Palaeography abbreviations – some general rules

A straight tilde (a line) above a word usually means that an ‘m’ or ‘n’ needs to be added, or sometimes both (for example in ‘common’, or ‘examined’)

a curled tilde is short for ‘r’, ‘er’, ‘ar’ or ‘re’ (for example in ‘furniture’, ‘generally’, ‘quarter’)

A superscripted r also stands for ‘er’ or ‘or’ (for example in ‘mannors’, ‘actors’, ‘other’, ‘divers’, ‘present’)

A curl at the end of a word stands of ‘es’ or ‘s’ (for example in ‘thereabowt(e)s’)

A remainder of medieval latin handwriting can also be found at times. The most common one is the use of a p with a curl underneath, standing for ‘per’ or ‘par’ (for example in ‘apparell’, ‘Tipperary’)

A p with a curl from the left side is ‘pro’ (for example in the common word of ‘protestant’)

Less common is the use of a type of 9 for ‘com’ at the start of a word or ‘us’ at the end of a word.

Other common abbreviations are ‘sd’ for said; ‘wth’ for with or ‘wch’ for which and ‘&c’ for etc. (the & stands for the Latin ‘et’), ‘honble’ or ‘hoble’ for honorable, ‘Maty’ with a tilde or ‘Matie’ or similar variations for ‘Maiesty’/’Maiestie’.

Confusing can be the use of the ‘y’ (thong) for ‘th’ (for example in ‘the’, ‘that’).

Names are also often abbreviated, for example ‘Tho:’ for Thomas, ‘Robt’ for Robert etc.

In the depositions (and elsewhere) occcasionally Latin forms of first names are used, especially in the Waring copies, where Waring usually ends in Latin (in the example provided: Ran: Adams et Henr: Jones, so not immediately recognisable; elsewhere he uses ‘Willo’ for Willelmo or Joh: for Johannes or Johannem).

Other Latin words used are, for example, ‘per annum’, the Latin months (for example ‘martij’ for March), ‘Com’ for county, ‘dni’ with a tilde for ‘domini’ and other miscellaneous words (in the depositions for example ‘Jurat coram nobis’).