Prof. Anthony Edwards (University of Kent)
Full day - from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

This course will provide an introduction to Middle English scribal hands in literary manuscripts from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. As such it will be aimed at students with little or limited experience of reading Middle English manuscripts. The aim of the course will be to give some overview of the range of scripts and of the questions of transcription they raise for the beginning student. It will include discussion of the procedures and protocols involved in transcribing Middle English manuscripts and will involve various exercises in transcription from facsimiles of manuscripts across the period, in verse and prose.

The opening session of the day will allow students the opportunity of first-hand examination of original Middle English manuscripts in Senate House Library so as to consider scripts in their material contexts. Facsimiles from the Library will be used in other sessions.


Jane Roberts, Guide to Scripts used in English Writings up to 1500 (London: British Library, 2005).

M. B. Parkes, Their Hands before our Eyes: A Closer Look at Scribes (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008)

Student Comments

Sometimes a little daunting, but very thorough. Good explanation of abbreviations and range of manuscripts. Really increased my confidence with manuscripts/facsimiles. I really appreciated the use of actual manuscripts in the morning.

I thought this was an excellent introduction to the field, a helpful and easy progression from visual examination of manuscripts, to introduction to script types, and then from examples of (bad!) transcription to a transcription exercise.