Module Information

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

Course Delivery

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


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 2,500 WORD PROJECT (SEMESTER 1)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
read handwriting commonly encountered in archives and manuscripts dating from the 12th - 16th century in Britain and transcribe or calendar using appropriate editorial methods.

outline the development of handwriting in western Europe from late antiquity onwards

identify specific styles of writing and use appropriate descriptive terms

recognise the use of 'common form' in a wide range of documents over time

explain the relationship between major creators of records and the pattern of records created

evaluate sources which may be used to supply information in specific circumstances

demonstrate competence in the use of appropriate secondary sources and reference material

Brief description

In order to reade and interpret medieval manuscript sources, students must understand the historical development of the handwriting in which they are written (palaeography), the development of 'common form' in formal documents (diplomatic), and the context in which these sources were created. This includes the administrative structures and purposes that generated written records; the nature of the narrative sources and less formal writings; how all these records and manuscripts accumulated over time; where they are/may be located today and which series/examples are available in print. Practical skills (including language) are developed through exercises in reading, transcription and documentary analysis, and by classes in medieval latin.


This particular module clarifies the 'manuscript sources' element that has hitherto been part of HYM0130 for students pursuing a medieval history pathway by creating a discrete 20 credit module for this purpose. These students benefit from training in the reading and interpretation of manuscript sources, including the technical and practical skills for reading and interpretation and an awareness of the context in which such material was created, the languages used and the range of material which has survived .


3 hour interactive workshops and weekly classes in medieval latin.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number This skill is widely developed, because of the need to understand pre-decimal currency, Roman numerals, fractions of pounds sterling, and historical accounting practices, and also to identify dates, convert them to modern equivalents and accommodate calendar changes. Progress is assessed in practicals and Assignment 2
Communication Written communication is enhanced through the need for precision in transcription, calendaring and translation (Assignment 2) and through the process of documentary analysis (Assignment 1). Interactive practicals also develop communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance Successful progress in this module is dependent on individual effort, especially during guided/supervised practical work, and a willingness to persevere as directed. The assignments provide clear evidence of individual progress.
Information Technology Specific websites and on-line resources are used as part of the learning process. Students also discover the limitations/disadvantages of automatic spellcheckers when typing transcripts which must retain original archaic spelling.
Personal Development and Career planning Maturity and confidence are fostered through the development of applied skill and understanding of source material and through working as a closely knit class. New career ideas and research interests often emerge.
Problem solving The whole process of learning to read manuscripts is a problem solving exercise, requiring systematic approaches to identifying archaic letter shapes and abbreviations and considerable initiative. Progress is assessed in the practical assignment.
Research skills Learning to read, interpret and evaluate the primary sources and to use appropriate reference material to assist this process is fundamentally important to the research process. Progress is assessed through both assignments.
Subject Specific Skills Learning to read, interpret and evaluate essential primary sources is a fundamental need for students of medieval history. Progress is assessed through both assignments.
Team work Students are encouraged to work together during the early stages of practical work. This has a proven benefit to individual progress overall, but is not assessed

Reading List

Recommended Text
Bischoff, Bernhard. (1990.) Latin palaeography :antiquity and the Middle Ages /Bernhard Bischoff; translated by D aibh i O Cr oin in and David Ganz. Cambridge University Press Primo search Gooder, Eileen A. (1978.) Latin for local history :an introduction /Eileen A. Gooder. 2d ed. Longman Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7