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Sncient Handuxritings
An Introductory Manual for Intending Students of Palaeography and Diplomatic,
BY

WILLIAM

SAUNDERS.

To J. A. M, S.

1909.
CHAS. A. BERNAU, WALTOX-ON-THAMKS.

. M A R Y A X E . S T . PRINTERS.5 D U N N . LONDON. C . E . . COLLIN & CO.

A N INTRODUCTORY MANUAL FOR INTENDING STUDENTS OF PALEOGRAPHY AND DIPLOMATIC." * For genealogical purposes the latter is not so necessary as a thorough grounding in the former. we must begin with the very first appearance of an attempt on the part of man to keep a permanent record of his deeds. the contents of the documents. To do so in an adequate manner then. . Diplomatic r * Le palatographs eludie le corps des chartres> le diplomatist c en ctudic I'd me. the learned Professor of Palaeography in the University of Chartres< " Palaeography studies the body. and even the individuals who produced them. intentions. The first of these is the science of Palaeography." . In the words of M.. is chiefly concerned with the style of the document. . The rules for deciphering.sciences. i . and desires. which has for its province the mere deciphering of the writings. . wdiile Diplomatic studies the soul of the Document. . until Palaeography . and with the special methods of assigning dates. our chief and first attention must be devoted to the systematic study of Palaeography. on the other hand. Diplomatic. I^eon Gautier.the old handwritings encounters in documents of an earlier date than the seventeenth ceuturv.ANCIENT HANDWRITINGS. distinct though related and interacting. and thence we must follow the development of the writing step by step. are embodied in two . the second of the sciences. and though in the following essay Diplomatic will not be neglected. with the peculiar formulas which kept changing from age to age. of the implements by which it was produced. . -. as well as questions concerning the nature of the material upon which it is imposed. „ . . and of the medium through which the thought and intention of the writer are recorded.

term Palaeography is derived from two Greek words (iraXmog. when the great reformation in . which was little Alphabet different from the printed capital letters at present in use. Thus also from certain knowledge of a known system we shall be able to draw inferences with something nearly approaching to conviction as to their correctness. which only deals with the writings derived from the Roman or Latin alphabet. as inscriptions on stone. however. viz. both ancient and modern. and forms which must appear meaningless and arbitrary to the uninstructed. a. and in all languages. The only difference lies in the fact that in these old MSS. That which concerns us. By tracing the evolutionary system in this way.: those produced earlier than the Handwritings reign of Charlemagne. not necessarily in the Latin language. as well as those upon paper or parchment. although the great bulk of the writings which we have to consider arc in the low Latin of the Middle Ages. with regard to writings which were hitherto unfamiliar or unknown. and the science to which the time applies takes cognisance of all kinds of ancient writing. and ypd^w. The earliest documents were entirely written in capitals.4 Ancient we arrive at the point where the invention of printing stereotyped and fixed a standard by which future generations were to be guided. is known as Latin Palaeography. Our starting point then is the Roman The Roman alphabet as it was in the time of Cicero. no breaks occur between w ords. without the slightest regard being paid to the structure or etymology of the words. and surprise us no longer. we shall be all the better able to understand the various modifications which letters undergo from time to time. x 7 The PreWe shall now briefly consider the pre-Caroline or preCarolingian Carolingian hands. and are as easy to read as is anything in such characters written at the present day. ypai//w =to write). and the writing finishes at the end of one line and commences at the beginning of the next. on coins and on seals.=old or ancient. OK . will at once take their natural place in the developmental process.

Instead of curves the letters take an angular form. had such far-reaching effects. but it was frequently used during the Middle ages for ornamental pur­ poses in Biblical and Liturgical MSS. There are very few MSS. The cause of the decadence was. as D . SQUARE CAPITALS : This is the style still in use. The Majuscule hands comprise the first four of the following. and even in Charters and other documents square capitals are occasionally met with.Handwritings 5 writing took place. were known as Majuscule. d 1 T • A charac­ teristic of this style also was the fact that all the letters were not of equal length and did not adhere strictly to the Hues. but frequently extended both above and below them.—These are modifications of the Square Capitals. extant which are entirely written in this form. which were entirely composed of capitals. to which reference has already been made. which may be taken in chronological order. T H E PUNITIVE or ANGULAR type which is found principally in inscriptions on stone or coins. RUSTIC CAPITALS . and the concomitant carelessness 011 the part of the scribe. and mark the first step in the degeneracy which. a n 1 . in the late Middle Ages. of course. while the mixed hands and those in small letters are called Minuscule.. There were five distinct species of these hands. but we have in the fifth the earliest tendency towards the Minuscule and Cursive styles:— 1. 3. and which makes such a work as this so necessary an adjunct to the paraphernalia of the working genealogist. J = L . the increasing necessity for writing more swiftly. often a part or the whole of the first line being in these characters.. O = O j and JT* P 2. J> = D of which the Greek A is a survival. f = E . Those writings. The most characteristic examples of letters in this style are / \ = A .

can generally be estimated by reference to the letters E and M. . = B = = 5. but it may have come from the Latin Uncia—an inch. the higher in the £ will the tongue appear. <Y>.—This is an exceedingly important form as it marks the transition * The reason why words were not separated was the fact thai. like the Rustic. There was still no separation of the words. Uncial writing was in use from the second to the ninth century. happens to be. €.* and punctuation was comparatively rare. and is important as it formed one of the principal bases upon which the Caroline Reform was effected. littcris. scribes were compelled to economise space as much as possible. which were now in use. or MINED UNCIAL . such as parchment or vellum. HALF UNCIAL . The characteristic letters are d A 5 t5 D . UNCIAL writing is. a phase of the subject which will be dealt with at greater length later. It first appears in St. The derivation of the term Uncial is not certain. The chief characteristic of Uncial writing lies in the fact that the main vertical strokes generally rise above or fall below the line. and probably originated in the same manner as the Angular form. uncialibus> utvulgo aiunt. thus (Y>. There were also few abbreviations and contractions. forming as it does one of the greatest obstacles the palaeo­ grapher has to overcome. The age of an Uncial MS. The only wonder is that they were so long in introducing the Minuscule and Cursive forms. a modification of the regular capital. h H . materials being so costly. The earlier the MS. which was easier to make on stone or metal. while curves were easier to form on the softer materials. Jerome's Preface to the Book of Job. E . though it would almost require a special treatise to itself. (Y) = M.6 Ancient 4. and the more perpendicular is the first limb of the . but instead of being square like the former it is round. DKMI-UNCIAL.

Examples are to be found chiefly in Pompeian Wall Inscriptions. so it need not concern us here. as has been remarked. the two forms became to a large extent merged into one. (b) G is invariably made up of three distinct strokes.: UC* sometimes Hke two cs in the same position AC. on Waxen Tablets. however. Handbook. and there was practically no distinction between them during the later Middle Ages. We now pass to the true Cursive and Minuscule Cursive forms of handwriting. were to a considerable extent moulded. Alphabets of these early forms are given 1 . and the distinction between the two might be compared with that which to-day exists between ordinary type printing and individual handwriting.f now known only from graffiti or wall inscriptions. a tendency to combine the literary and cursive styles can be discerned. or Imperial Rescripts. 3 •5i 5 (c) The last limb of the M turns to the left 7 > 3 . The former of these as used by the Romans is. (e) R is always cursive ~P i T . In time. however. waxen tablets. in Sir E. About the seventh or eighth century. but there was also a correlative and more widely used form known as Cursive writing. viz.* The following are the principal marks by which demi-uncial writing may be recognised :— (a) A is sometimes in the form of an i and a c juxtaposed. and on this combination the five National hands. It must not be forgotten that all these hands constitute the literary forms of writing. and in Imperial Rescripts. they are only dealt with here in passing. Maunde Thompson's f See above note. and is only of antiquarian interest. * A s the pre-Carolingian Cursive forms are of little or no value from the evolutionary point of view.Handwritings 7 between the Majuscule and Minuscule or Cursive forms. which now became the vogue in Europe. (d) N is always a square capital 14.

and were national only in so far as they were worked out on lines peculiar to the nations whence they derived their names. and are of special interest to us. with a single excep­ tion. Two of these National hands were derived from the Roman Half-Uncial writings. and this was modified and improved by the Irish scribes until it acquired the well-nigh perfect forms which continue to the present day.—The first is known as the Irish National Hand or Scriptures Scotia. In one instance. and because they were peculiar to our own land:— i.8: The Fiye " National" Handwritings Ancient Concerning the five National hands little need be said here. Though alien to the purpose of this book. is the most characteristic example. and is the most important of them all. . for notwithstanding their historical import­ ance. were counted with the aid of a magnifying glass in a single square inch. They were all derived from the Roman forms. both on account of their great beauty. Dublin. The Roman missionaries first introduced the Uncial writing into Ireland. and of which the famous Book of Kells. from our point of view. derived from the earlier Byzantine art. the difference being . SCRIPTURUS SCOTIA . they. as they were not really so in the sense of having been invented by the various nations by whom they were utilised. often terminating in the heads of griffins. in the Library of Trinity College. The epithet National is somewhat misleading. and consisting of interlaced ribbon ornaments of the most delicate description. it may be remarked in passing that the intensely beautiful illumination in this wonderful M S . . all perfectly distinct. 158 interlacements. as it alone had a durable influence on all the hands of Europe. There are two species of writing in the Irish hand. contribute little to the development of Palaeo­ graphy. termed Round and Pointed respectively. is one of the most typical features of this hand and period.

. having been directly derived from it.Handwritings 9 that in the latter the letters are laterally compressed and pointed instead of being round. and cannot be despised) upon the evolution of the writings. The development and evolution of these forms it will presently be our duty to follow. ANGLO-SAXON HANDWRITING . but is a little longer [ . The characteristic letters are the I. The descent from the Roman Cursive can generally be traced in its earliest examples. It was introduced into Scotland and England by Irish missionaries. We shall first. the T. the invaders retaining their own forms for all legal purposes. and some of these are very beautiful. resembling two es stuck together. the writings of the Continental schools gradually began to filter into the country. in this hand. if not more so. which is like the demi-Uncial R. as the official hand. as in the Book of Kells. are quite as remarkable as the best of the Irish MSS. such as the Half-Uncial copy of the Lindisfarne Gospels. which is like the demi-Uncial T. when the native English Minuscule. . however. and some of the earlier MSS. LOMBARDIC HAND . because of their bearing (which. though comparatively small. and to exercise a modifying influence upon the handwriting of the period. This reached its culmina­ tion at the Norman Conquest. from which the working genealogist may hope to obtain the greater part of his material.—We now come to the AngloSaxon Hand which at first was similar to the Irish form. devote a brief con­ sideration to the Continental National Hands derived from the Roman Minuscule and Cursive writings. Before long. disappeared. however. and the R.—From the ninth to the thirteenth century the National Handwriting of Italy was known as the Iyombardic Hand. which is usually very tall . was not un­ important.

