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Background Information

This is a case from the minute book of Glasgow Burgh Justice of the Peace Court, 1677 (Glasgow City Archives reference B3/2).

On the whole this is a neat hand, with good line spacing, but some care is required, especially with regard to the letter w and also to descending letters. In the test, the name of the baillie (the magistrate) and the two parties in the case have been left blank for you to fill in, along with one or two other words. The writer uses at least two types of w. One is the common Secretary Hand type and can be seen in the word within in line 1. The second is a curly w and can be seen in the word glasgow in line 2. This second type of w - the curly form - is easily confused with the double-l, such as that used in the words Bell and baillie in line 5.

Other letters or combinations of letters can be mistaken for a curly w or vice versa. The lb in tolbuith (line 2) and the k in q[uhi]lk (line 6) are two examples.

Be very careful with descending letters, such as the long s, the h, the x, the f, and the p. Note how similar these can appear, for example in line 21: Except annent the words of.

Some Scots words which appear are:

Scots English
rugged pulled out
strike or beat
anent concerning

And some of the standard court phrases are:

Legal term Meaning
Samyne same
Sederunt present in court
bill of complent bill of complaint
pro[curato]r fiscall the public prosecutor
for his entres for his interest, i.e. for his part
Compearit appeared in court
def[end]er defendant
persewars probatioune pursuer's proving
adducit divers famous witness[es] produced in court several witnesses of good repute
quatt freed (i.e. from imprisonment in the tolbooth)

These will recur in the other examples, sometimes in abbreviated form.

Image reproduced with permission of Glasgow City Council, Mitchell Library.

Take the Test

The document has been divided into 4 sections. Read the section shown in the image and transcribe the word you think is missing from the text below by typing in the appropriate blank space. The text will be red as you type and will turn black when you have transcribed the word correctly.

If you would prefer to complete the tutorial on paper go to Print The Test.

1. At ane justice court holdine within the
tolbuith of glasgow For the brughe of the
Samyne Vpon the Eleavint day of Junij 1677
4. Sederunt
5. Mr baillie
6. The q[uhi]lk day annent the bill of complent Given in be the pro[curato]r fiscall and alex[ande]r

Transcription of lines 1-6

7. Thomsone sone to Alex[ande]r Thomsone merchand for his entres Against
8. spous to mer[chan]d and he for his entres Makeing
9. mentione That whair the s[ai]d alex[ande]r yo[unge]r being sporting and playing
10. himselfe Vpon the hie streit with the rest of his nighbours bairnes Not
11. thinking to be abuisit by any persone The s[ai]d Called him
12. ane with many other baise speaches and not being satisfiet

Transcription of lines 7-12

13. therwith and rugged the samyne
14. out and therafter and dang his head against the
15. staines and therby bruised his head q[uhi]lk is thought will never mend
16. and ware not the help of god and good nighbours shoe would have bein
17. his deid as the bill beirs Compearit the def[end]er and denyit the bill
18. and the justice of peace admittit the samyne to the persewars

Transcription of lines 13-18

19. proba[tio]une Who for proveing therof adducit divers famous witness[es]
20. sworn admittit and examined Who proved the said haill bill sufficient-
21. -lie, Except annent the words of scandle And therfor the s[ai]d justices
22. of peace fynit her in and to remaine in waird till
23. that ware payit and the bairne better thereafter quatt

Transcription of lines 19-23

Read the full transcription