10th Oct 2020, 10.00-16.00 BST
Laura Cleaver and Katherine Hindley

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Medieval manuscripts present a range of challenges to modern readers. The materials, language, handwriting and decoration can all be unfamiliar, and in 2020 it has been particularly hard to access manuscripts in person. 

Manuscript study is also richly rewarding: each object provides insights into the makers and users of medieval books and rolls, and digital surrogates make it possible to examine materials in distant archives. 

This study day will introduce students to the skills needed to study a range of medieval manuscript material.  It will address major approaches to manuscript studies, as well as key online resources.  Students will improve their ability to read medieval texts, and will also engage with page design and decoration.

This study day is designed for new graduate students beginning their work with medieval manuscript materials. No knowledge of Latin is necessary and preparatory materials will be circulated in advance.

The course is limited to 12 places.


Laura Cleaver is Senior Lecturer in Manuscript Studies at the Institute of English Studies. She trained as an art historian before specialising in medieval manuscripts, with a particular focus on twelfth- and thirteenth-century books and rolls. Her interests include relationships between text and imagery and diagrams.

Katherine Hindley is Assistant Professor of Medieval Literature at NTU, Singapore and Director of the London International Palaeography Summer School. Her current research studies words at their most powerful, examining the medieval belief that spoken charms and written amulets could physically change the world.


10.00 – Introduction to the day 

10.15-11.15 – Lectures with Q&A: 1. How to Make a Medieval Manuscript. 2. What is Palaeography and Why Does it Matter?

11.15-11.45 – Break 

11.45-13.00 – Transcription activity and discussion 

13.00-13.45 – Lunch break 

13.45-14.45 – Group activity  

14.45-15.30 – Discussion  

15.30-16.00 – Lecture: Manuscripts in the Digital Age: Problems and Possibilities.

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