January 31, 2019|Reports

“Deciphering a 12th century Wickham Manuscript” – Jim Coleman & Geoff Phillpotts

Sadly David Houghton was unable to give his planned talk due to ill health but Jim Coleman kindly filled the gap with a fascinating insight into the hard task of deciphering medieval latin documents. Before 1735 many legal documents were still in latin: in Wickham’s case this included manor court documents, church court cases, bonds and other legal documents.

Over the last year a small group supported by WHS and led by Jim have been painstakingly translating latin documents word by word. The biggest challenge is deciphering what the word actually is. Medieval scribes used a variety of scripts and letters could vary enormously. There were no agreed spellings and to make life even more difficult the clerks were in a hurry so many words were abbreviated, sometimes shown by a squiggle, sometimes not !

Jim’s example was a land transfer deed from Quob Farm (then La Quabbe) dating right back to the 13th century. His research showed the deed was of an even earlier date than the Hampshire Record Office had stated.

Our thanks to Jim Coleman, Robert Goulson, Frances Keppel, Paolo Olech and Geoff Phillpotts for their work. The translated documents will be published to the WHS website shortly.

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