When writing was an art form


A fascinating story concerning local history occurred some time back, when I was able to view a so called "copy book". The manner in which this parchment-bound volume found its way into my hands is related in detail in The Forncett Flyer of June 2006 Vol IV No 6.

I wonder if any readers have retained their back copies?

The book bears the name and dedication, 'William Colman, Forncett 1804'. William was the son of Jeremiah Colman who was a major landowner in Forncett and lived at Lime Tree farm from 1802 to his death in 1816. William Colman was born in 1796, so he was just 8 years old at the time of the dedication.

However, the primary purpose of my article is to throw light on the quality of the script penned by young William. We can admire the delightful flourishes and beautifully executed title, 'Addition', while even the ordinary manuscript displays a consistency and legibility, which our contemporaries might struggle to emulate. Indeed, as I pointed out in my original article, "it is unlikely future generations will be able to write in this fashion; in fact they may not be able to write at all! Communication may be wholly voice-activated machine transcripts."

Well, I guess we have arrived!

John Webster