Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Abstract of Agreement, 1500, British Library, Harley 1498, f.76. All images by permission of the British Library.
This highly elaborate document represents an abstract of agreement between King Henry VII and the abbot and convent of Westminster. It is, in fact, an indenture, and the wavy upper edge can just be made out at the top of the photograph. However, it is bound into a codex which also contains four deeds, in a binding with the arms of Henry VII. This is effectively a cover sheet for the series of agreements between king and convent. Unlike most legal documents, it is lavishly illustrated and is written in English in a script which is closer to a Gothic bastarda book hand than a document hand.
The content of this page is ceremonial persiflage rather than substantive issues, which are presumably contained in the accompanying deeds. It basically states, in rolling and repetitious language, that the king and the abbot and convent have made a number of agreements, ratified by their seals, and they had better stick to them.
Pity we don't have a colour picture!

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Click on each of the above to walk your way through the text. The transcript will appear in a separate window so that you can use it for reference at any time. These exercises are designed to guide you through the text, not test you, so you can cheat as much as you like.
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