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Introduction to transcribing document 3

Try your hand at transcribing document 3. 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!

In this document you should watch out for:

Statement by James Machary, sailor with the Spanish Armada. 29 December 1588. Cat ref: SP 63/139 no 25 f 82. Crown copyright  - enlargement opens in a new window
  • Capital letters - as in document 2, the capital letters are particularly tricky. Refer to the alphabet to help you.

  • The 'h' with a long descender (tail), particularly when it is joined to the preceding or following letter.
See for example, fflemmyshe: line 6.

  • The letter 'x', which could be mistaken for a 'p'.
See for example, examinac[i]on:line 1.

  • The long 's' which can also be hard to distinguish when it is joined to other letters.
See for example, fflemmyshe:line 6.

  • Sloping ascenders (upwards strokes) on some 'd's and 'a's. They can be particularly confusing when they cross other letters.
See for example and: line 5. The word souldiors (for example line 7) is particularly hard to read, as the ascender of the 'd' goes completely through the 'l'.


In this document you will meet some abbreviations that you have already learnt in earlier documents, as well as some new ones.

  • 'cion' / 'tion': The second word of the document contains a common abbreviation sign found in words which end 'tion' or 'cion'. Usually it is just a dash over the 'o', but here it is a bit more elaborate.



  • 'wt' : This is the abbreviation for 'with'. It is also sometime written 'wth'.

  • 'r'
Terminal 'r' where preceding letter is missing In this document this symbol is being used for a terminal 'r' preceded by a missing letter. See line 19, armo[u]r.

Also in this document the writer tends automatically to put a full stop after Arabic numbers and a colon after proper names. Do not include these in your transcription unless of course the full stop represents the end of a sentence.