Two Charters

Below are two fifteenth-century documents relating to land and property. They both belong to a private collection in Lancaster.

Document A is Lancaster: Private Collection M.A. Twycross, Charter 2, dated 9 April 1401.

................................................. Meg Twycross

This is in Latin, with the names of the persons involved in English. It is a good example of the standard form of release of land. Legal documents made heavy use of abbreviations of the standard formulae, as everyone was expected to know what they stood for.

For an excellent introduction to these formulae, see :

The date is given by day, month, and regnal year. The invaluable guide to medieval and post-medieval methods of dating - no historian should be without it - is:

The script is a formal late-fourteenth-century Secretary hand.
As usual:

1.....Transcribe it, paying particular attention to the abbreviations.
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2..... Copy out a line, using pen and ink. What do you notice about the mechanics of writing?
3. ....Describe it in terms of
A...Overall aspect;
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B. ..Individual letter forms;
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C. ..Capital letters.
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4.....Describe the layout. Feedback



Document B is Lancaster: Private Collection M.A. Twycross, Charter 3, dated 25 March 1499. It is an indenture: note the serrated edge along the top.

................................................. Meg Twycross

This is in English. It records a lease of agricultural land in Staffordshire, near Uttoxeter. It also makes use of abbreviations, but a rather different range from the Latin charter.
The Staffordshire dialect is marked. It is written in a run-of-the-mill late-fifteenth-century Secretary hand.

Again:

1.....Transcribe it, paying particular attention to the abbreviations.
Feedback
2. .... Copy out a line, using pen and ink. What do you notice about the mechanics of writing?
3. ....Describe it in terms of
A. ..Overall aspect;
Feedback
B...Individual letter forms.
Feedback
C. ..Capital letters.
Feedback
4.....Describe the layout. Feedback



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© MEG TWYCROSS 2000