Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Royal warrant of 1491 (Nottinghamshire Archives DDFJ 10/9/3). All images by permission of Nottinghamshire Archives.
This document is a chancery warrant issued under the signet, addressed to Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam, keeper of the park of Conisborough in Yorkshire, ordering him to deliver twelve quick does for Bryan Sandeford, Squire of the Body, to stock his park at Thorp. Apart from any paleographical considerations, it is a nice little example of a bit of royal patronage for close personal retainers. Bestowing a few royal deer would seem to have resonances of the days of Robin Hood and Bad King John rather than the Tudor dynasty.
The word "quick" can mean alive, but also pregnant, and I assume that here it means the latter seeing they are for stocking a park.

The script is a chancery hand of bastarda type, rather cursive in style. The text is English. The monogram of the king is at the top. The seal was formerly attached to the face of the document, as was custimary with the signet, but it has disappeared.

Note: This document has been redated here as a result of information from Nathaniel Taylor, an erudite reader who has been doing historical research on the people mentioned in the document. It is not, as originally described, from the reign of Henry VIII, but from that of Henry VII, Bryan Sandeford having been an adherent of that evil usurper, or alternatively creator of modern England (depending on whether you are a Yorkist or not). Sandeford received various favours from the king after 1485 and died around 1503, while Thomas Fitzwilliam was steward of the manor of Conisburgh in the 1480s. This all goes to show that historical data provides much more accurate dating than any paleographical considerations. The document is dated the viith yere of our Reigne, but of course one has to know whose reign. The fact that this is not specified indicates that these working documents were not written for posterity, but for immediate action. Thank you Nat.

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