How to Read Old Documents- Term 3

Ref: C2228593

This course is a continuation of the course of the Autumn Term 2021 in which students became more experienced in their reading of a variety of documents written in English during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The documents chosen for this term's course are, again, of particular use to local and family historians but which may be considered impenetrable because of their difficult handwriting, irregular spelling and heavy abbreviation. During the course we will revise the skills which were covered in the previous term as well as recapping on the documents which we explored. We will continue to focus on certain classes of document, thinking in depth about what phrases and handwriting conventions to expect in these with the aim of helping students transfer these skills to their own research. There will also be the opportunity for students to discuss with other students and the tutor tricky documents they have come across in their own research .

Course aim

This course revises and continues to introduce skills needed to read documents written in English during the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries, particularly those useful to family and local historians.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is aimed at students who have followed the previous two terms of the course. Newcomers are welcome but they will need experience of reading old documents written in English.

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

  • Identify several distinct classes of document written in English during the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries.
  • Decipher names, dates, numbers and standard phrases in these documents.
  • Apply palaeography skills from one class of document to another.
  • Apply palaeography skills to documents useful for personal research.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

You may like to have note-making equipment available to you in each session.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

How to Read Old Documents- Term 3

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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