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English Palaeography Academic Year 2023-24

(photograph by Andrew Buchanan)

This course will familiarise students with English handwriting from the period 1500 to 1700. It will give students the skills to work with a range of English primary sources from the early modern period. Students will build a strong knowledge of early modern hands. The course will cover secretary, italic, and mixed scripts, both formal and informal. Students will learn common abbreviations used in handwritten documents, as well as the idiosyncratic letter forms that make primary sources from the period initially seem so difficult to transcribe.

You should finish the course feeling secure in your ability to engage with handwritten documents of the period. You should also feel confident to go forward and transcribe primary sources relevant to your research.

Seminars will involve individual and group work on a wide range of documents such as literary texts, religious texts, letters, parliamentary documents, financial accounts, and recipes.

The course will culminate in an informal exam. Useful online resources and bibliography can be found at the bottom of this page, and will be updated periodically. All classes will be taught virtually via interactive seminars on Microsoft Teams.

This course, run by Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, does not confer university credits. However, on the basis of students' performance in the final test, the CSR will issue a certificate of completion and of having passed the course.

Participants will pay £200 for the course before the beginning of term; there is no fee for University of Warwick students). Participants whose institution belongs to the Newberry Library Consortium may be eligible to receive consortium grants to cover the cost of the course. (Contact your local consortium representative for details.) Warwick PhD Students will not have to pay the course fees.

Places on the course are limited, so selection will be based on the details given in your brief application. Registration form can be found here (now open for summer 2024 course). Deadline for applications is Friday 17th May 2024.


1350-1500 Bibliography

Medieval Manuscripts app for iPhone and Android:

Late Medieval English Scribes

The Auchinleck manuscript:

The Cotton Nero A.x Project:

The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive:

Participants accepted onto the 2023-4 course, should familiarise themselves with the applicable T&Cs, including cancellation policy. HERE