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Palaeography  

Introduction to transcribing document 10

Try your hand at transcribing document 10. You can use the interactive transcribing exercise and the computer will give you a score. Or if you prefer you can print out the document and work through it yourself on paper. A full transcript is available for you to check your own work.

Transcription tips - READ THESE FIRST!

Extract, Act of Parliament establishing a turnpike road. 1760. Cat ref: C 65/739 m 2 - enlargement opens in a new window

This document is written in a late example of Chancery handGlossary - opens in a new window. Chancery hand was the set style of handwriting used in the royal chancery at Westminster. Its use continued for the enrolment of acts of Parliament until 1836.

In this document you should watch out for:

  • Abbreviations

There are few abbreviations in this document: the main difficulty comes from the very distinctive letter-forms. The letters are very spiky and angular, and 'biting' (the running together of adjacent letters) occurs between contrasting curves of adjacent letters. Refer to the Alphabet to help you.

  • Capitals

The capital letters are very hard to work out, for example:

capital 'B' capital 'B'

Capital 'M' capital 'M' is made up of three minims, which in Chancery hand may be joined together by strokes at the top [like a modern 'm'], at the top and bottom or
capital 'M' joined at bottom just at the bottom, (making it look like how you would expect a 'W' to look, however see below for a real 'W'), or
Capital 'M' - joining strokes not visible

the joining strokes might not be visible at all, leaving you with three minims.

Capital 'M's differ from lower case 'm's in that the last minim of a capital 'M' always descends below the line.

Capital 'S' capital 'S'

Capital 'W' capital 'W'
  • 'r'

There are two forms of lower case 'r', the '2' shaped one which occurs after 'o', and the long 'r' which descends below the line. The long 'r' can consist of no more than a single downstroke, with no horizontal stroke at all. This can make it quite hard to distinguish, particularly when combined with a preceding 'e'. See for example very, line 11.

  • 'c'

The lower case 'e' tends to not have a central stroke, so can look more like a 'c', or an 'o' if it is biting with the next letter.

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