A writ from William the Conqueror to the citizens of London, 1066
    (The writ is in the Old English language and in the writ style of the Anglo-Saxons.  Use of English--which William did not speak--was meant to reinforce William's claims to be the legitimate English king, rather than merely a foreign conqueror.  Use of English in such legal documents died out in another decade or two, when the Norman rule was firmly established.)

A writ by Queen Matilda while the king is abroad, around 1116

Early subpoena writ (1388)
(This is essentially a writ to appear before the king and  his council, under penalty of (sub pena) a fine of 100 pounds)

An injunction in Chancery, 1670  (photo)

A writ of debt

A writ of covenant, 1748
     (this was a writ used to enforce a covenant or contract, largely superseded by assumpsit)

A writ of assumpsit
    (until fairly recently this was the main way of enforcing contracts)

A writ of execution (by hanging and dissection), 1760

A writ to Constable of London (Vagrant Pass), 1797 (photo)


A summons from the colony of Massachussets Bay, 1726
    (a writ to the sheriff commanding him to have the defendant appear in court)

Summons used in impeachment cases (including President Clinton's)
    (note the very archaic language)