A major ambition for our new Early Modern group, led by Dr Catherine Ferguson, is to organise a palaeography course to increase the number of members and friends who are confident in reading and transcribing early modern documents in the pursuit of their research interests. For some time Tim Wilcock has been formulating a project to transcribe and publish the wills and inventories of the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Winchester for the Stuart period up to 1650, and so there is an opportunity to organise a palaeography course using these documents as raw material, and progress the transcription project as a by-product.
Initially the course will run for three monthly sessions on 23rd October, 13th November and 4th December 2018, all Tuesdays, from 10:00 am to 4:00pm. Due to its success, it has been extended for four sessions in 2019: 8 January, 12 February, 5 March and 2 April. The venue will be the Society’s Research Centre in Abinger. Tea and coffee will be provided but you will need to bring a packed lunch or visit the excellent café at the village store.
The course is aimed at beginners or improvers, and will be led by Dr Catherine Ferguson, an expert in palaeography of many periods. Handwriting in this period 1603-1650 was in a state of transition from the Elizabethan secretary hands to the start of more modern italic writing, so there is a wide spectrum of readability but much for beginners to start on, even at a first session. The transcriptions will be checked and then added to a database on the Society’s website and therefore participants will hopefully see quickly the benefits of their labours. All required materials will be provided other than the usual pens/papers for notes.
As well as palaeography, you will also learn about the probate records for Surrey at all periods and where they fit into the material culture of the county and England as a whole.
Initially numbers will be limited to 10, although if there is demand we intend to have further sessions in 2019 both for new members and existing students whom we hope will continue to transcribe for the project and hone their new skills. If you wish to join us please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and some indications of your current abilities and why you are interested in joining the project. There is no charge for the course and it is open to both Society members and other interested students.