Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Medieval and Post -Medieval Palaeography and Diplomatic
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Practical excercise 1  equivalent to 3,000 words  50%
Semester Assessment Practical exercise 2  equivalent to 3,000 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit of practical exercise 1  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit of practical exercise 2  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Identify and date different styles of handwriting in common use from c1200 to c1800;

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

Accurately read different styles of handwriting in common use from c1200 to c1800;

Transcribe documents written in archaic styles, applying appropriate editorial methods;

Calendar documents written in archaic styles;

Recognise and interpret `common form? in a wide variety of documents;

Convert archaic dating practices to the modern historical equivalent.

Brief description

This module considers the historical development of handwriting (palaeography) in Britain between c1200 and c1800, the characteristics of specific types of script, the principles of transcription and other editorial methods, and the development of common form in formal documents (diplomatic). Practical and technical skills in reading and transcription are developed through applying theory to practice in a wide range of manuscript material under careful guidance.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number There is a need to understand pre-decimal currency (£.s.d.), Roman numerals, fractions of pounds sterling and historical accounting practices, and also to identify dates, convert them to modern equivalents and accommodate calendar changes. All these elements feature in the assignment.
Communication Written communication is enhanced through the need for precision (in transcription and calendaring), careful layout and presentation and the application of specific editorial rules (as assessed in the assignment).
Improving own Learning and Performance Successful progress in this module is dependent on individual effort, especially during guided self-study and independent practical work, and a willingness to persevere with meticulous care and patience. The assignments provide evidence of individual progress.
Information Technology Specific websites and online resources are used as part of the learning process, but these aspects are not assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Confidence is fostered through applied skill and understanding of source material, through self-study and through the interactive workshops. Fresh career ideas and research interests often emerge fro this new experience.
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 through the 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 the assignment.
Subject Specific Skills Learning to read, interpret and evaluate primary source material is a fundamental need for anyone dealing with historic handwriting and archaic language. Progress is assessed through the assignments.
Team work Students are encouraged to work together during the early stages of practical work. This is beneficial to early progress and building confidence, but it is not assessed.


This module is at CQFW Level 7