How to read old documents

How To Read Old Documents

The Course

This workshop helps beginners and those with a small amount of knowledge to read 16th and 17th century handwriting, and is helpful for later palaeography as well. It is useful for family and local historians taking participants through wills, inventories, registers, deeds and even the mystery of the suet pudding in a Quarter Sessions case! We concentrate on the letter forms made by clerks, and once you’ve got the new letter forms, it becomes an enjoyable puzzle like Sudoku or a crossword.

The Tutor

Dr Caroline Adams has a BA (Hons) in history from the University of York, an MA in landscape and regional history from the University of Leeds and a PhD from the University of Chichester on Elizabeth I’s visit to West Sussex in 1591. She is a fully qualified and registered archivist, and is member of the Archives and Records Association. Until July 2014, she was Senior Archivist at West Sussex Record Office and now is a freelance archivist and historian. She has written and lectured widely on local and family history including professional conferences, and has co-authored and edited a number of publications. She is presently researching 16th and 17th century gentry in Sussex.

Participant Information

All equipment will be provided, you may wish to bring a pen and paper.

Fee & Refreshments

£65 per person, to include tuition, teas and coffees. If you have any dietary requirements please let us know in advance. The Museum cafe will be open or you may wish to bring a packed lunch.

Book course



Sat 14 May 2022






Research & Buildings