—The Merovingian Hand. ViSiGOTHic. it may be mentioned. lists of which I shall be pleased to send to inquirers on receipt of a stamped and addressed envelope. should take as a basis Chapters XVI. Toledo was the great school in which it flourished. as quum invariably used instead of cum. It was very rude and varied widely in character. in Visigothic stands for per. some of the better examples closely resembling the Eombardic hand. of Sir Edward Maunde Thompson's excellent Handbook of Greek and Latin Palaeography. and treatises on these systems. 5. The usual contrac­ tion for per. was used over the whole extent of the Frankish Empire. In dealing with the National Hands I have not deemed it necessary to give any minute examples or facsimiles. the last of the National styles. It never acquired the beauty which was so strong a characteristic of the Eombardic Hand. whether for practical or historical purposes. published in the International Science Series.10 Ancient 4. It had some peculiarites which were foreign to other hands. and are worthy of remark. and as the Caroline Minuscule was the actual progenitor of the Roman hand and the writings with which the genealogist is principally concerned. as their value to the genealogist is chiefly historical.—Visigothic was the name given to the National Hand of Spain. The chief importance of the Merovingian style of writing lies in the fact that it was upon it that the Caroline reform was based.* * There are also several good foreign collections of facsimiles. it is from the period at which it was consummated that our detailed and analytic survey must now commence. was then and throughout the Middle Ages J? . but anyone who wishes to follow up the study of these most interesting writings. . and the contraction c-^i which in all the other hands signifies pro. and by the end of the eleventh century it had become so illegible that a church council made a recommendation that it should be abolished altogether. and XVII. MEROVINGIAN HAND .

though later modified to a slight degree by national influences and idiosyncracies. he issued a decree ordering the entire revision of all Liturgical books which had formerly been full of errors and inaccuracies. in the history of Palaeography was the reform of penmanship. but the unification achieved by Charlemagne was never really broken. The most famous of these was that of Tours. who. under the rule of Alcuin of York. The result was a great renaissance of interest in writing in schools and monasteries. to a certain extent. also. established a school of writing at Aix-la-Chapelle. immediately after he had ascended the throne. for good or evil. As time went on. simulta­ neous throughout Europe. The establishment of a form of writing which. the character and forms of the writing slowly altered. A certain allowance should always be made. was yet.D. how­ ever. the beautiful Minuscule hand known as the Caroline Minuscule received its inception and later development. common to the whole of Christendom. as it set a standard of writing and gave the forms of caligraphy a certain per­ manence and fixity throughout Europe.. hence commonly called the Caroline Reform. to use a modern term. The importance of this is greater than appears on the surface. as. The chief results of this great event. and new teaching centres were established throughout the Empire. in the reign of Charlemagne. The reform was inaugurated by the famous Emperor. such altera­ tion being practically uniform and. In 789 A. for the time that a new style would take to reach such . which took about fifty years to reach completion. in attempting to estimate the age of a document when dates and other evidences are absent. Caroline where. the style of writing employed may generally be taken as a safe guide. Its importance can scarcely be exaggerated. were:— 1.Handwritings Caroline Reform ii It is an undoubted fact that the most momentous event. in a general sense.

There seems. however. so is it in art. and as in morals and conduct. for example. 3. unless there be some stimulating influence driving or drawing him on. Only in Italy do we find anything at all to compare with it for the qualities named. given at the end of this volume (facsimile No. legible and handsome appearance could hardly be surpassed. A type appearing in France. 1). though we frequently find the Caroline Minuscule and the Gothic Minuscule at the former period. or even to maintain for any length of time a fair standard of excellence. a n C e > anC c o n s t u t e s t n e n m e e r e c e n . more regularly. 4. is typical of the style in vogue through­ out England and Scotland at this period. to be in man an innate tendency to degenerate rather than to progress. as time went on. tentative at first. however. existing side by side. this book would scarcely have been necessary. The national hands gradually declined and disappeared. and altogether the writing was of much greater legibility and beauty than any of the national hands of the period. generally took from eight to ten years to reach and to come into general use in England and Scotland. or were absorbed in the new form. Its clear. with the separation of words. and it is second to none of the other handwritings of Northern Europe at the same period. The twelfth century charter. but.12 Ancient countries as were at some distance from that in which it first appeared. 2. The Intrusion * ^ * ^ °^ ^ P ° ^ g century. There was a general roundness and boldness in the formation of the letters. Till the middle of the thirteenth century the standard was maintained and fre­ quently bettered. the of the Gothic type had already commenced to make its appearGothic Type ^ ^ ^ prevailing form during the thirteenth and later centuries. The high standard set by Charlemagne then did not long continue—had it done so. A beginning was made.

/t. and beyond a word or two upon the characCharacteristics ' / n j. Almost from the Centuries "beginning.: the Book Hand. and continuations of words are generally indicated by hyphens. d f. Contractions—a phase of the subject which will be specially dealt with further on—are gradually increasing. . The characteristics of the three centuries in question may then be briefly summarised as follows:— 1 X . viz. and generally more elegant than that of previous centuries.Handwritings 13 Up to this time there are few MSS. two concurrent styles.. CENTURY .. . . though a great many old letters are still retained.—The Caroline Minuscule reached its highest perfection. and the Cursive writing which was more commonly employed for Charters. X I . k and / are made much longer. CENTURY . The letters become taller. as //. XI. Ligatures almost disappear. When two is come together. and XII nothing need be said about them. uninitiated.1 v v t teristics 01 the writings of the three preceding centuries. CENTURY . the open a £ IC^ becomes less frequent. The letters are generally elongated. } f X I I . of the X. Household Accounts. there were.—The writing is rounder. and their long shafts are fre­ quently ornamented. and long letters such as b. v sometimes takes the place of 11 at the beginning of words. the open a is 110 longer found. and to this latter our chief attention will be presently directed. strokes are frequently placed above them. as has already been remarked. . r . and ligatures are fewer as the hand becomes more legible. better proportioned. written in the post-Caroline hand which cannot be deciphered after a little practice by even the . and for the multifarious conglomeration of documents which are of special interest to Genealogists. the dipthong cc is replaced by c\ it and v as consonants .—There is a steady improvement both in books and in diplomas. of course.

the small $ is frequently found both at the beginning and at the end of words. m the Black . in a Virgil which he printed at Venice. was first used by Aldus Minutius in 1501. r C U i e S c T chief difficulties in interpreting the Book hands . „. at the time of the invention of printing had reached its worst condition. and they are only now beginning to discon­ tinue it. a sure sign also that the Gothic influence is now supreme. to which we now give the name Italics. and the particular style adopted was said to have been the actual hand-writing of the poet Petrarch. The German and other Teutonic peoples retained the Gothic alphabet however. Facsimile No. which. r o c e s e n u n e . * . This was the Cursive form of the period. and became stereotyped in the earliest printed books.I 4 Ancient are interchangeable at the beginning of words.. The Aldine type. . II. \.. may be cited in illustration of the confusion such methods involve. ?z frequently takes the uncial form . m from in. it may further be interesting to note. . which was borrowed from them by France and England. They principally consist in distinguishing such combinations as mi from nu. (See the second Charter. are evidenced by the angularity of the writings of the period. . and so on. with their customary artistic insight and' good sense. In the Book Hand this. and has since remained the literary type of these nations. undergoes a Bl k L tt P °f slow development until it culminates in the and Italics g i Black Letter. irom the thirteenth century till the invention of printing i i M 1 i e l 1 a r e t l l 0 S e i n c i c l e 2 l t a l t o t n e n e L i P T T p y fl tin CursiYe Hands ^ ' deciphering of ordinary Black Letter type and are easily overcome. for a good example of the writing of this century. The Italians. . . ^mirifica. abandoned the Gothic type and introduced the Roman Minuscule. and for which it is specially remarkable. . .) The signs of decadence. Such a word as W&ka. as time goes on. and long letters begin to have hooks both below and above the line. z from r. which commenced in the thirteenth century.

) At this period again appeared a lurther development in the custom of closing the top loop of the ct.now regularly appears as c. the constant habit of the scribes of running a. the absurd and frequently ridiculous complexity of initials . and the bottom one of the s thus 5. the dipthong «. This custom extended from about 1250 to 1350. will illustrate the principle employed—flljnJ? Oirrm|J^* (This is a characteristic example of the official hand in the reign of Edward I. and u.. s During the fourteenth century the development of XIY Gentur ^ " * ^ rapid. 0.Handwritings 15 The genealogist then will find that his greatest difficulty in decipher­ ing the handwritings will centre around the Cursive forms. Other XIII C ntur * & °f corruption are the number of superfluous strokes. and constitutes a seldom failing evidence of the approximate date of the particular document in which it is found.. too. . Ill) . c. the shafts of tall letters are generally split and clubbed. In this century. both forms in time becoming common. and the steady increase of contractions and abbreviations. and documents m s v e n a n c w a s * Aquitanie Omnibus ad. the increasing illegibility of the writing. into c 71. the difficulty of distinguishing c from t (see for example the word Scottormn in Facsimile No. my ty and f. The best scribes naturally found their way to the courts of the various kings and rulers. and as in the case of the Book Hand. On the other hand. 2'. The closing of the s loop is further developed in the next century. and ?' even when standing alone is regularly accented. c a e n c e s e c a l s ns y dated 1303. The following three words copied from a charter of Edward I. when we find j y written and (5 . and its degradation was equally so. a certain feature of its decadence ^ ^ f °^ in the thirteenth century is its angularity. thus & . from the Edwardian Charter. This is again Hand in the P i t y noticeable in the tops of the m and n. Examples of both these peculiarities are illustrated in the extract given above.

(Ordnance Survey). (Ordnance Survey). to the end of the XVII. Register House in Edinburgh. B. (Ordnance Survey).T. Th ese are the commonest and most accessible collections of repro­ ductions.i6 Ancient emanating from the Royal and Imperial Chancellaries were still tolerably legible. Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of England. Southampton. Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland. . dating from the „ . 4 parts (in 5 vols. 1865-1868.. t n e 1874-1884. and from these the learner should familiarise himself with the formations of the various letters and characteristics of the periods which they serve to illustrate. * I will be glad to supply lists of such reproductions on application. ' beginning of the XV.). of the Facsimiles. all of which are of easy access :— 1. Gilbert (J.* and it must depend upon the situation of the student's place of abode to what extent he will be able to gain experience from such facsimiles. Dublin and London.M. 1867-1871. XYI & XVII deciphering writings of MSS. and the reproductions best suited for his purpose may be found in the following volumes. fol. Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Scotland. Southampton. which have been chosen from among the worst examples of such hands to be found in H. 2. V. fol. This can be easily obtained if he resides within a near radius of a good library. Century Centuries . . Sandars (W. Innes (C).). the increase of business and consequent pressure of time caused the writing to be done hurriedly and carelessly. 4 parts. and VI. Exemplification of this will be found in Nos. and some of these hands are exceedingly puzzling even to the expert palaeographer. The publications of the Palaeographieal Society. IV. as possible. Correspondents should state whether their researches or studies are restricted to any particular period.). See N o t e on page 10. both British and Foreign. But in the various offices to which a genealogist will instinctively turn. fol. 3. He should obtain as much practice in The XV. and the New Palaeographical Society. 4. but there are many more besides. 3 parts.

