Palaeographical Analysis of London, Wellcome Library, MS. 3771


Majuscules; Minuscules; Script; Secretary; Transcription

How to Cite

Linehan Gómez, S. (2023). Palaeographical Analysis of London, Wellcome Library, MS. 3771. GAUDEAMUS, the Journal of the Association of Young Researchers on Anglophone Studies, 3(1), 55–82. Retrieved from


In the present paper, the subject of study is the manuscript housed in London, Wellcome Library, MS 3771, containing a late 17th-century English remedy book. According to the Library, MS 3771 was written by Doctor William Parnell and houses a collection of medical recipes in alphabetical distribution by disease. Nevertheless, the volume closes with the mysterious acronym, E. W. The Wellcome Library argues that E. W. is the actual author of the manuscript, instead of Parnell, due to the “probably advanced age” of the doctor. The objective of the present paper is to investigate, analyse and categorise the script employed by the hand of the manuscript, as well as the various hands of the last page and its unbound leaves, to determine the authorship of MS 3771.

Additionally, as is known, the scribes resorted to abbreviations to save time and space. The development of abbreviations in Latin acquired “elaborate and complex proportions”, however, the inventory was somewhat reduced over time. Vernacular languages later adopted the Latin system of abbreviations, rules, and signs (Petti 1977, 29). In conjunction with the analysis of the scripts, the present research also pursues the study of abbreviations with miscellaneous sections such as symbols, curtailments, superscript letters, and the other resources employed by the different scribes together with the analysis of the scribal errors and mistakes.



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