Bibliography – Technical

This annotated list is very select. It contains only the most important books and articles that should help you with particular problems in archival work on town waits.

Scripts and Abbreviations

L.C. Hector. The Handwriting of English Documents. London, Edward Arnold, 2nd edn. 1966.
Hector’s book is splendid on English handwriting, and he deals with much (such as numerals and counting) that is not in the title.

Anthony G. Petti. English literary hands from Chaucer to Dryden. London, Edward Arnold, 1977.
Apparently superseding Hector’s book, this deals with rather later scripts, omits issues discussed by Hector, and adds a helpful section on the preparation of writing materials (parchment, ink, etc.).

John M. Wasson. Early Drama, Art, and Music Documents: A Paleography Handbook. Early Drama, Art, and Music Monograph Series, 20. Kalamazoo, Michigan, Medieval Institute Publications, 1993.
A handy paperback, but the format is a little small for the facsimiles to be as useful as they might be. Wasson has helpful tips about difficult letter-forms. The great advantage of this is the provision of facsimiles of various kinds of document together with transcriptions (which are not always reliable, however).


Peter Spufford. Handbook of Medieval Exchange. London, Royal Historical Society, 1986.
The subject of coinage, values and monetary exchange is huge, even if one deals only with transactions in England. This book offers excellent basic discussions by the acknowledged authority on European coinage in the Middle Ages and later.

Dates and Chronology

C.R. Cheney, ed. Handbook of Dates for Students of English History. London, Royal Historical Society, 1978.
Saints’ days, different calendars, the date of Easter in particular years and many other matters – a “must” for tracking the annual cycle of events and celebrations such as those involving the civic minstrels.

E.B.Fryde, D.E. Greenway, S. Porter and I. Roy, eds. Handbook of British Chronology. London, Royal Historical Society, 1941; 3rd edn. 1986.
Dates and biographical information on the rulers, government officers, bishops and peers of the British Isles from the earliest recorded times.


R.E. Latham. Revised Medieval Latin Word-List. London, Oxford University Press for the British Academy,1965; reprinted with supplement, 1980.
A large book, this often tells you what the classical Latin dictionaries do not, although the classical dictionaries are often useful, too.

Eileen A. Gooder. Latin for Local History. London and New York, Longman 1961; 2nd edn. 1978.
Another very useful paperback handbook: vocabulary, grammar, and examples taken from late Latin sources such as the local historian will want to read.