1682. though the initial difficulties are great. it is consistently written thus. will soon make the student familiar with their characteristics. however. down to the end of the seventeenth century. but as it is chiefly with proper names that the genealogist has to deal. But on the other hand. The scribes also became more and more careless as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries progressed. and just as hours of practice must be devoted to golf. In an IndenUire dated 20th October. as is evidenced by the increasing heaviness and coarseness of the writings. in my possession. Of course some knowledge of Latin is essential. In the reign of Elizabeth. as most of the documents at that time were written in this language. etc. no one need despair. and enable him in time to spell out the writing upon any document of the period in question. this knowledge need not be profound. a systematic study of the writings of this period. our . A little patience and logical inference will soon do the rest.t n r . and ultimately becomes universal. the process of degradation was rapid and very marked.). ff?&-&trthf~.? becomes greatly exaggerated G~. unless he is desirous of learning all that was connected with the indi­ vidual for whom he is in search. The angularity which had appeared with the adoption of the Gothic forms increases as time goes 011. The e also takes a form not unlike 0.Handwritings Acquisition of Facility 17 Of course it must never be forgotten that there is no royal road to the acquisition of facility in the deciphering of these cramped and crabbed ancient writings. ( 0 r £ o € . and he will find that there is seldom any fundamental deviation from these types. and persists in that form & . From the middle of the fourteenth century. so in palaeo­ graphy every opportunity for obtaining experience should be seized and used to the best advantage. or in a modification or exaggeration of it. or to speaking a foreign language before any measure of skill is attained. piano-playing. and care must be exercised to prevent its being taken for 0. The closed . of which the last six reproductions here given constitute a representative series of examples.

Out of this Chancery and _ . and it contains intrinsic evidence that the appearance of the current modern hand is not far distant. but they are not really hard to read. if in difficulty.i8 Ancient intercourse with Italy began to have a beneficial effect upon caligraphy. which was used for records Court Hands .. About the beginning of the sixteenth century. a new kind of writing was evolved. such as no previous Cursive hand had ever before approached in England. form not lacking in symmetry and beauty. not unnaturally. facility will soon be acquired. „ '. These hands. etc. . I have in my possession indentures and other legal documents dating from the middle of the seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century. reference is again made to them. is a representative and characteristic example. . gradually became less. placita. could read after five nrinutes study of the writing. and it quickly toned down into a lighter and more elegant form. and after a few of their typical peculiarities are mastered. The latter was in use till the reign of George II. It was. with the assistance of the knowledge gained from a study of our facsimiles. Wright's Court Hand Restored (1879) will be found valuable by the student. and it likewise grew more elegant till the first decade of the seventeenth century. which. characterised at first by a certain heaviness. when it also acquired a . A1 T T TT T T . our seventh Facsimile. of which the writing in the Letter of Queen Mary and Darnley. and the Court Hand employed m the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas.. . as upon the other arts of the time. no difficulty whatever should be experienced. and after a little practice. for these forms. are not difficult to decipher. . however. and it took the form of a modification and intermingling of the Book and Cursive Hands of the period. for fines and recoveries. It is a clear fluent style. . In my notes on the facsimiles. for official purposes. and this became the style that was generally employed for legal documents. any one of which an individual of average intelligence who had never seen such a document in his life before. came the Chancery Hand. . « under the Great Seal. and the former still survives in the modern engrossing hands employed in enrolments and patents.

2. yet exhibits even in its badness something of a system that can be studied and overcome. There are several good dictionaries which may be found useful. 1892. as in the confusing methods adopted by the scribes of abbreviating. and has generally a certain degree of consistency and universality rendering it capable of more com­ plete scientific treatment than otherwise were possible. likewise became a factor of no small importance. which. English London. 121110. Martin. by A. The Record Interpreter. 1884. while not a few were produced at the mere whim or necessity of individual scribes. Dictionairc des Abrcviations La fines A. 8vo. The prevailing cause of so troublesome a custom was the expeusiveness and scarcity of parchment and other materials upon which the writings were made. Paris. the necessity of economising time as well as material. in Historical Manuscripts and Records. require a treatise to itself. bad as it not infrequently is. . Chassant.. Some of these were universally adopted and w ere common to all European countries. by C. . It is a subject which would. contracting. Milan. Svo. " ^ °* deciphering writings of ancient times lies. crabbed and corrupt nature of the writing itself. As the business of the world increased also. by 3.Handwritings Signs and Abbreviations 1 0 i e n c o n n t e r 111 1 S t a s t u e 19 The chief difficulty which the palaeographer has to . Dizionario di Abrcviaturc La fine ed Italia ue. and expressing words and phrases. Cappelli. and only the commonest forms can be dealt with here. Abbreviations. by means of signs wherever and whenever it could be done. however. 1899. as— T 1. for anything approaching an exhaustive treatment. not so much in the cramped. crY. T. We thus find that from the Caroline Reform there is a continuous increase of such abbreviations and contractions to be found in documents. Others were restricted to certain nations and localities. however. el Fratifaiscs.

From this method was developed the custom of writing the initial or leading letters of the various syllables of a word. * This curious combination is of course Greek. and was adopted by the Mediaeval scribes through ignorance. For example. word. as Abbreviations CUT ~cujus. It may be by the first letters of the word. or more frequently by its salient letters.orXPI Christi. . Q D * quidem.t This survived to some extent during the Middle Ages. SCS= to/?/j.as in OMB= Omnibus. mg e e er Abbreviations The earliest form of abbreviation was the use of a j g | i tter. These last three are very common and occur all through the Middle Ages. generally an initial to denote a complete . When a single letter is written to indicate a word in common use. will be wiser to exercise their own common-sense than to trust too closely to such lexicons. . as Q = The letter which stood Cains: Caia.20 Ancient But these must always be used with caution.tamen.. imagining that the Greek characters were equivalent to the Roman letters similarly formed. . Q B quibus. and those having a good knowledge of the language in which the document is written. . as E O=ergo. s n & e e n A „ We then come to words represented by two or more Two or More Letter °^ ^ * l ^ e r s . ie r = 3 + A curious custom prevailed for distinguishing the names of females. for a masculine name was reversed to signify its feminine correlative. Those who have ever attempted to decipher Roman inscriptions must have been puzzled frequently by an apparently inexplicable string of capital letters. and so on. N usually stood for non in early MSS. T M. and later on we find it signifying noster and nostri. and is not even yet wholly extinct. there is generally placed either above or beside it some conventional sign from which the missing letters may be gathered. . It is important to note that such letters frequently indicated the names of persons and their titles. . . (Witness the Inscriptions on Coins).

and q$ = quoquc.In words ending in que. and the repeated word command in No.ejus. of frequent occurrence in Irish MSS. the mediaeval form of scd. and we have such examples as at5» aiquc. V. Thus we have in early times B:° bus. ~ = esse or est. were also employed. rc c ~7 .idem .Handwritings . very common throughout the Middle Ages (see the tenth and thirteenth words in Facsimile No. These examples became exceed­ ingly common. The : in course of time w as modified by rapid and careless writing into a 5 shaped character. some of them Tironian . II. and (2) those 111 which letters are omitted from the middle. and must not be ignored. said to have been invented by Cicero's freedman Tiro. 3 . cum. y = ctiam . and inters . The 5 later came also to be used for m and est. A knowledge ? 5 Suppression of Letters . V^-vcro. and a mastery of them is absolutely essential.) . or from the middle and the end. and 3 or 3 = con... ne5 -neque. Tironi&n Symbols m w a S st l o w e v e r ail( w a s 21 The _ need of indicating inflections and terminations *^ ^ ^ > ^ this solved by the adoption of certain of the Tironian symbols—a species of short­ hand.= est. A few shorthand signs.set. p\~) ~ f>facet. K = autem. are also very frequently to be met with. p 5 = / w W . and Q: = quc.et or and. Small overwritten letters as Q° = quo. but which need not here concern us—to indicate that certain words had been omitted. and the B: and Q: were replaced by b" and q5. and H hunc. . as x. We also find the 5 signifying et as in deb^ ~ debet. In both of these modes there were many examples which prevailed throughout the whole of the Middle Ages. the q as well as the uc was also frequently suppressed. We have now to consider (1) those words in which the ending is suspended or suppressed. and continued till the adoption of the present system of caligraphy. These latter modes prevailed throughout the Middle Ages.tit. at the beginning of words. or am. \ ~vemm. and s5 . 1. as in ide5 . V or u .interest.

and so on. are greatly the most numerous. va\to~multo. These. This brings us to words contracted by the omission of letters from the middle or from the middle and the end of a word. we find s m s s such combinations as 7S= tarn. ptr&-filura. But here again we have certain conventional signs by means of which the missing letters may be approximately guessed. It is not so easy to give even approximate rules for supplying the omitted letters in this case. liftliber c.22 Ancient of the language in which the writing happens to be executed. signifies/* . and the like are generally self-evident. of course. Q?\x\S"certus.t\$~inferpretatis. Ire-litterx. Such examples as sb~sub. 2. The facsimiles should also be carefully studied in this connection. For example. wo-nou.-singula . and it almost invariably represents a suppressed m or n . Thus a waved vertical stroke rising from the preceding letter usually signified the omision of er or re. . and are sometimes extremely puzzling. as ^^i^^-prestitis. a form The convenience of that will be explained immediately. and that frequently it was highly ornamental and arbitrary.* Another very common mark of abbreviation is a horizontal stroke placed above the final letter. eni-enim. v\=vel. A drooping stroke at the end of a letter generally marks the omission of is. these forms for rapidity of execution will be at once apparent. The ^ ^&twy)- * This is a very common type of Cursive writing. Analagous to this sign is a stroke written through the tall shaft of the letters / and b. thus a. and mt ]) ta. and again one's knowledge of the language must be broitght into requisition. and the final loop • » is as explained above.p r a e or pre. ^4UUfc* anuuit. as in b ixitei -breu iter.VLte~autem . fink* antem . will of course enable the Palaeographer to judge which ending is required. and prevail throughout the Middle Ages. yet it must here be kept carefully in mind that the form of these signs was by no means fixed. §ir\$a. especially in the Cursive Hands. especially when they signify unknown or proper names.

