Medieval Writing
15th Century English Chancery Hand

Script Type : minuscule

Script Family : Gothic bastarda

Date : 15th century

Location : England

Function : Document hand or charter hand

This is the left hand end of a long narrow petition of 1445 in English to Henry VI from the abbess of Barking (London, National Archives E.28/74/51). By permission of the National Archives.
Pass cursor over letters to see enlarged examples taken from the page illustrated above.

Distinctive letters : This 15th century chancery hand is very tiny. It tends towards a cursive style, but is very neat. Dare one see a fastidious female style here, or would that be jumping to quite unjustifiable conclusions?

The small letters are very angular, and n, u and v become largely indistinguishable, although there is a different form of u when it appears at the beginning of a word. The ascenders of b, h and l are loopy, while d is usually looped but not in every case. The letter w has a simple form of two joined vs.

There are two forms of s, the tall and the short and loopy, and two forms of r.

There are no example of j, q or z.

Pass the cursor slowly over the lines of text to pick out some words. As this is only one end of the document, the text does not run continuously. This document has an endorsement stating what action was taken in a different hand. Check out this second script example, or go to the paleography exercises to examine the whole thing in detail.

script of endorsement on this document

Script Index

Paleography exercises using Flash

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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 20/3/2007.