Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Available all semesters

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Transcription of six facsimiles  60%
Semester Assessment Calendar of two facsimiles  40%
Supplementary Assessment Submission of supplementary coursework for failed elements 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:


  • read and transcribe handwriting commonly used in Britain between c1450 and 1900
  • outline the development of handwriting in Britain during this period and identify the principal styles, using appropriate technical terms.
  • apply editorial standards to transcription and calendaring


  • recognise the common forms of official documents and identify the constituent formulae
  • apply knowledge and judgement in identifying common practice and inconsistencies
  • convert archaic dating practices to modern equivalents.

Palaeography and Diplomatic

  • apply palaeographical and diplomatic criteria collectively to suggest dates for undated material and to comment upon problematic /unusual examples

Brief description

Palaeography and Diplomatic provide the necessary expertise for the study and interpretation of archival documents. Palaeography has the broader significance, since it extends beyond official documents to include the whole range of manuscript material that has survived from previous centuries. Diplomatic is most commonly applied to formal documents.

Palaeography is the study of old handwriting, with the primary aim of learning to read it, but with the further purpose of identifying the writing style and any inconsistencies, and suggesting an appropriate date when none is given.

Diplomatic is the study of the form and structure of official documents and the development of standard formulae used in particular circumstances. The general purpose is to achieve correct identification of types of documents and interpretation of the content, through understanding the relationship between form and function.


This module is at CQFW Level 7