must bear in mind that in the Visigothic National Hand. gtm~g-rafia.. Still another method which was exceedingly common was the use of overwritten letters. or an undulating line rising from it. as in all other hands. will not easily be forgotten. in s njtan. as in jh 6 i s . and in (2fZAx> m prestito. {\b&*°iterba . A mastery of these can be acquired with very little labour and patience.f and in pt*it-praeter-it. The consonants above which overwritten letters are usually found are b. pretatur.% The last example depicts a characteristic of the Cursive writings which is apt to cause great confusion and difficulty in * Those desiring to carry their studies in Paleography beyond the point necessary for the genealogical student. stands for pre or prae. See page 10. X See Page 22. p and /. We thus find many survivals of the practice. and as they are in constant use. and in such cases another consonant imme­ diately preceding or following the overwritten vowel is to be understood. ho^bona.pro. The following should at once be committed to memory :— .Handwritings felicem. q. as cta-earfa. the example already cited. but in nearly every instance they became stereotyped or were used in conjunction with certain signs which never varied. and it can easily be conceived that so economical and simple a device for the saving of space and time would not be allowed easily to go out of use. g. P with a stroke above. Other letters than r may be understood as in q=qua.probis. e. d. such omitted consonant usually being r. f.~qm'bus. //. p or p . . not pro. + See above.prelati'. ^> signifies per. Thus we have it in inferprctatio. although siich examples are not found so frequently as the former. These are generally vowels written above a consonant in a small hand. The use of the single letter as a means of abbreviation in early times has been referred to.

thus ^ . This last is a rare occurrence of its signifying sar. ftfpit' assent. and a careful study of them will tend to bring out many aspects which are dealt with all too inade­ quately in the text. whose Elements ale Paleographie. This custom. It is often a question whether or not the continuation of the letter is really intended to represent such a sign. whilst \v »vvvfRrvi« commissarij. Examples of all or nearly all of these and the other illustrations given above.sernatius. Prae and fire Pro . has seldom been equalled and never excelled. I shall now give a few examples from Cursive MSS. For these and much other matter in this connection. in conjunction with the use of ligatures. and ( W ^ . or is merely an ornamental nourish.. the habit of joining the sign to a letter. y JtnQ = sermo. constitutes one of the greatest obstacles in the way of deciphering a Cursive Hand. of the Roman Catholic Univer­ sity of Eouvain. The following are examples—fiitt = seruit.Ancient deciphering words. Another method that was very common was that of continuing the top curve of the long s. are represented in the facsimiles. and students who can read French will be amply rewarded by devoting an occasional hour to a perusal of the Reverend Canon's illuminating pages. From that work most of my remain­ ing illustrations are taken. as a text-book. This mode underwent many different phases. I here take the opportunity of acknowledging my indebtedness to the late Canon R E U S E N S . and represented the com­ bination ser. of some of the forms taken by these abbreviations. namely. and crossing the stem in the form of a bow. instead of ser.

= ^Kqualibet. quoque. or written alongside. Century :— A curious example of the use of one of the signs for et will be found towards the end of the second line of the facsimile No. are the hieroglyphics for est. \\-mmc. d . u-uero. ee-esse. q = quatenus. t 1 forms. cj ~ que {pron. a knowledge of the language in which the record is drawn. and much more numerous.datum. »^ i3' f» -f* The letter q also takes some peculiar ef$ c^S « quod. These. and what at first sight may appear an almost insuperable . ^ qui. A very common form of abbreviation was to write the first letter of the word with the last letter. a few of which may be met with by genealogical researchers . The following were the most common in use after the XIV. either overwritten in a small character. ^Q quam. quibus.. it must be read as essemus. quern. are so numerous that it is an absolutely hopeless task to attempt to give even a representative selection. but as I have already indicated. quantum. For esse we find ~ » *^ ^ so that when such a combina­ tion as ttl? is encountered. In the last case a mark is generally written above the two letters to indicate a contraction.Handwritings 25 There were a great number of special signs employed for et or and.). Such a combination was by no means infrequent. Thus we have such very frequent examples as a -anno. quid. The sign 9 here met with for the first time at the end of words usually signifies us. q-quod. and a little patience will work wonders. the principal of which are *j}=quia. in which latter event both letters were of an equal size. II. where we have pfy . C = quae. in common with all the other methods of contracting words.Scilicet. Equally curious. tc ' 7 *tl ' *P Q> *> quod sic.

. will. in addition to the signs already mentioned. the following were the most common :— Punctuation Marks . but these need not detain us. The most ancient MSS. and similar marks to those we now employ used in different applications are sources of great confusion and uncertainty. with practice and experience. Yet the difficulty is by no means insuperable. and even the words were not separated.atin scholars will realise how great an obstacle to the correct interpretation of a document this can be. L. but such signs as — . and 7 are also found. At that time the dot served both for a period and comma. one above the other j . But the worst obstacle of all is the frequent absence of such marks altogether.26 Ancient difficulty. and it soon becomes almost second nature to the Palaeo­ grapher to know where the proper punctuation marks should occur. and these again need only be mentioned in passing. Then from the eleventh century onward. They are different in many cases from the modern signs. lies in the fact that punctuation marks are of so uncertain a character. In the succeeding century the usual signs for a comma were 3 and < " } Then for a time punctuation was almost entirely neglected. the semi-colon. Iu the pre-Carolingian period. until it practically disappears altogether. pauses were marked by three dots. and .atin sometimes tends to assist rather than retard the interpretation of the document. but during the periods which most concern us. punctuation became exceedingly irregular. This continued to be used to mark pauses in discourses. although the oblique accent ' was frequently used for all kinds of pauses. Still another difficulty that must be overcome by the Palaeographer. and even this is increased by the bad Mediaeval L-atin that was consistently made use of. were not pointed at all. become less and less. even the badness of the L. and when it is remembered that certain formulas in the style and phraseology of these ancient documents recur with constant regularity. These were replaced in the early Middle Ages by \ the comma .

. also frequently be encountered. and at the beginning of each. f1 27 Points of Exclamation. (An illustra­ tion will be found in Facsimile No. 4. I propose. and a knowledge of them should prove useful.Handwritings Points of Interrogation . as "nomine epc pa^ias-episcopus nomine papias. VI. and is a special. This was also the manner employed for the deletion of letters. To substitute one word for another.— 1. dots were placed beneath it. To indicate the deletion of a word. It has a literature of its own. 5. dots were placed beneath the wrong word. This forms the subject matter of Diplomatic. When two words required to be transposed oblique accents was placed above. similar to those above nomine in § 4. .) 3. . and there are erudite practitioners who confine their t 0 e s t m a t e . and the correct one placed above it. & & „ Corrections 2. Upon that alone may hang the credibi­ lity of the whole question. it was customary to mark them with two oblique strokes. though frequently the modern arbitrary method of drawing a line through the word or letters was resorted to. before concluding this essay. When words were intended to be omitted. The following methods of marking corrections will . therefore. and most intricate branch of the art of deciphering ancient documents. to suggest a few simple rules by which such a conclusion may be reached. As the genealogical researcher may frequently have of Documents * ^ e probability of a document being genuine or otherwise. most important. he ought to be in a position to arrive at some definite conclusion on the subject. o 6 O I was frequently marked with a faint accent i. whether a single individual or all the individuals mentioned in a particular document can be fitted into his pedigree or not.

as a rule. and (2) the Protocol.. though not obvious to the uninitiated.* but scribes were exceedingly ignorant and unscientific. volume published in Paris in 1894. The facsimiles. a large 8vo. etc. conclusive evidence of a Charter's authenticity. Yet here. and may at least assist him in detecting forgeries. usually preceded by a narration of the circumstances. GIRY . seldom made any serious attempt to copy the earlier caligraphy. as it would extend far beyond my available space. It is. ^ ^ important Diplomatic document was the Charter. by A. of course. which called it forth. viz. or to inform them privately of the particular formulas in use at any specified time. extends to nearly a thousand closely printed pages. . The writing is also. The Charter e mos * Before the Reformation there was scarcely an Abbey in England or France which had not at least one Charter forged in its own favour. The literature on this subject is mostly foreign. which are fairly representative of the writings of the centuries in which they were pro­ duced. Forged Charters were very common during the later Middle Ages. so it is no uncommon occurrence to find the formulas of the XVI. the initial and closing formulas which varied with the circumstances to which it owed its production. Century embodied in a Charter dated two or three hundred years earlier. It is generally in two parts. These formulas are of great importance in estimating the probabilities of the deed's being authentic or otherwise.: (1) the text of the Act. When I state that the standard modern work on the subject. which. an idea of its vastness may be obtained. but I shall always be glad to send bond-fide inquirers a list of available books on the subject. as forgers eveii when they ante-dated a deed by some centuries.28 Ancient attention exclusively to the mere interpretation of these ancient writings. are valuable also in this respect. again. a document which is obviously of primary interest from the Genealogist's point of view. a few simple rules should prove extremely useful to the Genealogist. obviously impossible to give such a list here. Manuel de Diplomatique. and be of small interest to the general reader. are yet easy of detection when one has been put upon one's guard.

