Many years ago it was very unusual to find people who could read and write, this activity was usually left to clerks and well educated people, so when documents were needed, people would have to go to the clerks and pay them to do the writing.
There would be some element of trust placed on the person doing the writing, as the person they were working for would not be able to read it and correct any mistakes, particularly with spellings.
One of these documents could easily be a person’s will.
At Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies we have a group of volunteers who are in the process of cleaning and accessing the Hertfordshire Wills collection for damage and they have found some interesting signatures.
Because people could not write their name, they would have to put a mark on the paper, which would then be witnessed by others to say that that person had signed the document.