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English Palaeography: Academic Year 2019-20

Convenor: Dr Katie Reid (

All classes will be taught on Fridays, 10-11.30am in H1.07

This course will familiarise students with English handwriting from the period 1350 to 1700. It will give students the skills to work with a range of English primary sources from the Renaissance. Students will be given a background in the development of late medieval scripts and build a strong knowledge of Early Modern hands. The course will cover Secretary and Italic scripts, both formal and informal. Students will learn the common abbreviations used in handwritten Early Modern documents and the idiosyncratic letter forms that make primary sources from the period initially seem so difficult to transcribe. They will also learn to date English manuscripts based on script style. Students should finish the course feeling secure in their recognition of Early Modern English scripts. They should feel confident to go forward and transcribe primary sources relevant to their research.

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

The course will culminate in an informal exam.

Useful online resources and bibliography can be found on this page (right) and will be updated periodically.

Places are limited. Students not enrolled in the Renaissance Centre pay £25 per course at the beginning of term. To apply to join either of these classes, please contact the Centre administrator on or sign up via SkillsForge.



Early Modern English Palaeography:

Early Modern English Palaeography Bibliography


Bodleian Library Tudor/Stuart Palaeography




Renaissance Palaeography iOS/Android app


English Palaeography 1350-1500:

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: