ALPHABET


Below are sample alphabets of the four major scripts used in early modern English-language documents.

Examples of the 4 main scripts


To learn more about these scripts, visit the Hands section under Techniques and Tools.



English Round Hand
round hand script
From "Round hand script" at brittanica.com


Italic Hand
“Italique hande”
From "Learning to write the alphabet" by Heather Wolfe at
The Collation: a gathering of scholarship from the Folger Shakespeare Library


Secretary Hand
“The secretarie Alphabete” from Jehan de Beau-Chesne and John Baildon, A booke containing diuers sortes of hands, as well the English as French secretarie with the Italian, Roman, chancelry & court hands (London, 1602). This was the first English-language writing manual, first published in 1570.
From "Learning to write the alphabet" by Heather Wolfe at
The Collation: a gathering of scholarship from the Folger Shakespeare Library

THE SECRETARY ALPHABET: FULL CHART


For further practice with Secretary hand, visit http://paleo.anglo-norman.org. Click on the coin on the right representing "early-modern paleography," then from the menu on the left, "The alphabet." As you move the pointer over the Secretary letters, the box in the upper left gives the modern letters. Then click on the box in the lower left of your screen labeled "Forms (cursive)" to see actual sample letters that you are likely to encounter. 

Pay particular attention to the lowercase c, e, h, r, s, u/v, w, and x.​



Court Hand
From "Early Modern Handwriting: An Introduction by Elisabeth Leedham-Green at
English Handwriting 1500-1700.