I spotted a curious notarial instrument yesterday while working in Seville. Recorded in April 1570 before notary Juan Pérez, it appears to be either a Power of Attorney or some type of authorisation needed to fulfil an earlier agreement, recorded before another notary in the same city. Notary Pérez employed several different scribes and the parties to this agreement got the short end of the stick – a scrawl that was hardly exemplary by the standards of the time, and today would require concerted effort to decipher, effort for which I did not have time at the moment. In any event, what caught my eye was that all of the parties to the agreement were English, referred to as gentlemen by the scribe, their names given as Thomas Foller, Thomas Estevenes, Gualter Leeson and Guillermo Ratiforte; I suppose they would be known to their friends and kin back home as Thomas Fowler, Thomas Stevens, Walter Leeson and William Radford. In any event the only one who actually signed the record was the first one, signing clearly and firmly Thomas Fowller with a squiggle at the end. Definitely an ‘Hmm-what’s-this-lot-doing-here’ moment.
SOURCE: Notary Juan Pérez, Records for 1570, Legajo 2237, Pp 221V-22V, Archivo Histórico de Protocolos, Sevilla