Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Private charter, 1444, from the collection of Rob Schäfer. All images © Rob Schäfer.
This private charter documents a land transaction involving parcels of land in the villages of Good Easter and Mashbury in Essex. The first name is rendered as Goodichestre in the document. Also mentioned is the nearby parish of Springfield.
The document is written in Latin in a Gothic cursive document hand and it is dated 1444. The text is highly formulaic and many words are heavily abbreviated, on the assumption that anyone who needed to would know what they were supposed to be. Much of it is taken up with lists of names of parties to the transaction and the witnesses. An interesting feature of this document is the survival, relatively intact, of five seals. Many thanks to Rob Schäfer, a user of this website in Germany, for supplying the excellent photographs of this item from his personal collection. Often these simpler documents from lower down the social order than the charters of kings and magnates do not make it into visual collections from major institutions, and we also get colour.
Map detail showing the three places mentioned in the charter, near Chelmsford in Essex. (From P.H. Reaney 1935 The Place-Names of Essex Cambridge University Press. And no, I didn't vandalise the book with a red pen. That is just a digital illusion!)

| overview | seals | text | alphabet | abbreviations | structure | exercises |

| transcript | translation |

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.
Script sample for this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 26/5/2005.