Archival Research Skills for Historians: Medieval Programme

Course date(s): 
18 Mar 2013 to 22 Mar 2013
8 Jul 2013 to 12 Jul 2013
As of 08/02/13, both courses are full, with long waiting lists, and so registration is now closed.


The National Archives, in partnership with the Institute for Historical Research, is offering a series of week-long workshops for postgraduates on archival research skills for historians, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

The workshops will provide you with the skills necessary to undertake effective and focused archival research, tailored to the current academic environment. By joining one of the workshops, you will learn about contemporary methodologies relating to record creation, explore a range of document types and their interrelationships, understand how to interpret and analyse source material, discover modern archival arrangements, and practice methods of locating available sources, both traditional and technologically innovative. The training will be delivered by specialists from The National Archives, the Institute of Historical Research, and East Sussex and Berwick Record Offices. All sessions take place at The National Archives, offering an unparalleled opportunity for guided interactive exploration of the largest and most varied collection of historic records in the world.

Places are limited. Priority will be given to AHRC funded students, but applications from all postgraduate students are welcome. This is a week long course, and attendance will be expected each day.

The workshops are free, and expenses will be covered, including accommodation (if required) at a hotel close to the National Archives in Kew, travel costs (up to a maximum of £75) and subsistence (up to a standard daily rate).

The workshops are divided into three strands: medieval, early modern and modern British. The medieval strand of the workshops will take place from 18-22 March 2013 and will be repeated on 8-12 July 2013. The programme is below.

For further information, please contact:


Course details

Monday 18 March – Introduction to Archives and TNA’s catalogue

10.00-11.00   Registration and coffee

11.00-12.00   Welcome and introduction to TNA and its records

12.00-1.00     How archives arrange their material & basic terminology



2.00-3.00       Advanced features of TNA’s catalogue, Discovery

3.00-4.00       Datasets, digitisation, geo-mapping

4.00-5.00       Tour and discussion time



Tuesday 19 March – Archival Collections beyond TNA & some basic skills

10.00-12.00   Other electronic catalogues hosted by TNA

12.00-1.00     Local Record Office catalogues & holdings


2.00-3.00       Introduction to modern paper finding aids at TNA

3.00-3.45       British History Online & other electronic resources

4.15-5.00       Handling documents: a refresher



Wednesday 20 March – Structures & Records

10.00-10.45   Overview of English Medieval State & Society

11.00-12.30   Chancery, Exchequer, Royal Household


1.30-2.15       The Church

2.15-3.00       Localities: Nobility & Gentry

3.30-4.15       Cities & Towns

4.15-5.00       The Law



Thursday 21 March – Themes 1

Morning          Warfare: Finance, supply & logistics, recruitment, arms & armour, diplomatic documents.


Afternoon       Law: Manorial courts, local courts, central courts (Kings Bench, Common Pleas, Exchequer of Pleas, Chancery), the royal prerogative, the royal council, church courts.



Friday 22 March – Themes 2

Morning          Interaction of crown and subjects: Petitioning, parliament, course of the seals, court & courtiers, household records, local representation, taxation, customs.


Afternoon       Piety & patronage: Personal piety (including kings & queens), wills, patronage to religious houses, heresy.