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16th Century French Transcript Example
Transcript of Serjeant's Report (draft) by Pierre Boudet, dated 20-January-1585 
transcription and translation
copyright © Kristina Bedford 2010-2018
  initials in left margin
 1.  Le Vingtiesme Jour de Janvyer mille
      The Twentieth Day of January, one thousand 
 2.  cinq cent quattrevingtz et cinq auant
      five hundred eighty and five, before
 3.  midy En vertu de certeine commission
      noon. In pursuance of a certain commision
 4.  en si cy attachee signee p[ar] le c[on]sul
      in si attached here, signed by the councilman 
 5.  Gohory et sellee de cire Jaulne

      Gohory, and sealed with Yellow wax, 

 6.  en datte de xxvije Jour doctobre dern[ier]
      under date of (the) 27th Day of October last, 
 7.  Et ala Requeste de Martine Le Vayer
      And at the Petition of Martine le Vayer 
 8.  y denominee Jay a haulte voix et cry
      here named, I have with loud voice and cry 
 9.  public[que] Lev[e] et publye a lissue de
      public Raised [i.e. announced publicly] and proclaimed at the end of 
10.  la messe grande messe p[ar]ochialle
      the mass parochial high mass 
11.  de bazoges le contenu en certeine
      of Bazoges, the contents of a certain 
12.  a[rti]cle denchere expedye en la Court
      record of auction dispatched to the Court
13.  de p[resen]tement a p[r]es le xiije aoust dern[ier]

      at this time, after the 13th of August last, 


14.  Signe dehevez aussi cy attache

      Signed (by) de Hevez,* also attached here,

      [* Jean de Hevez: Parliamentary Official of the late 16th century] 


15.  Et desd[icts] commission et enchere Laisse

      And of the said commission and (bill of) auction, Left 


16.  p[ar] affixe coppyes Auec aultant de

      by affixing copies, Therewith, moreover, 


17.  p[rese]nt p[ro]ces pr[esidi]al ala grande porte

      the present (law-)suit of the presidial,* to the great door

      [* Law Court established by Henri II, with jurisdiction extending between Parliament & the Bailiwick] 


18.  et principalle entree de leglize

      and main entrance of the church 


19.  dud[ict] Lieu de bazoges Letout ace [i.e. a ce]

      of the said Locale of Bazoges, All the which so 


20.  que aulcun nen pretende cause

      that no one should claim the reason 


21.  dIgnorance faict p[ar] moy Pyerre

      of Ignorance; performed by me, Pierre 


22.  Boudet sergeant Royal soubz Ligue

      Boudet, King's sergeant under (the) League*

      [* Extremist Catholic Union, in opposition to Henri III's policies of religious tolerance] 

23.  dem[ourant] en la p[ar]oysse de S?rens(?) P[ri]ns

      living in the parish of [undeciphered]*, Taken from

      [* See NOTE at end of transcript] 

24.  Jehan guillemeaux et Rene Le sayne

      Jean Guillemeaux and Rene le Sayne 


25.  de Lad[icte] p[ar]oysse tesm[oins] Et plusieurs

      of The said parish (as) witnesses, And many 

26.  auttres de lad[icte] p[ar]oysse de bazoges

      others of the said parish of Bazoges, 


27.  Lesquelz ont Reffuse me dire Leurs

      The which have Refused to tell me Their 


28.  non[ns] dece faire deuement Interpellez

      names, twice Summoned to do this; 


29.  Pour faire lequel exploict Je

      To perform the which deed, I 


30.  me suys transporte auec et

      I have conveyed myself with and 


31.  mene auec moy Lesd[icts] Le sayne et

      brought with me The said le Sayne and 


32.  Guyllemeaulx Jusques au lieu de

      Guyllemeaux, Just to the area of 


33.  bazoges distant de cinq lieues ou

      Bazoges, five leagues distant, or 


34.  envyron Et ay vacque p[ar] deux Jours

      thereabouts, And (I) had leisure, by two Days 


35.  entyers faict

       entire made (i.e. was at leisure for two full days). 

lines 36-38 offset left
signature in rectangle
to right 

36.  Receu pour le p[rese]nt exploict

      Received for the present deed,  

37.  tant pour moy que mes

      as much for me as my  

38.  Records vng escu vng tyer

      Recorders, one ecu (&) one third.
NOTE for line 23:
With over 1.5 million parishes in France before the reorganisation instituted by Henri IV, it has been impossible to clarify Pierre Boudet's extremely unclear hand with a standard geographical look-up.

This represents a typical problem encountered in the transcription of early documents, particularly when the manuscript is frayed, ink-faded, water-damaged, or, as in this case, when it has been executed in haste as a rough draft, which will later be neatly re-copied with further details filled in. With multiple possibilities existing for the interpretation of numerous letters, Names and Places can be particularly challenging to decipher. It is therefore, unfortunately, not uncommon for question marks to remain in an otherwise completed transcript.


original manuscript
copyright © Kristina Bedford 2010-2016
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