The Art of Writing and Manuscript Production

This project produced new research to investigate our extensive collection of artefacts that illustrate this fascinating theme. Finds, found in York, that were explored include:

  • A clockmaker seal matrix from 62-68 Petergate.
  • Seal matrices from Bedern, Fishergate, Aldwark and Rawcliffe.
  • Papal bullae from St. Leonards, All Saints Peasholme Green and Haymarket.
  • Parchment prickers, styli and lead points from Swinegate, Fishergate. Coppergate, Tower Street, Bishophill Senior and Bedern.
  • Book clasps and mounts from Bedern and Fishergate.
  • Wax tablets from Swinegate.

An exhibition at Barley Hall displayed the collection of objects and revealed how they were involved in document, manuscript and book production and care. The project also revealed who was literate in the medieval period? How dominant was the church in this period? Do we know if the owners of seal matrices – some of whom were craftspeople – would have been literate and who wrote on the wax tablets?

Project Reports 

Wooden Writing Tablets from 12-18 Swinegate, York, by Steven J. Allen

Papal Bullae from Peasholme Green, York by N. Rogers, with thanks to Dr. T. Pestell

Writing and Literacy in the Medieval Period, By Nicola Rogers

Wax Tablets

Papel Bullae

Seal Matrices

Parchment prickers, styli and lead points

Book Clasps