Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 12 x 1 hour Latin classes
Lecture 44 Hours.
Practical 12 x 3 hour directed practicals


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Practical excercise : description of deeds  Equivalent to 2,000 words  20%
Semester Assessment Practical exercise: palaeography and diplomatic  equivalent to 3,000 words  30%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Theory Exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

A. Palaeography:

  • read and transcribe handwriting commonly used in Britain from the 12th to the 19th century
  • understand the development of handwriting in Western Europe from the time of the Roman Empire onwards
  • use appropriate technical terms to describe writing styles, identify varieties of script and suggest approximate dates of writing
B. Diplomatic:

  • recognise the common forms of official documents and understand consistent formulae
  • analyse and describe the diplomatic structure of such documents
  • apply knowledge and judgement in identifying uncommon practice and inconsistencies
You will also learn to

  • apply archival descriptive techniques to medieval and early modern deeds
  • apply editorial principles to manuscript records and texts
  • read and understand, in the original language, a straight-forward Latin administrative document of a standard type

Brief description

Palaeography and Diplomatic provide the necessary expertise for the study and interpretation of official documents. Palaeography, however, has a broader significance, since it extends beyond official documents to include the whole range of manuscript material which has survived from previous centuries, whatever its context.

is the study of old handwriting, with the primary aim of learning to read it, but with further, more subtle purposes, as indicated above.
is the study of the form of official documents, considering both "external" and "internal" characteristics, and especially the standard formulae common to particular categories. The general purpose is to achieve correct interpretation but, as with Palaeography, Diplomatic involves a range of skills.


This module is at CQFW Level 7