This weekend school will enable those keen to undertake research using original historical documents to begin reading the scripts used prior to 1550. This will help participants to unlock a huge wealth of material which can be used in local, family and social history.
We will look in detail at the main scripts in use across this period, through practical examples from common record types. The principal focus will be on documents written in Latin, although some in English will also be studied. The course will also cover the historical development of palaeography (study of handwriting) and diplomatic (study of documents and recordkeeping). The course will provide the opportunity to cover both theoretical and practical aspects of reading medieval handwriting.
We will also look at medieval records more generally, as well as at how records were made, written and stored in the medieval period. The course tutor is an experienced archivist and she will use documents from collections she has worked with as examples, as well as some published sources.
Teaching methods will range from lecture-style talks on theory and historical context, as well as in-depth practical sessions focusing on reading documents, either individually, in pairs or as a class. We will cover a wide range of common document types (title deeds, correspondence, accounts, manorial records). We will also look at strategies and tips as well as key reference resources.
No prior knowledge is assumed, and those who already have some experience of medieval/early modern palaeography will also find this course a useful refresher and an opportunity to develop their reading skills further. No prior knowledge of Latin is required, although this will be useful.
By the end of the weekend, students will be able to:
1. recognise and read letter shapes
2. understand dating and abbreviation methods
3. be confident in starting to read and understand original documents prior to 1550
4. develop strategies in reading and analysing unfamiliar original texts
5. understand how documents were made, written and stored in the medieval period.
A follow-up study weekend, Reading the Past: Medieval Handwriting, will be offered on 8/9 June 2024, which will focus more on gaining additional practical experience of reading original documents.
Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 UTC on 10 January 2024.