Page:Archaeologia Volume 13.djvu/176

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Examination of an Inscription

and that is the Paston Letters. For in the two first volumes of that collection I have discovered only one letter in which the year of our Lord is so noted, and I am inclined to believe this may not be a fac simile of the original. The letter to which I allude is in Vol. I. Nᵒ XLV. (p. 184.) of the reign of Henry VI, subscribed by W. Botoner, called Wyrcester, addressed to sir John Berneye, and thus dated—"Wret at London hastly the Monday after I departed from you 1459x." There are several circumstances which render it suspicious that 1459 might be a subsequent explanatory insertion, not detected by the editor, attentive and accurate as he generally was. In the first place Botoner has not noticed the year of our Lord in his other letters; nor is there in them but one instance more of an Arabic numeral. This merits the more regard, because in these letters he frequently makes use of the Roman capitals. I have subjoined the repetitions, and have also added copies of the dates of his other letters[1]. The forms of 4 and 5 shew it not to be a coeval date, and x being placed after the last figure, the fair conclusion is, that it had been preceded by capital letters.

Except in these two particulars, viz. 1459, and Aᵒ 36, Hen. VI. I have not perceived in either volume any date of year or month so marked. Indeed the year of our Lord is not noticed in any letter, and possibly the omission might be often owing to the number of

  1. Letter XVII.—p. 76. from Bote H. R. ner to Maister Paston.
    —————— p. 78. Wryt hastly VIII day of June.
    Letter XXXIV. p. 140.—W. Botener to Maister John Paston, &c.
    ——————p. 142. Wryt at L. (London) the V day of Jullet.
    Letter XXXVII. p. 150.—W. Botoner dit. Worcestyʳ to Sʳ John Fastolf.
    ——————p. 152. Wrete at London the fyrst day of Feu'rer, Aᵒ 36. R. H. VI.
    ——————p. 150. CXL. hors.—iiijˣ hors—iijjˣˣ Knyghts and Sqwyers. ijᶜ hors.
    p. 153. Wythnne thys VI. wekes.