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Writing Parish History

Approaches to the history of localities

Crosby, Alan, ‘First Steps in Local History’ (BBC History Trail, 2005)

Crow, Graham, What are Community Studies? (London, 2018) [publisher info]

Dymond, David, Researching and Writing History: A Guide for Local Historians (3rd edn, Lancaster, 2009)

Few, Janet, Putting Your Ancestors in Their Place: A Guide to One Place Studies (2014)

Gooder, Eileen, Latin for Local History: An Introduction (2n edn, London, 1978)

Magnússon, Sigurður Gylfi, 'Social History – Cultural History – Alltagsgeschichte – Microhistory: In-Between Methodologies and Conceptual Frameworks’, Journal of Microhistory (2006) [and cf. a much briefer article on ‘What is microhistory‘ for theHistory News Network]

Raymond, Stuart A., Tracing Your Ancestors’ Parish Records: A Guide for Family and Local Historians (Pen & Sword Books, 2015) [a general overview of parish records]

Tate, W.E., The Parish Chest: A Study of the Records of Parochial Administration in England (3rd edn, Cambridge, 1969)

Willis, J., ‘Ecclesiastical Sources’ in: L. Sangha & J. Willis (eds), Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources (London, 2016)


Local History is taught at a number of UK universities (e.g. Essex, Leicester, Oxford, UEA Norwich, Warwick …)

A bespoke training opportunity is the Postgraduate Diploma in Parish Church Studies: History, Heritage and Fabric at the University of York (sadly closing in 2022).

'Applied Public History' - course delivered on the Coursera platform, introducing learners to applied public history: understanding and interpreting the past today, and engaging diverse communities in the practice of making and sharing histories

Writing guides

How to Write a Church Guide: advice provided by Gabriel Byng on

Leicestershire History, ‘Exploring your parish church‘ (a 2-step guide to the building and documentary evidence, prepared by Pam Fisher)

Victoria History of Wiltshire, ‘How to write a parish history’

Other resources

English Handwriting 1500-1700: Online Course

Local History Links: compiled by the Centre for Metropolitan History at the Institute for Historical Research in London (associations, journals, research resources etc)

Munby, Lionel; Hobbs, Steve; Crosby, Alan, Reading Tudor and Stuart Handwriting (2nd edn, Chichester: British Association for Local History, 2002)

Palaeography: tutorial for medieval and early modern sources developed by David Postles (Leicester) a portal for regional history in Germany

EPC cover