The Art of Writing and Manuscript Production

This project is producing new research to investigate our extensive collection of artefacts that illustrate this fascinating theme. Finds, found in York, that are being 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.

A new exhibition at Barley Hall will ultimately display the collection of objects and reveal how they were involved in document, manuscript and book production and care. The project also aims to reveal 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

Papal bullae

Seal Matrices

Parchment prickers, styli and lead points

Book Clasps

David Scott