England and Wales
How the datasets are arranged (includes Glossary)
The datasets are written as Microsoft Excel 2000 spreadsheets.
Each row provides information about an individual case - for example, the patronal cult (commonly known as the 'dedication' or patronicium) of a church.
Each column is concerned with a specific class of information - for example, the parish in which that church is or was located, or, in another column, the earliest date at which the 'dedication' is recorded.
The datasets can be sorted and searched, to discover, for example, how many churches have (or had) dedications in honour of St George, and at what periods. (See more about sorting and searching, below.)
The value of spreadsheets is that they allow the viewer to see how groups of dedications within a single district (or, indeed, within a single place of worship) relate to each other in exceptionally significant ways. This is not possible using 'relational' databases such as Microsoft Access.
What if text is hidden? Viewing the data on-screen in interactive* mode, hidden text can be revealed by holding the cursor over one side of the topmost (shaded and lettered) cell in the column until the cursor changes shape from an open to a solid, arrowed cross, clicking and dragging the column divider as far as required. Where the data is saved as an Excel file off-line, clicking on any cell displays the text within it in the formula bar.
For more guidance on how the datasets are organised, click here.
*Unfortunately, to use the dataset Web pages interactively, you must have Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or later and Microsoft Office Web Components. This is a consequence of Microsoft's policies and not those of TASC. Sorry!
The datasets can be searched and sorted in a number of ways.
If a single record is sought, the simplest way is to use the Filter facility. If you wish to find an entry among those relating to a particular parish, click on the arrowed filter button at the top of the 'Parish' column. A display will appear with the names of all the parishes in the dataset listed alphabetically. 'Turn off' the tick in the box labelled '(Show All)', then scroll down and tick the box against the name of the parish required.
Similarly with groups of records, all the records relating to, say, a single cult can be similarly displayed.
To return to the dataset in its original state, use the 'Undo' button on the left of the toolbar (curled, left-pointing arrow).
The 'Autofilter' can be switched on and off. Use the 'filter jug' button to the right of 'ZA' in the toolbar. (To turn the Autofilter back on, all the records must be selected - by clicking on the blank, shaded cell at the top-left of the dataset.)
Viewing the data off-line as an Excel file saved to disk, the search facility using 'Edit' and then 'Find' may be quicker, if the correct spelling of the parish name is known.
These datasets are best sorted off-line, since the 'Sort' facility allows records to be interrogated three columns at a time. (For example, by 'Dedication', 'pc', and 'Date', to show all parish churches under a particular saint's patronage at a particular period. Further sorting of the required set of records can follow, either in situ or by saving the set to a new file.)
Sorting on-line can be achieved, however, by using the 'Sort' facility. The records are sorted one column at a time, but you must first select (highlight) all the records (by clicking on the blank, shaded cell at the top-left of the dataset).
DO NOT sort an individual column, or two or three columns, since this, of course, will 'shatter' the records. If you find you do this by mistake, use the 'Undo' button (the 'curled arrow' icon, pointing anticlockwise, on the left of the dataset toolbar). If this proves difficult, use your 'Back' button and load the Web page again.
Sorted records can be saved to disk by 'Select', 'Copy', and 'Paste'.
Without free access to the Web, it is likely to be cheaper, nevertheless, to download the dataset and work off-line. See the next section.
The datasets available on this page can be accessed in one of two ways, depending on the intended use.
For simple and speedy inquiries, it may be best to use them on the page, using one or more of the facilities described below.
For more complex uses - for example, to trawl a dataset, to work on it off-line, to amend it or to incorporate material in another dataset - it is easier (and probably cheaper!) to transfer data on to your own disk.
Transferring data is easily in done in one of several ways.
Option One: Select (highlight) the data required. (The whole dataset can be highlighted by clicking in the blank, lettered and shaded cell at the top left of the dataset.) Click on the 'Copy' button (the 'overlapping sheets' icon next to the scissors icon on the dataset toolbar). Switch to the spreadsheet program on your hard disk. Create a new file, and then use the 'Paste' tool to make a copy of the selected TASC data.
Option Two: Click on the 'Export to Excel' button (the 'green X and a pencil' icon towards the right of the dataset toolbar). This will open a copy of the dataset in Excel on your hard disk. Although this copy is marked 'read only' and is currently in your 'Temp[orary]' folder, it can be saved as a 'workable' file in the folder of your choice.
This option is in fact easier and quicker than Option One, if it's the whole dataset which you require. It is also the way in which the dataset can be viewed as its authors intended - read as a document or searched like an index.
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