These are extremely misleading. sometimes intentionally. Duplicate. It will be seen. however.. was usually written on such documents. In regard to the former method. the material characteristics were omitted. 1734/5. thus making a difference of one year. great care must be exercised in drawing conclusions. the year began in England on 25th December.Handwritings Co ies o m a s t m u s t a s o 29 ^P^ ^ ^ be careful to distinguish between the originals and copies of documents. as in such cases the scribe usually sets himself to produce an exact facsimile of the original. From the time of the Norman Conquest. and even at one time. Where uncertainty remains. it is customary to write both probable dates. copies were often written for everyday use and reference. In the latter. as two methods of reckoning were in vogue. Some began a particular year 011 the 25th March preceding Christmas. when the first day of the year was changed to the ist January. from the Charters reproduced in this volume that the method mostly employed u . and these likewise form special studies in themselves. causing a consider­ able amount of confusion. Several copies of a document were often made. when a document had been lost or destroyed. Dates Dates and signs of validation are also of very great importance to the Genealogist. new Acts were usually produced from what remained or was remembered of the original. different systems frequently prevailed. thus 14th July. though only one had been amplified. and each was regarded as authentic. and in Scotland till 1600. but these may generally be regarded rather as forgeries than as copies." Before the Norman Conquest. There were many systems of dating in vogue throughout the Middle Ages. With the intention of preserving originals. „ . and in the same country.. and frequently the word Coftia. etc. Triplicafa. and others 011 the same date following Christmas. and not seldom of error in the minds of students. Transvata or Transumpta was inserted. but usually unintentionally. the year began on the 25th March in England and Ireland till 1752. Finally. Transcripta. The copy also frequently varied from the original.

consisting of. Corroloratio—notice of authentication. but again let me state that I hold myself entirely at the service of readers who are interested. its extent is co-extensive with the What I wish to imply through the statement in the text is that. conse­ number of practitioners.30 Ancient in these documents was to record the number of the year of the reigning monarch's rule. or that the subject is to be lightly dismissed. series might well be devoted to the subject of signatures alone. and these might be again I. 8. 9. Signa­ tures and enumerations of witnesses are of very great importance to the student and practitioners of Genealogy. the former being generally self-explanatory to a greater or less degree. explains itself. viz. T h e I n i t i a l P r o t o c o l .L. which was regarded with a kind of superstitious awe. The Invocatio or Chrism. insofar as the Oratio gives a detailed relation of what in ihe former is stated merely in general . or Preamble—a general statement of the events which called forth the Act. suggest that all signatures are so. f and the latter belonging to the kindred sciences of sigillography and heraldry. analysed into fourteen sub-divisions. Address or Inscriptio—-name or names of those to whom it is addressed. quently upon the reader deciphering the signature. 6. and a volume of Mr. or Expositio —statement of the case. as a rule. II. These were : — It has been remarked that there were two main divisions of the Charter. Oratio. Greeting or Salutatem. it. T h e T e x t . Title or Subscriptio—name of the person in whose name the Act was drafted. a brief explanation of these terms may prove interesting. 2. Promulgatio or Notification—that the Act is made known to all. Arenga or Harenga. 7. The latter consisted of such a sign as a monogram of X P I.* The chief signs of validation were signatures and seals which require little comment. Dispositio—enacting or Operating Clause. and should always be carefully noted. Proem. 4. Like all branches of Paleography and Diplomatic. It differs from the preamble. Bernau's G. Where witnesses are only mentioned in the preamble or oratio % Witnesses * Other methods of dating do not concern us here. 3. + Though not strictly relevant. 10.— 1. Sanctio—penal clause or clauses. of course.P. :— 5. f I do not. terms.

was published by the Rev. etc. Date of Time. it has sometimes been found that persons mentioned in the oratio. and written in a hand crabbed and unintelligible to the uninitiated. and occasionally. * A useful work on this and other kindred subjects. Even the style of the document may frequently assist one in approximately fixing its date.Handwritings 31 of the deed. 14. 13. . Appreciata. entitled A Guide to the Collection of Historical Documents. 12. to the materials with which it has been written. all that he proposes is to put them on their guard against too rashly accepting every document as genuine and authoritative merely because it happens to be old. T H E C L O S I N G PROTOCOL OR E S C H A T A C O L : — 11. S . If any doubt is felt as to the authenticity of any document. S C O T T and S A M U E L D A V E Y . Dr. If it is on paper. I I I .. which is generally expressed in the past tense. some regard should also be paid to the material upon which it is written. It is not the intention of the writer of this volume to endeavour to make those who do him the honour of perusing his book diplomatic scholars. a period during which many events. F . were absent at the time. Literary Manuscripts and Autograph Letters. but it is very seldom that such documents are encountered in which all of these sub-divisions are present. water-marks* should be studied as well as the texture of the material and colour of the ink. in rSgi. Subscriptiones—signatures and names. R . and to the manner in which it is written. the absence of the signatures or seals of such persons must not too hastily be taken as conclusive evidence that they were not actually present at the time . Amen—prayer for the effectuation of the deed. T h e explanation of this is that a considerable time frequently elapsed between the draughting and the expediting of the document. This comprised a complete Charter. . having a distinct bearing upon the transaction. even dead. Date of Place. on the other hand. might reasonably take place. but these are matters for the expert to decide rather than the general researcher.

and to illustrate all of these would necessitate the transcription of at least one document from the pen of almost every scribe who ever wrote during that period.. by difficulties which a little application will soon show to lie only upon the surface. I d" 'duaJ'sm ^ ^ " y " d . the most likely to yield a golden harvest. I must still maintain that they have been greatly exaggerated in the past. rolls. and underwent only the usual slow evolutionary process such as we can trace even in the penmanship of our own time. XVI. and other miscellanea often prove the veriest gold mine to the pedigree hunter and modern ancestor worshipper. when Individualism began to assert itself. of course. there were wide divergences of mannerisms and character. are thoroughly mastered. especially from the XVI. and if the writings in the four facsimiles. idiosyncracies and manner­ isms of individual writers can be mastered in a very short time. Leave not a wrack behind. and XVIII. And like the baseless fabric of a vision.. Nos. and volumes of registers.. but the general principles in vogue at any particular time remained practically fixed. and though I do not pretend that actual difficulties do not exist. Century. as it is for a person of average intelligence to decipher the letter which he may occasionally have the misfortune to receive from an uneducated and illiterate correspondent in the twentieth century. and have only to be grappled with in'real earnest to disappear— en m ollwal " dissolve. Centuries are. Of course. VI. and logical consideration of the example which happens to be under the reader's view. and VIII." . V. valuable material may often be discovered in the most unlikely places.et no one be discouraged. it is as easy to read the worst example he can find of the period in question. study.S . Such documents written in the XV. VII. the eccentricities. with the exercise of a little patience. XVII. little difficulty will be experienced with any hand produced during or after the XV. L.. therefore. There are good and bad writers at the present moment. so that when the underlying basal type is thoroughly grasped.32 Ancient By the Genealogist no document should be ignored. accounts. and to such a Palaeographer as I refer to.

D. Mr. F.. and Messrs. which.R. to— JAMES CURRIE .. ANGUS and PATON . the Librarian of the University. SUMMERBANK.to record my thanks to the following:— Professor P . of H. JOHN ANDERSON .Handwritings Acknowledge ments 3 3 For kind assistance in the preparation of this volume. EDINBURGH. I. it is with extreme regret that I have to record the death of my dear and learned friend. under his pseudonym of Surfaceman.. Register House..S. The Rev. Sir ANDREW AGNEW . for permission to take photographs of the Charters and other documents here reproduced. I shall never forget his kindness in placing the treasures of the Library at my entire disposal. I beg. of Eeith. for valuable advice and guidance. HUME BROWN. Esq.E. Edinburgh.. and the sense of anticipation with which he awaited its publication. alas. And above all. and for per­ mission to use my notes of his lectures as the basis of the work. who was univer­ sally known. * Since writing the above. Alexander Anderson. . WIEEIAM SAUNDERS. M. for such facilities for study as have alone made the writing of this volume possible. of the University of Edinburgh. he was fated never to see. as a poet of taste and distinction.A. and for assistance in deciphering and transcribing them.A. EL. the interest he took in my work. M. The Librarian of the University of Edinburgh * and his assistants for allowing me to have access at all times to volumes that are scarce and difficult to procure.M.

.

Scocie : salw/W//. 0 OF THE ABBOT OF SCONE. necessarily greatly reduced in comparison with these originals. are. 1 . PRECEPT EOR RECOVERING FUGITIVE SERES 35 THEREON. u t in cui//scu//qw£ uestrum terra ant potestate Abbas de Scon aut cius seruiens inuenire potrrit Cuwlawes et Ciwherbes ad trvras Abbtf/ie de Scon pMinentes. eos iuste absqz/r * These facsimiles. Maudo iirmiter p/rcipio. and the constant use of a magnifying or reading glass will facilitate students in deciphering and reading them. 1165—1214. (William. of course. om//ib/w p/vbis \\o/ni/rib//s totiz/i .trindi&^p udktrm m'tJ/Jup ^ox?#ac£ 'Al&^ be^oto Iftuc turf jctmtmJimratt:^ontCu^^^Ctt^c^^ ^ ^ 3 ^ e * S r ^ j W///c/m//s Rex Scott/vv////. AND NOTES I. the Lion. all of which are photographed directly from the originals. King of Scotland.Facsimiles FACSIMILES.) jSq^o.

Testibus: Andrea JZpiscopo &e Catena. i. in the National MSS. the sign for the contraction us or bus : . in such a volume as this. The aesthetic qualities of this beautiful little Charter of William the Lion of Scotland. The contraction for pro in probis is likewise very carelessly written r instead of J ) . It will be seen also from the word omnibus.. and it is no small matter that we have been privileged to include so good a facsimile of this important deed. (See Hailes' Annals. I.z mea^z et forisfacturaw meaw. An earlier stage appears in cuiuscunquc. As an historical document. 1776 Ed. but it appears to bear intrinsic evidence of having been produced not later than the beginning of the second decade of William's reign. of Scotland.36 Facsimiles dilatione habeat.. Vol. and in a more imperfect production might have been overlooked altogether. Matheo Archidiac<w0. It has been reproduced before. that at this early date. and further comment thereon is scarcely necessary. Nulla? itaque quemquam ex illis ei iniuste detineat sup<?r firuiaw defensione/. and because it also gives some indication of the origins of the evolutionary process by which the symbols later became so troublesome. was already in process of evolution. 132 note). Nicolaw Cancellczm. but never in any text-book on Palaeography.. the instrument is of great importance. published at so low a price. Apwd Dejnfermelin. . have already been elucidated in the text. then. the chief value of this Charter lies in the fact that it shows so clearly the method employed in symbolising contractions. Waltm> fllio Alani Dzpifero. For us. p. It will be noticed that the Charter is undated.e. where the : is written J. We have here an example of a single letter standing for a proper name in the first word of the deed.

5.Facsimiles 37 The following details should be carefully observed and familiarised by the student:— 1. 4. 2. 6. . third and fifth lines. for a period at the end of the Charter. The contraction for re or er. as in prccipio and poterit. The uncial JViu Nullus and in the proper name Nicolao. or a modification of it. The punctuation marks < J for a comma. and . the long j being used throughout. The sign for et 7. 3. after pcrtiuenfcs. 7. The overwritten letters in quemqiiam. It will also be observed that there is not a single example of the small minuscule s. in the first. Most curious of all is the symbol for Testibus at the beginning of the last complete line. Also the uncial M in Mcindo and Matheo. as in firviam. The modification of the horizontal stroke indicating an omitted m or u. This sign. may occasionally be encountered all through the Middle Ages. 8.

