English Handwriting

palaeography, n. [ad. mod.L. palæographia, f. Gr. palæo-, paleo-, 'ancient' + -graphy, 'writing']

1. Ancient writing, or an ancient style or method of writing.
2. The study of ancient writing and inscriptions; the science or art of deciphering and determining the date of ancient writings or systems of writing.

Welcome to English Handwriting: An Online Course. Here you will find a set of resources in late-medieval and early modern palaeography, designed for students and scholars of English letters, history, theology, and philosophy - for anyone whose research embraces original English manuscript sources in this period.

At the heart of the site is a fully interactive Course, along with a series of lessons, in late medieval and early modern palaeography. In our History and Context section, you will find a set of articles describing the development of English handwriting, writing methods and technologies during this formative period. Our Materials section presents a collection of guidelines on palaeographical questions, conventions and techniques. We also provide a detailed Bibliography, suitable for beginners, but convenient also for continuing reference. See also our guidelines on how to use the course.

English Handwriting: An Online Course draws on the rich manuscript holdings of the colleges of the University of Cambridge. It reflects the generosity of a wide array of students, scholars, and technicians. Without the participation of several Cambridge college libraries and archives, we would be unable to offer any of the illustrations on this site; without the hours of dedicated transcribing undertaken by our team of students and researchers, we would be unable to offer any of the model transcriptions or other lesson materials.

For a full list of acknowledgements and intellectual property statements, please see our Acknowledgements page.

Whether you are coming to the study of palaeography for the first time, or just refreshing your skills, we hope you will enjoy using this course. Welcome.