Online Tuition in the Palaeography of Scottish Documents

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Letter r

In Scottish documents written between c.1450 and c.1800 look out for two forms of the letter r.


The first (a curly r) is formed by three strokes of the pen: a curled down-stroke linked to a curled up-stroke by a curled cross-stroke. It can look rather like a small dog, and is easily confused with other letters such as v, u, w, n and m.


The second (a descending r) is formed by three descending diagonal strokes of the pen. It can easily be confused with the letters z or yogh, especially where the letter is used at the end of a word which is contracted.

The word below is com[m]iss[a]r, written in a form which is very common in seventeenth century testaments, where the descending stroke from the double s loops into the descending r at the end of the word.


It is not unusual to find both forms in the same document, as in the following word (require):