The Full Wiki

Scrivener: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Scrivener

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Telling a problem to a public scrivener. Istanbul, 1878.
A historic reenactment of a 15th century scrivener recording the will of a man-at-arms

A scrivener (or scribe) was traditionally a person who could read and write. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and history records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. Scriveners later developed into public servants, accountants, lawyers and petition writers, etc.


Current role

Scriveners remain a common sight in countries where literacy rates remain low; they read letters for illiterate customers, as well as write letters or fill out forms for a fee. Many now use portable typewriters to prepare letters for their clients.


The word comes from Middle English scriveiner, an alteration of obsolete scrivein, from Anglo-French escrivein, ultimately from Vulgate Latin *scriban-, scriba, alteration of Latin scriba (as scribe).

In Japan, the word "scrivener" (書士 shoshi?) is used to refer to legal professions such as judicial scriveners and administrative scriveners.

In the Irish language a "scríbhneoir" is a writer, or a person who writes. It has nearly the exact same pronunciation as the English word "scrivener".

In ancient times, a scrivener was also called a calligraphus (pl. calligraphi).

A scrivener is also someone who scribbles. See scribe.

In literature

A famous work of fiction featuring scriveners is the short story "Bartleby, the Scrivener" by Herman Melville, first published in 1853.

Scrivener notaries

Crest of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners of the City of London

Scrivener can also refer to scrivener notaries, who get their name from the Scriveners' Company. Historically, scrivener notaries were the only notaries public permitted to practice in the City of London, the liberties of Westminster, the Borough ( Southwark), and the area within three miles of the City. Due to their geographical proximity to the embassies of many civil law countries, scrivener notaries are only appointed after five years apprenticed to a practicing scrivener notary. Scrivener notaries must be fluent in one or two foreign languages and be familiar with the principles and practice of foreign law. The historical privilege of scrivener notaries was abolished by the Access to Justice Act 1999; since then, any public notary may practice in the City of London and surrounding area.

Scrivener notary tasks generally range from:

  • authentication and drafting of legal documents for use overseas
  • legalization of documents
  • shipping law
  • trademarks and patents
  • business start-up and corporate administration
  • purchase and sale of overseas real property
  • inheritance
  • wills and trusts
  • work and residence permits
  • bills of exchange
  • ballots (new issues); stock and bond redemption
  • construction project tendering
  • exchange control and foreign investment formalities
  • translation or certification of translation

The Scrivener is a quarterly publication put out by the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia, Canada.



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address