Reading Old Handwriting

Ref: C2224360

If like many family historians you have experienced difficulty in reading the old handwriting found in some old English documents, particularly those from the Tudor and Stuart periods, then this series of courses will help to get you started (Continues from Part 1).

Course aim

The aim of the course is to assist students in developing the skills necessary to be able to read and transcribe a range of source material dating from the Tudor and Stuart periods.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course continues from Part 1 and may be suitable to join for the absolute beginner, depending upon existing levels of experience. Contact with the tutor may be advisable.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and familiarity of typical English documents encountered from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
  • Transcribe such documents to the required standard.
  • Compile meaningful reference notes and word glossaries explaining the content and nature of the documents encountered.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time
  • Students will be expected to take part in a significant number of classroom exercises which will serve to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a particular point or topic of study.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress
  • As noted above there will be a significant number of classroom exercises to complete and well as homework each week. Feedback on your progress will be ongoing.

What else do I need to know?

  • Students will need to bring an A4 notepad with writing materials and will also be encouraged to purchase one or two specialist reference books, although there will be a basic class library.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full Course information sheet

Reading Old Handwriting


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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