Online Tuition in the Palaeography of Scottish Documents

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About the Letter Finder

The Letter Finder takes you through each letter of the alphabet used in Secretary Hand looking at their most common forms and how they are formed. Understanding the ways letters are formed and how they look in isolation is important when reading more difficult hands as often it's just a letter or two that causes the barrier to understanding. Each letter and some now obsolete letters are covered here. In addition, there are three sample alphabets - one each for the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Remember that handwriting is notoriously idiosyncratic so while our examples will not match every hand, they will show you the basic letter formation, which you can then apply to the text in front of you.

To use the Letter Finder, simply choose the letter or alphabet you are interested in from the side navigation.