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Palaeographical Analysis of London, Wellcome Library, MS. 3771 (pp. 55-82)

Sinéad Linehan Gómez

University of Málaga


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.

Keywords: Majuscules; Minuscules; Script; Secretary; Transcription


Sinéad Linehan Gómez graduated in English Studies in 2020 and later obtained her Masters’ Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication (2021) at the same university. She is currently working on a PhD thesis dealing with the edition and philological study of a 17th-century scientific manuscript housed in London, Wellcome Library, MS. 3771. She is currently working on the compilation and POS-Tagging of the Late Modern English component of The Málaga Corpus of Early English Scientific Prose. Her fields of study are Historical Linguistics, Corpus Linguistics and Manuscript Studies.

e-mail addresssineadlg@uma.es


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