Event type
Research Training
Event dates
- , 11:00AM - 12:30PM
020 7862 8740

The Palaeography and Diplomatic course runs weekly on Tuesdays in the first two terms, with two or three additional classes in the third term.

This year the course will begin online on 6 October at 11 am to 12.30 pm. It will finish in the second or third week of May 2021. If possible, as in normal years, the group will visit the British Library in term 1 and organise a manuscript related expedition in May.

Term 1: 6 October to 8 December 2020
Term 2: 12 January to 23 March 2021
Term 3: 4 May and 11 May 2021

The course is designed to help students to work with medieval and early modern manuscripts. It will be tailored as far as possible to individual needs within the group. Besides practical training (transcription, editing, the physical aspects of manuscripts and documents including illumination), the course introduces the history of script and its intellectual context from Roman times to c.1650. In the second term English documents and manuscripts will be studied. The course usually ends with an expedition in the third term.

Term 1 focuses on Latin palaeography. Everyone should own a Latin grammar such as B. H. Kennedy, Shorter Latin Primer and C. R. Cheney, Handbook of Dates for Students of British History, new edn. rev. by M. Jones (Cambridge, 2000), and later reprints. Students without any Latin are welcome to apply for the second term.

Introductory Reading
C. de Hamel, A History of Illuminated Manuscripts (London, 1986); 2nd. edn. (London, 1994); L. C. Hector, The Handwriting of English Documents (London, 1958); 2nd edn (London 1966; repr. 1979), with minor changes to the introduction. Out of print, but available in large libraries.

The course is run by Dr Jenny Stratford is a Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research. In her earlier career she was an Assistant Keeper (curator) in the Department of Manuscripts, The British Library. She has published extensively on medieval and modern manuscripts and on princely collections of the later Middle Ages in England and France.

Please note that while this course is administered by the Institute of Historical Research, it is organised through Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL). 


  • Term 1: £250
  • Term 2: £250
  • Term 1 & 2: £500

Please note that there is no fee in term 3.

The course is free for QMUL students- please contact the IHR Events Office (ihr.events@sas.ac.uk) to discuss how to enrol. 

If you would like your Institution to pay for your place on the course please contact the IHR Events Office.

Details about how to join the online classes will be provided by Dr Jenny Stratford after registration has been completed.