Friday 18 - Saturday 19 January 2019

Students may choose one of the following options:

Introduction to Latin Palaeography

Dr Marigold Norbye (UCL)
Full day - from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Room 243, Senate House

This course will provide a brief overview of the main elements of Latin palaeography, concentrating on scripts of the later medieval period (1100-1500).  Whilst showing the most common abbreviation symbols and the evolution of letter forms, the course will consist of practical exercises, transcribing several different types of script.  Participants must have at least elementary Latin in order to benefit from the course.  It would be useful if they could indicate whether they have any previous experience of palaeography when applying.


B. Bischoff, Latin Palaeography:  Antiquity and the Middle Ages, transl. from German by D. O’Croinin and D. Ganz (Cambridge, 1990)
M.P. Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 (London, 1990)
S.H. Thomson, Latin Bookhands of the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1969)
L.C. Hector, The Handwriting of English Documents, 2nd edn (London, 1968)
E.A. Gooder, Latin for Local History, 2nd edn (London, 1978)

Introduction to Early Modern English Palaeography

Dr Chris Stamatakis (UCL)
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Room 246, Senate House

This course offers students an opportunity to encounter a variety of literary manuscripts written in English in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Texts will include examples of poetry, prose, and marginalia. We will trace the relationship between early modern scripts (secretary, italic, and mixed) and practise transcribing examples of each. No prior knowledge of early modern handwriting is required: crib sheets and further reading will be supplied on the day.


Giles Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy Skipton, Elizabethan Handwriting, 1560-1650 (London, Faber, 1968, reprinted by Phillimore, 1981)
F.G. Emmison, How to read local archives, 1550-1700 (London, The Historical Association, 1967)
L.C. Hector, The handwriting of English documents (London, Edward Arnold, 2nd edition, 1966, reprinted by Kohler and Coombes, 1979) Strongly recommended 
Donald Jackson, The story of writing (London, The Parker Pen Company, 1981)
Hilary Marshall, Palaeography for family and local historians (Chichester, Phillimore, 2004)
Ann Rycraft, Sixteenth and seventeenth-century handwriting, series 1 and 2 (York, Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, 2nd edition, 1969)
Joyce Irene Whalley, English handwriting, 1540-1853 (London, HMSO, 1969)

Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Palaeography

Dr Debby Banham (Birkbeck and Cambridge)
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Room 234, Senate House

This course will introduce students to the scripts in use in England before the Norman Conquest, both those of Insular origin, and those deriving from Continental practice, as well as those that developed within England itself. We shall trace the historical development of writing in early medieval England, and get plenty of practice in reading. Abbreviations and special Old English characters will be elucidated as we go. No previous knowledge is required, either of palaeography or of relevant languages.


Julian Brown, A Palaeographer’s View (Harvey Miller, 1993)
Michelle Brown, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (British Library, 1991)
Michelle Brown, Manuscripts from the Anglo-Saxon Age (British Library, 2007)
Michelle Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts (British Library, 1990)
Gale Owen-Crocker, ed., Working with Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (Exeter UP, 2009)
Mary P. Richards, ed., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: Basic Readings (Routledge, 1994)
Jane Roberts, Guide to Scripts used in English Writings up to 1500 (British Library, 2005)
Alex Rumble, ed., Writing and Texts in Anglo-Saxon England (D. S. Brewer, 2006)
Donald Scragg, A Conspectus of Scribal Hands Writing English, 960–1100 (D. S. Brewer, 2012)
Peter Stokes, English Vernacular Minuscule from Æthelred to Cnut, c.990 - c. 1035 (D. S. Brewer, 2014)

Introduction to Codicology

Dr James Freeman (Cambridge University Library)
Full day - from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 16 students
Venue: Seng Tee Lee centre, Senate House Library (Senate House, South Block, Fourth floor)

Codicology is the study of the book as a physical object.  Participants will learn how the components of medieval books were prepared and assembled.  The course will show students how to identify and interpret evidence of these processes that survives within medieval books, and will provide a solid grounding in the technical vocabulary used to describe them.  Students will also be shown how to handle and examine manuscripts correctly.  Such knowledge is essential for anyone contemplating or engaged upon first-hand work with medieval books.


Bernhard Bischoff, Latin palaeography: antiquity and the Middle Ages, trans. Daíbhí Ó Cróinín and David Ganz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990): chapter on ‘Codicology’.
Raymond Clemens & Timothy Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Ithaca: New York University Press, 2007).
Richard Gameson (ed.), Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. I: c. 400-1100 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011): Chapter 2.
Christopher de Hamel, Scribes and Illuminators (London: British Museum Press, 1992).
Nigel J. Morgan & Rodney M. Thomson (eds), Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. II: 1100-1400 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008): Chapters 3, 4 & 5
Michelle P. Brown’s online glossary is useful for understanding certain technical terms, and is illustrated with examples from British Library manuscripts:  



The day will run as follows:

09.30-10.00  Registration 
10.00-11.00  Teaching
11.00-11.30  Tea and coffee break
11.30-13.00  Teaching
13.00-14.00  Lunch
14.00-15.00  Teaching
15.00-15.30  Tea and coffee break
15.30-17.00  Teaching

Registration will take place in the foyer of the second floor in Senate House (South Block).

Fees are £100 (£80 students). 

Contact: | tel: 020 7862 8680