Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Notes added to Genealogy of the Beauchamp Family, early 16th century. From a private collection. Photographs © Dianne Tillotson.

This exercise shows some additional notes made on the verso of a late 15th or early 16th century genealogy of a branch of the Beauchamp family. The original text of the genealogy is also featured as a paleography exercise. The additional notes have been added in what appears to be a single cursive hand, although probably at different times, with varying degrees of neatness and functionality of the quill. On the recto of the document, the annotations have been used to add details to the basic genealogy, the most recent of which refers to a family event which occurred in 1522. The verso of the document contains a list of the manors and their annual rents belonging to Richard Beauchamp, the last male in this line of the family, at his death. It contains brief notes on his surviving family, and a comment on the origin of the information in the genealogy. For the sake of keeping the exrcise manageable, we will here look only at the notes on the verso, as those on the recto are scattered around and through the original text in a very complicated manner. The writing on the verso is also reasonably neat, which gives us a fighting chance.

One interesting point is that although the original text and most of the annotations and notes are in English, the annotator occasionally slips into Latin for legal or genealogical terms. Perhaps he thought it looked more important that way. The script is quite difficult to read, but the limited nature of the vocabulary and subject matter makes it manageable. The spelling is something else again.

The image above shows only about half the page, as the bottom half is blank. The writing is in two columns.

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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.
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 2/2/2006.