In her continuing effort to find an honorable person in one of our backgrounds, Shirley is reading William M. Metcalfe’s, 1905, The History of the County of Renfrew. She ran across this rather abnormal passage,
Among his prisoners in the castle was Thomas Earl of Angus, who died there in 1364. Four years later he sold a horse to the King for £20; and in 1379 the King sent him a pipe of wine.
I haven’t read much of this book. Not being abnormally interested in persons of honor, I leave that to Shirley. But of the little I have read or had quoted to me, I haven’t found a single pronoun, and they occur in profusion, whose antecedent was completely clear and I don’t think Shirley has either. I’m guessing that the “his” in the first line refers to Sir John Denniston. Mentioned some eight sentences and a dozen pronouns before the above quotation, John Denniston is the most likely proper name presenting itself as a candidate antecedent for “his.” But even that identification is far from certain. I’m guessing that the “he” in the last quoted sentence is the same follow and not the prisoner Thomas Earl of Angus but you couldn’t be sure from syntax, at least modern syntax, alone. If this last sentence read, “Four years later he was found and buried and in 1379 he rose from the dead,” you might have a few questions, but who “he” is wouldn’t be among of them.
Does the book mention any of my relatives? Yes, at least one, Alexander Porterfield. But just how many depends in several places who he is.