VCH Style Guidelines


The authority for most points concerning abbreviations is the Oxford Guide to Style, Chapter 3, Abbreviations and Symbols.
Try to make the abbreviations as intelligible as possible, even at the expense of slightly greater length. Short words are best not abbreviated; do not, for example, reduce ‘Feudal’ to ‘Feud.’ or ‘July’ to ‘Jul.’ In references excessive use of abbreviations in infrequently cited works is to be avoided. Works or institutions that are commonly cited in a particular volume should, however, be heavily abbreviated in that volume. Use abbreviated titles generally if they are frequently cited within the text and cross referenced in the list of abbreviations. Spell out in full if they occur only infrequently.

  • Abbreviations should be used in references. In particular, editors will wish to devise their own abbreviations of frequently cited sources specific to their county. All such abbreviations should be listed alphabetically in the preliminary pages of each volume. If standard abbreviations for periodicals or reference works are mentioned, ensure that they are also included in the list.
  • Avoid excessive use of punctuation after abbreviations, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Accepted acronyms abbreviations such as HMSO, (Her Majesty’s Stationery Office), DNB (Dictionary of National Biography), TNA (The National Archives), EETS (Early English Text Society) or VCH (Victoria County History) do not require any punctuation
  • Partial abbreviation such as Rot. Chart. (Rotuli Chartarum 1199—1216) or Cath. Rec. Soc. (Catholic Record Society) should carry full stops.
  • For further discussion of use of full point, in abbreviations: See Punctuation.


In footnotes, months should always be abbreviated with a full point as follows:

  • Jan.
  • Feb.
  • Mar.
  • Apr.
  • May
  • Jun.
  • Jul.
  • Aug.
  • Sept.
  • Oct.
  • Nov.
  • Dec.

United Kingdom (UK)

United Kingdom should be always be abbreviated without full points, i.e. UK, not U.K.


Member of Parliament (MP)

Member of Parilament should always be abbreviated without full points whether singular or plural.

  • MP
  • MPs

rods and perches

Imperial units of land measurement. Abbreviate as r. or p. whether singular or plural.

When using in text, add a space between the figure and the unit:

  • The inclosure award dealt with 512 a. 1 r. 5 p. of arable land.
  • Bury field in 1839 was 208 a. 1 r. 18 p. in extent.

See also: acre, acres


When used as part of a title of a periodical, abbreviate as Gaz. in footnotes.

  • London Gaz. 20 Nov. 1894, p. 6525
  • Edinburgh Gaz. 5 Nov. 1993, p. 3386.

Ridings (Yorks.)

Abbreviate the East, West or North Ridings of Yorkshire as follows:

  • Yorks. N.R.
  • Yorks. E.R.
  • Yorks. W.R.

See also: counties and county towns in the UK

bishop (abbreviation)

In footnotes, abbreviate bishop as bp without a full point.

account (abbreviation)

In the case of financial documents, abbreviate as acct without full point in footnotes. For example:

  • TNA, SC 6/HenVIII/3074. This is an undated and worn membrane from an acct roll, apparently for the Daubeney estates.


When used in footnotes, in reference to an unsorted collection of documents, for example, abbreviate as bdl without full point.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury

It should be abbreviated as PCC but should not be confused with parochial church council.

See also: PROB 11 (TNA series); probate grants