Skip to main content

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 new / bespoke training opportunity is the Postgraduate Diploma in Parish Church Studies: History, Heritage and Fabric at the University of York.

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