History of British Sign Language


Marriage Certificate of Thomas Tillsye

Thomas Tillsye and Ursula Russel were marryed: and because the sayde Thomas was and is naturally deafe and also dumbe, so that the order of the forme of marriage used usually amongst others which can heare and speake could not for his parte be observed … the sayde Thomas, for the expression of his minde instead of words, of his own accorde used these signs…

First he embraced her with his armes, and took her by the hande, putt a ring upon her finger and layde his hande upon her harte, and held his hands towards heaven; and to show his continuance to dwell with her to his lyves ende he did it by closing of his eyes with his hands and digging out of the earthe with his foote, and pulling as though he would ring a bell with divers other signs approved.