Scribal variation in a legal document : a study of the bounding of barmston
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- Master's theses (HF-IKS) 
The present thesis is a study of a Middle English legal document defining the boundaries of Barmston in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The document was produced by four main scribes,; in addition, a fifth scribe may have produced a few lines. The document is of considerable interest from the point of view of scribal practices and dialectal variation; three of them form a fairly coherent group, while the fourth one clearly stands out as different. The document raises several questions about Middle English scribal variation and its social context; in particular, these concern the role of regional linguistic usage in Northern documents and the context of text production and literacy practices of which the document forms a part. In order to address these questions, the present study focuses on four different aspects of the Barmston document: the text as a historical document and as evidence for literacy practices, the palaeographic variation and the dialectal variation. The document is of considerable interest as evidence for the development of literacy practices and literate modes. The fact that it was produced by four or five different scribes is in itself remarkable. The format and conventions of the text, as well as the traces of annotation present, are also of interest in what they suggest about literate modes and the use of documents: in particular, the text seems to be remarkably little suited for reference use. The thesis is divided into two main parts. The first one places the text within its dialectal, historical and geographical context, and provides an overview of the landholding arrangements described in the document. It then carries out studies of the physical, palaeographical and dialectal characteristics of the document. The second part consists of an edition of the text, with notes on the editorial conventions a glossary and explanatory notes on the measurements and land units. In addition, a list of the names and places that appear in the document is provided as an appendix.
Master's thesis in Literacy studies