Hijs Testibws . Constable of Scotland.) Sciant presentes et fatten qtcod ego Wiilelmus de MorvilL? Constabiciarms Regni Scottorwu rwcessi et hac carta rn^a conflxmam ~Wil\el7UO de Hercesliened totam terrain quam Heclen et Hemmiwg tenueruwt in Herceslieued scilicet in orientali pczrte uie qui tendit de Wedale in Derestre. (WILLIAM DE MORVILLE.Facsimiles ii.ut carta p/'flcuratorls de Solecre et fratrtun eideni loci eidm WilW-wo de Kkvcesheued testate/' et con&xmatur saluo seruicio meo. CONFIRMATION OF A GRANT OF LANDS TO WILLIAM DE HERCESHEVED. Tenendum sibi et \\crzdibus suis de hospital! sancte t /7 'nitatis de Solecre et fmtribm ibidem deo seruientibwj in feudo et hereditate ita lihert qztiete plene Integra ct honoriflce s\o. died 1196.

The most flagrant examples of this habit occur in the or of orientali. Ketello de Letha/w. A few examples of the small minuscule s used at the beginning and end of words may be observed also in this deed. the same tendency will be observed. and must be guessed to . Ricardo de Neh" (?). The name which I have transcribed as Henricus de Sample. L/Ugera//^ Haruwg. Alano de Clapham. for instance.Facsimiles 39 Christiana sponsa rnea. at the beginning of the fourth line.. is written in the Cursive Hand then in vogue. Henrico de Sample. I. throughout the Charter. The conventional sign for ur which prevailed all through the Middle Ages will be seen in futuri and testatur. but it will be noticed that there is a decided tendency to run letters together. The names of the witnesses of such a deed as this are of primary importance to the Genealogist. Constable of Scotlaud. Petrc de la Hago. of a more private character. and in Coustabularius and eoucessi the £ sign for con is applied. A still more corrupt form of the sign for bus or us. is executed in the Book Hand of the period however. The curious* com­ bination for scilicet in the second line has been referred to in the text. Wherever these combinations appear also. has never before been reproduced. Alano de Thirlestaw. Dmicano filio Comiiis Duncan i. (page 25). we have the '/ sign for et. In quod we have an example of the first and last letters only being used as the contraction for a word. and which must have been written about the same time as No. Wilk/^o Mansello. Much that has been said regarding No. this deed. will be seen in seruieutibus. I. and this very Charter exemplies a few of the diffi­ culties which have to be overcome. applies also to this hand. William de Morville. While No. having died in 1196. so far as I can learn. which is apt to cause confusion. Albino Capellano. This is another beautiful little Charter which. as becomes a document emanating from the Royal Chancery. Ricardo Mansello. Again. and in the nt of the same word. is blotted. I.

. It will also be observed that one contracted name has puzzled me. In such a case a-firiori information is absolutely essential to enable one to be confident of one's reading. Edinburgh. but the correctness of this interpretation is by no means certain. viz. The Genealogist. as he usually has an idea beforehand of the name of the person or persons for whom he is in search. Ricardus de Neh. can generally do this with a fair approach to accuracy.. It is given by one authority as Neth. would undertake to confirm that reading. however.4-o Facsimiles some extent. and none of the officials in the Register House. The sign used here to indicate a con­ traction might really mean anything under the sun.

.«o (to^ |W * fcufcu 4« "' ' / ' . . • * • • ?* . •nice* w«^.Facsimiles in. REGISTRUM MAGNI SIGILLI RKGUM SCOTTORUM.. 41 ' .*^W &pfiw f^«ww * fiwifanM VjBtnftwc'ftut .D'«. ' * - .

Dauid dei gracia rex Scottorum. 31. sue ekncis et laicis salwtem. T e s t i b ^ &c. 5 Carta Rob^'ti Stwescalli de Schenbothi. dilccto et fideli nostio Roberto Senescatti de Standbothchy terras de Daleel ct de Modyrwalk cum pertmentizs infra Yictcomitatum de Lanark nos cowtingentes pro eo quo heredes quondam Robyti Delwalk militis contra . Tenend^ et habendas eidern Alexandre* et Margarete de Munfod sponse sue necnon bertdibus inter ipsos proereandw qiiibus forte deficientib&w beredibus dieti Alexandri quousq^ nos vel lieredes nartri eosd^m Moxandn^m sponsam suam et h^edes suos -predictos de viginti libratis tene. Dauid dei gracia rex Scottorum omnibus probis hoininibw tocius terre sue clericis et laicis salutm. Dauid dei gracia rex Scottoram. In cuius rei &c. 32. Sciatis nos dedisse &c. de Redalk. Sciatis 110s dedisse &c. Apud Edynburgeh<? XXV' . Sciatis nos dedisse. omnibus probis bommibus tocius Kent. dikc/o nosko hXexandro de Cokburne viginiti libras sterlmgorum p^cipiend^ an/matifl* de magna custutna burgo nosfoi Hadyngtona ad Aminos vsuales. Carta J.4 2 Facsimiles Carta Alexandri de Cokburn. om«ib«j &c. Tenendz'j et babendis eidem Johauni et berzdibzts suis de corpore suo legitime procreatis seu pwcreandis quibws forte deficientibws diktto et fideli nostio Dauid de Ana?zdia militi et h^redibz^ suis in feodo et hyeditate per omwes rectas mettas suas cum omnibus libertatibus &c.. diheto et fideli nostiojohanni de Rydalk terras de Cranistona cum periinentis infra vicecomztatum de Edynburghe quas idem JoWznes nou vi aut metu ductus nec errore lapsus set mera et spontanea voluntate sua nobis per fustuin et baczVlum sursuui reddidit pureq«£ et simplicity resignauit &c. in loco competenti in feodeaummatf li^reditarie faciendo inde seruiemm &c. &c. die Januarii Anno Regni nostti tricesimo temo &c. 33. faciendo inde s^ruieium debitor et consuetum.

&c. In cuius rei &c.. Margarete inde confecto in se plsnius continet et proportat saluo syuicio nostro. In cuius rei &c. The four Charters recorded upon the page in question are all dated in the thirty-second year of the reign of David II. Dauid &c. Carta Mai'gareta de Monfode.Facsimiles 4 3 pacem et fidem xwstram in Anglia commomntnr. Sicut quondam Malcolms Flemyngwj et predutus Rob^rtus Delvalk milites ipsas terras cum pertmentus aliquo tempore libmus &c. Tenendatf et babeudas eidem Robyto et beredibzis suis de corpore suo procreatis seu procreandis in liberam baroniam in mods marieiis &c. but the record may have been made some years later. . 1362—3. Tenedzi et babendis eidem capellano divina in perpttuum nt prcmittitur celebraturo in puram et p^rpetuam elemosinam adeo lib^'e &c. Sicut carta sine Iz&ra predicts.. viz. Adeo \iberc &c. Testib^j. the Gothic style was predominant. Apud Edynburglie vicesimo tercio die Marcii Anno Regni iwstxi tn?cesimo tercio. Apud Edynburgch<2 nono die Marcii Anno Regni uostri xxx i ij° This page from the first volume of the Register of the Great Seal of Scotland exemplifies the characteristic official hand of the fourteenth century. Sciatis nos appr<?basse ratificasse donaczbwem illam ct concessionem quas Margareta de Monfoode in sua viduitate fecit et concessit vni capeVumo dimna pypetuo eelebraturt? in eccl&siam de Dunmauyne de annuo redditu novem Marcarww stylingorum sibi debito de terns de Hopkelloeh<? per Jacobum de Tvedi et Iwedes suos necnon de dnabus marcis sterlingorwiw air/matim pmupiendzV de tenris suis de Scraline pwporcionalittr ad tenninos vsuales. it will be seen. Tenueruwt seu possiderurct faciendo inde «ruidnm debit™ et co«sueto«. when. 34.

The custom was a survival of a very aneient principle in Roman Law. a Bible. and a curious development of the custom was seen in the early Roman Law. These symbols which were not necessarily restricted to straw or staves. handfuls of earth. and usually affixed to the Act. Here we have a form that is new to us— Q>cf for etc. were carefully preserved. or a visible symbol of the subject from the hand of the seller to that of the buyer. and very often in the Middle Ages. Cia and do are employed instead of tia and Ho. and the C of Cranstona in the second Charter. which. as. which has reference to the feudal custom of giving a straw and a stick to symbolise the conveyance of the land. per fustem et bacillum. but which might consist of rings.Facsimiles The following points should be noted :— i. coins. of which the Charter forms only the documentary evidence. gloves. was therefore hit upon. of course. books. as will be seen from the D of David. Everything depended upon the formula. stones. 3 . in the inability of primitive people to comprehend the abstract. for example. It had its origin. The capital letters are highly ornamental and corrupt. They could not under­ stand a conveyance in which something did not actually pass from hand to hand. 4. the form of investiture referred to in the second deed. when the action could be undone by repeating the forms. In these Charters. could not be disputed. The very common termination of orum will also be seen in sterlingorum 5. The device of passing a part of the whole. 3. if performed before witnesses. some ancient and obsolete customs are recorded. thus making of the conveyance a concrete and formal action. .

etc. The lateral compression of words and letters makes them diffi­ cult to read with fluency. Redatle. Particular notice should be paid to the form of the R in Rex. they were then given in the negative. and may be encountered in writings of a comparatively recent date. and likewise persists down to compara­ tively modern times. 7. 6.Facsimiles 45 but instead of the responses being in the affirmative. This was the capital R form which persisted throughout the Middle Ages. The numerals will be referred to in the notes to Facsimile No. . V. 9. A careful study of these deeds will elicit many forms of con­ traction to which frequent reference has been made both in the text and in these notes. 8. The 5" in Sciatis is also very common.

V 5.y assignis to Willia. l ..4 6 Facsimiles IV. The lord/. or how mekle is awing him & ordanis him to hafe \ctfcrs to suwmond his witnes & ye partye to here yoim sworn./^ Bliudsele ye X day of May w : contiwwaconne of days to profs y. ACTA DOMINORUM CONCIUI .Thomas Sibbald is awing to him ye soume of V £c. I. Vol. 1478.

It will. And ordanis y. The lorAis of Counsale decret/i & deliwrs yat Duwgall McDowale of McKarstoune sail content & pay to Robert Abbot of Kelsou & his successoum X ij chaldi??' & a half of vittale for ye teindw of McCarstouwe of ye last zer bigane for ye quhilk he is bundin be his obligaton schewin & prfducit befor ye lord?!?. will exemplify this in no unmistakeable manner.ilk & pwtestit ybecaus John<g of Murray of Balloch gert siu/zmond him & comperyt not to folow him y_ yairfov he sail not be herd in jugemez/t quhil he pay his costal? & expetisis & quhil new su/zmiondzV.? <w/*perit J o h ^ of Miwcreif of y.? decretal? & delivers y_ Johne of Swywtone zongar sail content & pay to Dauid Quhitehede ye some of i i ij ^ Y 1 5 • audit be him to ye said Dauid for silk & merchandis as was prufit befor ye lord?'.Facsimiles 47 The lord?.? & gud/!? herfor.? be his awne hand writ and ordanis y' letters be w?Vtin to distre^ze him his landa^ & gu&u herefor.letters be wr/tah to destrewze him his land/. We now come to the time when the handwritings were approaching their utmost depths of degradation. however. And ye said Duugall was suwmond to yis action & <r<?/«perit not. be seen that the contractions are such as his study of the . l XX iilj Yis decrete was gevin ye x x i i i j day of M>rche & befor ye lordzV y'_ sat y'_ day folowiwg thereftu?" on ye toyer side. A glance at the above example. It is with such handwritings that the Genealogist will chiefly have to contend. or at any one of the four which follow. : Befor ye lord?'. side & was yis reklesly wr/ti» on July. and they must be patiently and carefully mastered.

