Medieval Writing
Cursive Document Hand

Script Type : minuscule cursive

Date : 15th century

Location : England

Function : document hand

This is part of the endorsement in Latin by the clerk of the council on the verso of a petition of 1441 to Henry VI (London, National Archives, E28/G8/18). By permission of the National Archives.
It is in a cursive document hand which is less formal than the neat chancery hand of the petition itself.
Pass cursor over letters to see examples taken from the page illustrated above.

Distinctive letters : This cursive hand is more informal than the bastarda script, of standard chancery type, which was used for the actual petition. The letters are somewhat variable in form and what is shown in the alphabet given here is a representative sample. The individual letter forms are related to those of the recto of the document, notably the tall s and f with a broken backed appearance. The letter g has an unusual rapidly written form, like a y with a horizontal bar over the top. The letter x is highly cursive, written with a single curved stroke.

The letters n, u and v are virtually indistinguishable.

The letters j, k, w and z are not represented, although the word Maii on the third line has the second i extended below the line so that it resembles a j.

There are many abbreviations. Pass the cursor slowly over the first few lines to decode some words. For more detail, proceed to the paleography exercises.

The photograph on this page has been upgraded from a scan taken from an old photocopy to a colour image derived from a National Archives download.

Script Index

Script for the recto of this document

Paleography exercises using Flash

Requires at least the Flash 5 plugin

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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 12/3/2008.