Click on the button beside each word to show its abbreviation in the text.  

Some of the abbreviations are generic ones taken over from usage in Latin, such as the omission of n or m with a superscript abbreviation mark, or a slash through the descender of p to indicate per. The abbreviation for and seems to have its own individualistic flourish, sometimes with an a superscript arc and sometimes a dot as well. Small words beginning with th have the letter which looks like a y with a small superscript letter. Some, such as praythe, seem just a little random. Of course, there is also the spelling to contend with, and it was centuries before the invention of the Oxford English Dictionary.

These are not all the individual abbreviations in the text. You can find the rest with the help of the transcript.

Letter to John Paston III from William Paston III, c.1478 (British Library, add. ms. 27,446, f.18). All images by permission of the British Library.  

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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.
Medieval Writing
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