At the first glance the former may be taken for the Arabic 6. they are found to be badly written examples of the Roman V. as in distrenze. The y was written in the form of our s. etc. yaf ~that . -ec. y air for-therefore . as will be seen on comparing the 6 in the second line with the in the following facsimile. pronounced Dalycll. however. but unless they are . which varies only to a slight degree from Old English. and herein lies the principal value of the historical method which I have adopted in dealing with the subject. foyer ~ tother. and w{"with. The Arabian numerals did not come into use until the close of the Middle Ages. S. We have a survival of this custom in modern ortho­ graphy in the proper name Dalziel. On comparison with the same figure on the fifth line. which were very common in cursive writings about this time. Great care must be taken in mastering such forms as those exemplified in the third word on the fourth line—decretis. and the writings are selected from the official hands of the respective periods which were in a general sense common to the whole of Europe. and even then they were sparingly employed. I have retained the ancient forms of th and y. The numerals in this example are badly written.48 Facsimiles earlier hands has already made him familiar with. Examples will be found in almost every line of the facsimile—yc=t\\Q . In this word we have two shorthand devices. to distinguish it from the y-Hh. I have also retained the abbreviated forms of jyi-that. as they are usually written in that way even by the present day transcribers of ancient documents. The student is now practically at liberty to concen­ trate his whole attention upon the formation of the letters and the idiosyncracies of individual scribes. In transcribing. and V = et. The former is generally like our modern and is a survival and modifi­ cation of the Anglo-Saxon J?~ th. All the examples which follow are written in the Scots dialect.

seventh and fourteenth lines. Here also it is frequently difficult to tell whether such a continuation of the final stroke of a letter. near Kelso.Facsimiles 49 familiarised by the transcriber. Note also the contraction for letters in the third. In this case it marks the omission of the n. This form was almost invariably employed. No rules can be given in this connection. are of course the ancient forms of the name of the village of Makerston. is meant to mark a contraction or is merely an ornamental nourish. as in judgement (Line 10). they may cause him no end of trouble and worry. and further examples will be found in the facsimiles which follow. Each transcriber must trust to his own common sense and reasoning powers. . and stands for the conventional horizontal stroke usually employed to indicate such an omission. The words which I have transcribed as McKarstounc and McCarsfounc.

Facsimiles .

Facsimiles 51 MCBREK. the Rude altar and the chapel 011 the hill v Vratich Ciowm's Stnna ?. Item ye samyn day in Quhithirii to Sir Andro Makbrek be the king /5 command to dispone amaug preist /5 v$^f Item yot nyr//t quhe/z the king com to Quhithirn to his offcraud at the towne and at the Reliques x v i i j s. . Reliques. Item ye samyn day be the king /5 command to ye frem of the fery. the hie altar. Item ye XXij day of Apr/le in Kyrkcudbricht giffin to ye Item to ye frem of Kyrkcudbricht be the king /5 command to by yamz ane Eucharist viij "Bxancli Cxowm's Smna v&xij MAKBREK. Item ye xxiij day of Apr/le in Quhithirn giffin to ye king /5 oflrraud/5 at ye towne. Item ye samyn nyc/rt in Glasgo giffin to preist /5 in Glasgo be the king /5 command \ j jj St/ma latms * X V i j / £ " * i j 5. xiiij 5 Item ye xvj day of Apr/le in Eestalryg giffin to ye king /5 offerand preist /5 yair be the king /5 command x i i i j S. Item the xiiij day of Apr/le to Sir Andro Makbrek to dispone be the king /5 command xl s. Item ye xxiiij day of Apr/le in Aire giffin to Sir Andro Makbrek to dispone yarc to preist /5 ijj j£ Item ye samyn day to ye frem of Air be the king /5 command x iii i j S. MAKBREK. s.

52

Facsimiles

This page from the Treasurer's Accounts of the Kingdom of Scotland is chiefly interesting on account of the numerals, the contractions and handwriting being practically identical with those in the previous facsimile. The only contractions to which special attention need be drawn are the conventional abbreviations for Franch Crownis and Stcma. These occur from this time onward with little variation. What I said in my notes to Facsimile No. IV. regarding the numerals, is entirely borne out by the present illustration as well. Roman numerals are at this period employed throughout. In the seventh facsimile, written sixty years later, the Arabian figures will be seen, however, gradually coming into use, being employed there, to indicate the elate of the year, while the day of the month is still given in the Roman characters. Other and still more frequent examples will also be found in the eighth reproduction, of date 120 years later, where we have such mixtures as VLLL C

In connection with the Roman numeration, the following notes may prove useful :— (a) Instead of IDT, HH or i i ij was always written, and was invariably Vliij. IX,

We also occasionally find or over­

written above the i \ ij , being the terminal letters of quahwr. Analogously we have X for decern. (b) 80 was often written t i n , and 90, llffx. mix II. (V) 100 was usually C, but occasionally y • (d) 1,000 was generally the uncial -M, CD, but 500 was frequently 0> the explanation being that it was half of CD. Thus, 92 would be

Facsimiles

53

(e) The M, signifying 1,000, was also frequently indicated by the horizontal stroke written above the preceding figure or figures, that being, as we know, the sign for an omitted M. Thus X X X would stand for 30,000. (/) S (semi) was frequently placed after the numeral to a half, as L S = 50£ When the Arabian numerals came into use, they underwent a wide variety of shapes from age to age. A fairly complete list of these, as well as of the curious combinations which the Roman figures frequently took, may be found in Cappelli's Dizionario, to which reference has been made in the text, and to which those interested should refer. Great care must be exercised in respect of the Cursive form of X. As will be seen from the present facsimile, it is frequently very similar to the small Cursive p, and appearing, as it sometimes does, in the text of a document, it is frequently mistaken for that latter, with the usual resulting confusion and error.

54

Facsimiles
VI.
REGISTER OF DEEDS . Vol. I., 1 5 5 4 — ^ S 6

Johnne and Pat/'/k Congiltouns breyer to vmqz/Az'le Robert Congiltoun of yat ilk submitted to ws ozzr will and deliuirauce be ye said Patrik Congiltoun of yat ilk and ye said tutoL for his envies. and yai to be chairgit to obtempir and fulfill ye sami/z in all poylitis efter ye forme & tennoL yairoi of ye quhilk ye tennoL followis — We Elezabet. actionis. and Henry Cougiltoun. and exeeutoriallis to pas y^z'nipoun. subscryvit wL yair handis as is efter specifyt. James Cougiltoun and Patrik Congiltouu and gaif in yis declaratioun of will efter following. Patrik Cokburu of Newbiggin his tutoL for his entrzes. and to haif ye strenth of ane act and decreit of ye lordis yairoi in tyme to cnm. Priores of Hadingtoun having ye haill causis. and ye said Patrik Cokburne as cautioner yat yai sulci hald firme and stabill oz^r said delhwazzce and will. Audro Congiltoun. and be ye saidis Henry and James be yame . 55 Ill presence of ye lordis of Counsale comperit Maister Dauid Borthwik procuratoL specalie eonstitat for ane venerabill lady Elezabeth przbres of Hadingtouu. and yai to int<?rpone yair auetorzVy yairto. and ye said Patrik Cokburn as cautioner & soiMrtie for ye said Elezab<?//z and hir said spous. and desyrit ye samm to be insert and regz>/rat in ye buikis of Couusale. And siclik comperit ptvsonalie Henry Congiltoun. Elezabeth Hepburn and Williame Chirnsyid hir spous. that yai sail stand and abyid at ye deliutvance of ws in ye mat^r efter specifyt. and ye said E l e z a b ^ for hir self in name & behalf of hir said spous. Patrik Cokbtirn of Newbiggin his tutor. Patrik Congiltouu of yat ilk. the quhilk desyre ye saidis lordis thoc/zt ressonable and ordanit ye said declaratiouu of will to be insert and regzstrat in ye saidis bukis and to haif ye strenth of ane act and decreit of ye lordis yairof in tyme to euz/z and interponis yair auct<?rz'zy yairto and executoriallis to pas yaz'nvpoun. Audro. and debaittis depending betuix Patrik Congiltoun of yat ilk. James. and yai to be chargit to obtempir and fulfill ye sarnie in all poyntzs efter ye forme & tennoL ym'rof.Facsimiles Vigesimo quiwto Augusti Anno qui«quagesimo sexto. Elezabet Hepburne and Williame Chirnsyid hir spous.

I have subjected it to a careful comparison with the present facsimile. Contractions are practically non­ existent. The only points in the document itself which call for particular mention. Such Records as those from which this page has been photographed furnish. in the year 1554. and to such Registers too much attention can scarcely be given. meaning the late or deceased. Since this page was photo­ graphed. The present facsimile is a charac­ teristic example of the form and manner of document that must be very frequently consulted by the working Genealogist. and after allowing for the differences incidental to a photographic reproduction. which is one vi /ry common in Scottish documents and generally appearing in this particular form. can usually be read as easily as a letter written in the twentieth century. and elsewhere throughout the facsimile . has come into my possession. while the few that do occasionally slip in. . the contraction vmqle for umquhile. the curious contraction brey for brether in the last line. the two hands and styles are so closely similar that they both might well have been produced by the same scribe. and (2). are of a conventional and familiar character. a Memorandum of a Grant bearing upon the history of my own family. about the same period. in the eighth line from the foot. The writing also is plain. and after a few typical peculiarities have been mastered. and it really presents few difficulties to the patient transcriber. and to documents executed in different languages. executed in Latin in the County of Middlesex.Facsimiles selfis and ye said Henry takand ye burding vpoun him for ye remanent of his saidis brey<?r promittand & oblissand yame to fulfill. as may be gathered from the most superficial perusal of it. are (1). a perfect gold mine for the Genealogical searcher. thus bearing out in quite a remarkable manner what I have already stated regarding the universality of writings produced throughout Europe.

inserted in Registrum Secreti Sigilli Rcgum Scottorum. Ze sail pas \ettcres vnder o?/r<? said priue seile vpoun the signatol of ye gift and dispocitioun of ye abbacie of Cowpar notwithstanding yat ye PTTSONIS named to quhome it IS disponit be no! expremit in ye said signature. keipaud this oure precept . and this ze failze no!: to do and deliuer ye sarnie gratis. Keipar of oure priue seile and youre deputis. Lord Darnley. and her consort.Facsimiles 57 VII. Vol. Letter (Autograph) from Mary. Queen of Scots. 33. /I» P^FJJT"' fhGfaj 4 b i t 'I* ft-r^-«kv* f^lP^^f %tf W R » 1 R E X ET REGINA.

