English Palaeography and Diplomatic

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Module code


In the English Palaeography and Diplomatic module, we shall study the different styles of handwriting to be found in English documents from the early 1500s up to the 1800s. We will also consider the form of many different classes of documents including manorial records, inheritance and conveyancing of land. This module has a strong practical emphasis and aims to ensure that you become confident in reading the different styles of handwriting which have been used in England and that you feel equipped to read any document you might be faced with.

  • Practical experience in reading the styles of handwriting used from the 16th to 19th centuries including secretary; italic and court hands
  • Knowledge of the conventions used when transcribing documents as well as the range of date forms and contractions used.
  • Knowledge of the diplomatic format of documents which helps with reading and interpreting them
  • Ability to recognise different styles of hand writing
  • Develop the skills and confidence to read different and difficult handwriting.

Students are encouraged to work together and send regular tasks to the tutor. This happens more frequently than in some other modules.

Number of credits

20 SCQF credits (10 ECTS credits) on Level 5, SHE M (SCQF 11)


Linda Bankier, Claire Skinner