Medieval Writing
15th Century English Chancery Hand

Script Type : minuscule

Script Family : Gothic bastarda

Date : 15th century

Location : England

Function : Document hand or charter hand

This is the left hand end of the endorsement to a petition of 1445 in English to Henry VI from the abbess of Barking (London, National Archives E.28/74/51). By permission of the National Archives.
Pass cursor over letters to see enlarged examples taken from the page illustrated above.

Distinctive letters : This hand represents the endorsement to the petition of the previous example, indicating the action that has been taken. This is a larger and more angular chancery hand than that of the main petition.

The small letters are very angular, and n, u and v become largely indistinguishable. The ascenders of b, d, h and l are loopy. The letter w is the elaborate, large, loopy form.

There are two forms of s, the tall and the short and loopy, and two forms of r.

There are no examples of j or q.

The letter combination th is written as y, no longer utilising the slightly different thorn character. This is not used in every case, and the combination is sometimes written out in full.

The letter z, or rather something that looks like the letter z but actually isn't, appears in one instance where it represents the consonant y. It is, in fact, a yogh, a letter introduced into Middle English.

Pass the cursor slowly over the lines of text to pick out some words. As this is only one end of the document, the text does not run continuously. The text of the main document has its own script example, or go to the paleography exercises to examine the whole thing in detail.

script of main text of this document

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 4/8/2010.