The Tudor Society

6 September – Timothy Bright and shorthand

On this day in history, 6th September 1615, in the reign of King James I, Tudor physician, clergyman and inventor of modern shorthand, Timothy Bright, was buried at St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury.

Bright is known for works published in Queen Elizabeth I's reign, including his 1588 "Characterie: an Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and Secrete Writing by Character" in which he explains his invention, a system of straight lines, circles and half circles as shorthand. Bright's work has, of course, helped people the world over.

In today's talk, I share some facts about Timothy Bright, an interesting Tudor man.

Link to Bright's book on shorthand -

Also on this day in history:

  • 1506 – Death of Sir Richard Guildford, courtier and administrator in the reign of Henry VII, in Jerusalem on pilgrimage. He was buried on Mount Syon. Guildford's offices included Master of the Ordnance and Armoury in the Tower of London, Master of the Horse and Privy Councillor.
  • 1520 - Reformer Martin Luther sent his pamphlet “On the Freedom of a Christian” (also known as “A Treatise on Christian Liberty”) to Pope Leo X. It included his doctrine of justification by faith alone.
  • 1572 – Death of Sir Henry Jerningham at his manor of Costessey in Norfolk. He was buried in the parish church there. Jerningham served Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and his offices in Mary's reign included Privy Councillor, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, and Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard.
  • 1578 – Sir Francis Drake and his ship, the Golden Hind (or Pelican as it was called then), entered the Pacific Ocean on its circumnavigation of the globe.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. R

    I was terrible at learning shorthand although I could copy it perfectly. I dropped the actual shorthand part of my Secretary course and bluffed my way into jobs afterwards. I did my own version and nobody knew any different for three years before I left to become a historian and independent researcher instead. Obviously going back to University took me on a new path.

Leave a Reply

6 September – Timothy Bright and shorthand