller’ has been indicated with the ‘Mr’ honorific). In cases where the subscriber is a known business (such as the previous example), it may be indicated in the Subscriber Occupation field.

Data Field: Subscriber Gender

Each entry has been given one of the following indications:

  • M: Male
  • F: Female
  • M/F: Male and female subscribers (often husband and wife)
  • Other: Institutions, churches, societies, businesses including publishing partnerships; e.g., ‘Messrs Longman & Broderip’, or ‘Dean and Chapter’
  • Unknown

Note: in transcribing the lists, the compilers have assumed that any subscriber indicated by an initial followed by surname (e.g., ‘J. Potter’), is male. Female subscribers have been listed in this field where their names are preceded by the honorific ‘Mrs’, ‘Miss’, ‘Countess’, etc. as well as their full given names (e.g., ‘Sarah Fisher’).

Data Fields: Subscriber Forename

Note: This field is incomplete in Version 1.2.

Data Field: Subscriber Surname

Note: This field is incomplete in Version 1.2.

Data Field: Subscriber Occupation

Where indicated, the occupation of the subscriber is presented in this column. Occupations have been organised in broad terms with more detail for musicians.

Note: subscribers indicated as being professionals belonging to a choir, whether described as ‘vicar-choral’, ‘Gentleman of the Chapel Royal’, etc., have been listed here as ‘Lay clerk’.

Data Fields: Subscriber Institution

Where indicated, the institution(s) the subscribers are associated with is presented in this column. Institutions fall broadly into the following categories:

Universities, for example, ‘Oxford: Christ Church College’ or ‘Cambridge: Jesus’ College’

Religious institutions, for example, ‘Cathedral: Southwell Minster’ or ‘Cathedral: Westminster Abbey’

Musical Organisations, for example, ‘RSM’ (Royal Society of Musicians).

Bishops have been categorised as belonging to a cathedral, rather than using a separate category ‘Diocese’.

A list of abbreviations is listed below.

Data Field: Subscriber Instrument

If a specific instrument(s) is indicated in the source entry, the instrument is listed in this column. The compilers have added instruments to some entries where there is no indication, but which is generally known.

Data Field: Subscriber Place

Where an entry indicates the specific place of residence of the subscriber, it is presented in this column. House numbers have been omitted in this Version of the dataset.

Note: This field is incomplete in Version 1.2.

Data Field: Subscriber County

Where known, the county of residence of the subscribers is listed here. Note: Historical counties have been used here (e.g., Birmingham is listed as Warwickshire, not West Midlands). For more information on historical counties, see The Historic Counties Trust.

Data Field: Subscriber Dates

Where known from other sources, the dates of the subscribers are listed in this column.

Note: This field is incomplete in Version 1.2.

Data Field: No. of Sets subscribed for

This indicates the number of sets a subscriber was due to have received.

Data Field: Author Location

Where known, the place associated with the author/composer at the time of publication is presented here.

Data Field: Dedicatee

Where a publication has a dedicatee, their name(s) is presented in this column as they appear on the publication.

Data Field: Dedicatee Gender

Note: where the dedication is to an institution (e.g., ‘The Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral of Worcester’, or ‘The Philharmonic Society’), the gender is ‘other’.

Data Field: Notes made by the compilers

Note: This field is unavailable in Version 1.2.

Data Field: References

Short-hand references to external sources.

Note: This field is unavailable in Version 1.2.

Common Abbreviations used in the sources

First Names

Abm., Abrm. Abraham

Ambe. Ambrose

Anty. Anthony/Antony

Benjn. Benjamin

Chars., Chas. Charles

Crisr. Christopher

Elizh. Elizabeth

Fra., Fcis., Fras. Francis

Geo., Geoe. George

Heny. Henry

Hump. Humfrey/Humphrey

Ino. John

Jas. James

Johan. Jonathan

Josh. Joshua

Margt: Margaret

Natl. Nathaniel

Nichs., Nics. Nicholas

Richd: Richard

Rt., Rob., Robt. Robert

Sam., Saml., Sl. Samuel

Stpn: Stephen

Theore. Theodore

Theo: Theodore or Theophilis

Tho., Thos. Thomas

Wllm., Wm. William


A.M. Master of Arts

D.D. Doctor of Divinity

F. R. S. Fellow of Royal Society (London)

F, S, A. Fellow of Society of Antiquaries

L.L.D Doctor of Law

M.A. Master of Arts

M.D. Doctor of medicine

M. P. Member of Parliament

Mus. D. Doctor of Music

Мus. В., Mus. Bac. Bachelor of Music

Forms of address/honorifics

Bart., Bar, Bt. Baronet

Capt., Captn., Ct. Captain

Col., Coll. Colonel

Comr. Commoner / Commander

Csse. Countess

Dr Doctor

Duchsse., Ds., Dsse. Duchess

Gent., Gt. Gentleman

Hon., Honble, Hle. Honourable

K.B. Knight of the Bath

K.G. Knight of the Garter

K.T.: Knight of the Thistle

Mad:, Made.: Madame

Mess. Messr. Messrs: messieurs (misters)

Mr: Mister

Mrs: Mistress (married)

Sr,: Sir

Qr. Masr.: Quarter-master

Regt. Ft. Gds.: Regiment of Foot Guards

Visctss.: Viscountess


Bks.: Books

Gt.: Great

Cops., Cop: Copies

Orgst., Orgt.: Organist