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Palaeography  

Introduction to transcribing document 4

Try your hand at transcribing document 4. 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!

The document is written in a mixed cursive hand which uses letter forms from both secretary [see Document 3] and legal hands. In this document you should watch for:

Answer in legal proceedings about land on the Isle of Wight. 1509-47. Cat ref: STAC 2/14 f 10. Authors and copyright, Nicholas Porter, William Nayler and William Wheler - enlargement opens in a new window
  • The letter forms more typical of legal hands which are:
2 compartment 'g'
2 compartment 'g'
2 compartment 'a'
2 compartment 'a'

long 'r'
long 'r' (often the return upstroke is not visible)
letter 'r' used after rounded letter forms
unless the 'r' occurs after round bodied letters, in which case an 'r' like this is used
(You may see this in other documents looking more like a number '2')

Sigma 's', not to be confused with the cursive 'e'

sigma s
sigma 's'
cursive e
cursive 'e'

The ascenders of tall letters are looped:

letter 'b'
'b'
letter 'd'
'd'
letter 'l'
'l'
letter 'h'
'h'
  • Capitals
Capital 'N' As always, the capital letters can be the most difficult to work out. Try to work them out from the context, and refer to the Alphabet provided. This is particularly the case where the capital 'W' is identical to a lower case 'w'. Also watch out for the capital 'N'. Sometimes capital 'N's can look like an 'R' or 'H' or a large 'h', and sometimes they can look like nothing in particular!

The context will usually give them away. See, for example, Nicholas: line 1 (view image).

  • Abbreviations
abbreviation for 'er' 'er' - this symbol means that 'er' has been left out. See, for example, sovereign: line 10.

terminal 'r' 'r' - in this document this symbol is being used for a terminal 'r' preceded by a missing letter or letters, usually 'o' or 'ou'. See demeanour: line 8.
  • Plural or genitive symbol
Plural or genitive symbol This symbol is used at the end of a word to replace the plural or genitive ending. See defendants: line 7. Depending on the way the scribe pronounced his plurals, the symbol could be standing in for 'es', 'is' or 'ys', and it might not be clear which one you should use. In this case it is suggested that you expand it as 'es'
  • And finally...

Watch out for squiggles at the end of words which are not abbreviations but merely flourishes. See for example Wyllyam: line 1, and byll: line 2. The flourish on the double 'l' of byll could make it look like 'byth' or 'bylk'... but having first read the contextual information, which explains that you are dealing with a bill of complaintGlossary - opens in a new window, you won't be caught out!

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