These are the scribbles of John Norris, born in 1700. As a child, he filled the blank pages of his parents’ book with writing exercises, children’s verses, and the names of his parents Mary and Richard and his little sister Mary. On this page, he practises writing numbers, mentions the name of his “play felar” Thomas, and writes half-remembered lines of the Lord’s Prayer such as “for our trespasses as we forgive us our that trespas aganst us”.
John came back to this book as an adolescent. He inscribed his name again, this time in perfectly formed letters, underneath the irregular scribbles of his childhood: “John I. Norres 1718”.
Andrewes, Lancelot. XCVI. sermons. London: Richard Badger, 1641