Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Charter of Ralph de Cuningburgh to the Abbey of Byland (British Library, add. charter 70691). All images by permission of the British Library.
This is a private charter, addressed as a notification to the archbishop of York, by Ralph de Cuningburgh that he is giving a parcel of land, moor and woodland adjacent to Byland Abbey to that institution. He is, in fact, confirming a grant that his brother Herbert made before him. The text refers to having made the grant to the monks in their chapter house, emphasising that at this date a written charter was essentially a confirmation of witnessed oral testimony.
The charter is written in a protogothic document hand of English type. The seal is attached with a parchment tag.

It is dated to between 1177 and 1187.
Byland Abbey Ruins of the church of Byland Abbey, now an English Heritage site, as seen from the west door.
Byland Abbey, like many Cistercian houses, is rather remote and romantic. There are only fragmentary ruins above ground, but some interesting floor tiles survive and the drains are quite fascinating. It sits just below the moors and can be extraordinarily cold.

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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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