Richard Benese, Boke of measurying of lande
This copy of Benese’s text, printed in 1563, is part bibliographic memorial and part prospective guide. When it was published for the first time (in 1537) it came out of Benese’s frustration with imprecise and momentary means of land measurement, such as by ears of corn, which lead to flawed real estate transactions. While Benese hoped to standardize practices in the ostensible service of “all men,” he kept inherited historiographic practices in mind: “evermore myndinge & labouringe (as the forsayd Romaynes dyd) to increase the common wealth, havinge also this saying of the Phylosopher in memory. The more profytable a thing is, the more it shulde be common…” (Preface, A5v). It is not without irony, then, that in the years immediately following its publication, this democratic Boke dictated the geometric surveying practices employed in the dissolution of the monasteries, without any doubt the largest transaction of property into Britain had ever seen. This 1563 edition thus recalls the text’s political and economic history while continuing to shape the standardization of practices in future property transactions.