Reading Old Handwriting

Have you ever struggled to make sense of the handwriting in an old document? Would you like to learn to read and interpret historical handwriting?

Our series of four palaeography workshops will show you how to read writing styles from the 16th to the 19th centuries and give you lots of hints and tips to help your research.

Suitable for family and local historians, students, and anyone with an interest in the subject, from beginner level onwards.

About the course:

The workshops are run by one of our archivists, who will introduce you to different forms of historical handwriting and guide you through reading different types of documents. We will read through example documents from our collections as a group, so you’ll be able to put your new knowledge into practice at every session!

Each participant will receive a pack containing copies of all the documents used as examples, along with useful reference information. The documents we’ll look at are all in English and show the most common writing styles found in English local records.

Course summary:

Week One:Introduction to Palaeography. Discover the development of handwriting from medieval times to the Victorians. Learn how to transcribe documents and find out some hints and tips for making sense of tricky words.

Week Two: Wills and Inventories. Learn the different sections of a will and find out what might appear in an inventory.

Week Three: Deeds. Discover the basics of the different types of deeds which you’re likely to find in local record offices.

Week Four: Official Records. Find out about local government and court records you’ll come across in local record offices.

The course is suitable for family and local historians, students, and anyone with an interest in the subject, whether you're a complete beginner or you've had a bit of practice.

Further details:

Dates: Wednesdays 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th October 10am-12pm.

Cost: £32 for all four workshops.

We recommend taking all four workshops together, but if you’d like to book a single workshop the cost is £10.

Places are limited so book early, call us on 01482 317500, email, or speak to a member of staff at the Enquiry Desk.