In the third line. and vice-versa. It will have been observed in this and the three preceding reproductions. Subscriuit wl oure handw at Halyrudhous. and presents no difficulties whatever in the matter of contractions. has come into the plate. xxv day of August. but these are merely pecu­ liarities of the writer. It was. who learned it. we have the same word with failze immediately following. Still. The This most interesting letter of Mary Stuart and her husband Darnley. though there appear to be none on the face of the document. part of the ordinary text of which executed in the same handwriting as that of the letter. might have given trouble to a beginner. with so many other arts and accomplish­ ments during her sojourn in France. . Some of the Queen's private letters are written iu this style throughout. In the first line the word ze is clearly our ye. and the learner will find it excellent practice to do so on his own account.Facsimiles for zoure warrand. Here we have also several notable examples of the employment of z for y. The signatures have quite a modern aspect compared with the docu­ ment itself. HENRY R . MARIE R . where we should write a v a u appears in these writings. as a general rule. so far as the caligraphy is concerned. and. and the tendency is fast setting towards the ridiculous and corrupt forms which became fixed and known as the Court and Chancery Hands. I have not transcribed this surrounding matter. and it was in no small degree due to Queen Mary. just about this period that the Italian or modern style of writing was coming into use. The word anal in the third Hue. also. and might be taken. it is plain and easy to read. 1565. and at in the fifth. that u and v are now con­ stantly interchangeable. for the efforts of a boy in the fourth or fifth standard of an average board school at the present day. is pasted into a volume of Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scottorum. I will be glad to clear up any difficulties that may arise. This is quite a different hand from that employed in the last example. that it latterly became the customary and standard handwriting in this country. and in the second last line zoure is written for youre.

R ' 111* -SI 1 V 3 T « I R F R 7 ' t| -•. . EDINBURGH COMMISSARIOT. .'.t .... N " < . a... 59 J i i i l ^ ' u . I . REGISTER OP TESTAMENTS. T V """^**^^^*^^ .Ji K » U ...Facsimiles VIII..

In ye ffirst ye said vmqukile Agnes Nemo had ye guidz>. yair was awin to ye said vmqwMe Agnes Nemo be Arthor. viz. T o witt. Suma of ye Inventar Followis ye debtzly awin to ye dead. Agnes N e m o xxx No r 1621. Be James Aikman and his caum conforme to yair obligatioune J M Merkis. sowmes of money and debtzly of ye awailks & pryees efter following. Subl w* hir awne hand in presens of ye witnesses vnderwritteu at length proportts. and fand.: Item. in vteneeillis & domiceilhi w^ ye abulzementis of hir bodie by the airschipe estimat. Tailzor. WL power &c. yair was awin to ye said vm^z^zle Agnes Nemo and hir said spous. burges of Edinburgh ye tyme of hir deceis quha deceest in ye moneth of Januar ye Zeir of God 1621 Zeiris faithfullie maid and gevin vp be ye said Jon Ros hir spous quhome scho nominatis hir onlie txecutex in hir laffat will vnderwrittin as ye samyne of ye dait at Edinburgh ye x i day of Januar ye Zeir of God forsaid. We Masfeit's Jon Arthour &c. geir. testamentar nominat be ye said vmqu/iile Matho Leslie reservand compt &c. geir.6o Facsimiles Chalmeris. sowmes of money & debtis pertening to vmquktle Agnes Nemo sumetyme spous to Jon. The Testament Testamentar & Inventar of ye guidis. Item. w r i t e r four scoir pundw money conforme to his obligntione. and gives and comittis the intromissioune w* ye samyn to ye said Elizabeth Haddine onlie execo/rix. Apud Edinburgh July 1624. Witnes. Moubray of Duwmany and his caurw . pertening to yame ye*|tyme of hir dececs foirsaid. Ros. Stratonne. Item. primo To x l tit Eike vnderwritten maid to yis testamewJ' as followis. Jon Fochart. Witnes. be Alexr.

and this facsimile must be carefully studied and the forms thoroughly mastered. The curious hiero­ glyphic cf stands. of course.Facsimiles be devydit n tua ^-C pairtjfr deidzj \>at'rt is 61 Xjji^fe Xi Merkis. Mauchane. v u i c l x v ^& 6 / £ U Suma of ye Inventar wi ye debtzj \ x C Y / f t ^ y £ Followis ye debtz> awin be ye deid.2^£ and geiwes &c. for the contraction for fro. Item to Robert Keithe. Merchand in Edinburgh for silk xx v j ^ t . and commhiis Item be Dauid Vaus x x Suma of ye debta's awin to ye deid. Item. The word proportis. to ffi. to Johne. Item to James Rea. Item be Patrik Nemo )^. yair was awin be ye said vmqu/u'le Agnes Nemo and hir said spous to Alexr. Merchand yair for Merchandrice xl^&. and the / scattered throughout the document are cases in point. and almost every scribe exercised his ingenuity in an apparent effort to make them as illegible as possible. The capitals are especially troublesome. at the end of line 17. and the downward stroke at the end of the word. Item. with which we are now per­ fectly familiar. The W in the second line. should be noted. Merchand for half ane Zeiris maile of his house and buithe oceupyit be ye defunc and hir said spous x l v / / j >rx". Item. is the conventional contraction for is. James Cuny^ghame of borrouit money x x iiij Here we have a particularly flagrant example of the corrupt Chancery Hand of the period. Here also we have .

It will be noticed in this photograph that faint marks of writing appear upon the blank spaces. This has apparently been caused by the volume having been closed while the opposite page was still wet. The cross stroke being absent makes it some­ times liable to be taken for an N or other letter. Observe also the A of Agnes in the margin. and if it should be sus­ pected that any particular writing has been made on a palimpsest. through the action of the atmosphere or from other causes. as time went on. executed the new deed upon the parchment thus cleaned. have been made by means of palimpsests. which are peculiar to Britain. Frequently. and the application of hydro-sulphuret of Ammonia as a re-agent to the document might safely be made. again made their appearance. when vellum was scarce and expensive. and it is in fact to such discoveries that we owe our possession of the De Republiea of Cicero. do not always indicate this as a probable cause.. These were called palimpsests. At first it was rather elegant though corrupt. more or less faint. The former persisted from the time of the early Tudors till the reign of George II.62 Facsimiles further examples of y standing for fk. steps should at once be taken to have the suspicion definitely confirmed or refuted. its lateral com- . but it may be well here to point out that such marks. Genealogists should always be on the look out for such documents. but. It is always well to have such documents photographed in the first instance. a word or two here regarding the Court and Chancery Hands. In conclusion. the strokes became thicker and coarser. and by the end of the seventeenth century it was by no means a beautiful hand. or. Its chief characteristics are its angularity. and z for y. were generally left. scribes took older MSS. and however well the obliterating process had been accomplished. may not be out of place. especially on vellum. traces of the former writing. and after partially or wholly obliterating the former text. the Institutes of Gains. and many other invalu­ able fragments of Classical and Juristic writings. Some of the most remarkable discoveries of portions of works which were supposed to have been irretrievably lost.

and with practice and perseverance the student should before long be in the happy position of being able to read with fluency any document that may fall into his hands. x and y also must not be confused. certain formulas are common to them all. and at least tolerably legible. letter is continually being taken for an 0 . inner stroke. viz. These are not infrequently known to the searcher already.Facsimiles to extremes utterly ridiculous and absurd. however. gradually degenerated to a mere dot <s>. were also all very similar-. Anyone accustomed to them will have no difficulty what­ ever with this style of writing. But the most the troublesome letter of all is e which originally was written 0. and perhaps we see it at its very worst in the facsimile here given. and the The Chancery Hands originated about the beginning of the seven­ teenth century. = 63 pression. and must be carefully distinguished— ^> _ £ ^ < £ > of such a letter by the mere addition of a perpendicular stroke capital F consisted of two small fs. c was V7 and t 0 j = g. though to a much less degree. O } The The T also was rendered unlike the ordinary Old English form and small & .$= M . ^ ~y.. and are perpetuated in the legal engrossing hands of the present day. provided the writing be in any one of the Latin styles. the introductory name. $ . (B = ^ . In an Exemplification of Recovery of 15 James I. A mastery of that document will indeed leave few difficulties to be overcome. } x. to the Chancery Hands. The most common of these is. O and S were = very similar. and the ornamentation of its capitals which was carried The G. and they thus serve as a key to all that succeeds. designation and titles of the king or person con­ ferring the grant. capital K and capital R K .g. 0 . and they vary very little from the earliest times. of course. which I have before me as I . One point is worth keeping carefully in mind in reading old documents. The remarks I have made above regarding' the Court Hands apply also.

To such. should it be possible to procure a suitable collection of facsimiles at a reasonable price. Scotie. yet are desirous of continuing the study. therefore. is accompanied by transcriptions made by the learned Professor of Vccole Nationalc des Charles. about five years ago. my inability to recommend to these students a British publication. and costs only 20 Francs (16/.. or serve to illustrate only short particular periods. and by studying the letters of those words already known. and by the added knowledge of the subject which he cannot fail to acquire from a careful study of them. That is in the Court Hand of the period. one is enabled to acquire a knowledge of the letters at once and to spell out the rest of the document with comparative ease. such a general collection as will suit the purpose of all earnest students of the science. and are valuable.6 4 Facsimiles write. for example." The first four words are written in an ornamental book hand. but there was published by Messieurs.nett. There may be some who. &c. are either excessively expensive. Rue Bonaparte. Nearly all the best repro­ ductions are foreign. Paris. It bears the title Rccueil de Fac-Similes d^Ecritures du vi au XVIR Steele. Alphonse Picard et Fils. Fidei Defensor. Francie et Hibernie Rex. as they suggest what is likely to follow.) I do not believe it possible to get anywhere a more repre­ sentative series at so low a price. it is not an easy matter to give profitable advice. the opening formula is as follows—"Jacobus Dei Gratia Anglise. and are easily read. 82. living at a distance from a library where further practice in the reading of ancient documents may be obtained. I regret. and I know from personal experience that any student who uses this collection as a basis for his further study will be amply repaid by the possession of these beautiful reproductions. consists of 50 admirable reproductions of carefullyselected MSS. . and such as we in England do possess.

I \ .

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