Medieval Writing
Cursive Personal Hand

Script Type : minuscule cursive

Date : 16th century

Location : England

Function : personal hand

This is a segment from a personal confession of sins, apparently dating from the 16th century, in private ownership. Rights to reproduction of the image reside with the owner of the document.
Pass cursor over letters to see examples taken from the section illustrated above.

Distinctive letters: This is a somewhat untidy cursive hand, so the letters are not entirely regular in form. The ascenders and descenders of letters tend to be curly, quite long, and sometimes extravagent. The letters s and f are very tall, while g has a wavy laterally extended descender. The letter t is tall and straight.

The letter r looks distinctly like a z. The letter c is angular and minimalist, sometimes appearing to be back to front.

The letter e is variable, sometimes open and sometimes closed, looking as if it has been written back to front.

The short and curly s, which appears at the ends of words, is finished with an extravagant upward flourish.

The letter h is open and loose, sometimes appearing to be falling right off the line.

Al the letters composed of minims, m, n and u, are spiky and difficult to differentiate, but it does help that i is dotted.

The letter j only appears at the beginning of words, and is written as a capital I, in this case with a lot of curly twists.

There are no examples of k (which is a pity, as it might have been diagnostic for whether the writer was Thomas Kent) or w, y or z.

There is no paleography exercise for this as yet, as I am still trying to get my head around parts of it. I suspect that some of the worn parts might show up under an ultraviolet light, but as I haven't seen the original document yet, only its cyberspace image, that might have to wait for some time. Meanwhile, run the cursor slowly over the main block of text in the image above to see my best shot at a transcript of that section.

Script Index

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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 27/8/2009.