Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Minutes of the York Corporation, from the Corporation House Book, of 1542. York City Archives B.16, f.19, by permission of York City Archives.
This represents a single page from the minute book of the York City Corporation from the mid 16th century. The minutes are written in English on paper in what I guess we might call a normal cursive business hand of the time. This is one page from a bound volume. As a working document, it contains corrections and annotations, and is some way from the elegant scripts used for formal documents and a lot closer to some of the untidy things you might find while doing normal historical research.

This type of material is representative of the increasingly important local governmant records that gradually appear during the later middle ages and early modern period. This particular page records the attendance at a council meeting, and also records a letter from the Lord of Cumberland, which was accompanied by a gift of venison and gold for the purchase of wine to accompany it. It's nice to know that gifts from the mighty men to sweeten up the local councillors has such a long and illustrious history. The council kindly agreed to pay the messenger who brought the booty 10 shillings for his trouble.

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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.
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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 18/3/2008.