Herman Moll: The north part of Great Britain called Scotland: with considerable inprovements and many remarks not extant in any map, c.1726 (originally published 1714)
Herman Moll, The North Part of Great Britain Called Scotland (c. 1726)

Welcome to the course

Paleography is the study of ancient or historical handwriting.

A vital skill in the historian’s toolkit, palaeography is essential when researching early modern Scotland – a period of profound political, religious and social change the effects of which can still be felt today.

Over the next three weeks we will introduce you to a range of historical documents which will develop your palaeography skills whilst familiarising you with key themes in the study of early modern Scottish history. You will learn how to decipher handwritten manuscripts by considering:

  • Styles of handwriting
  • Spelling and punctuation
  • Abbreviations and contractions
  • Numerals and dates
  • Techniques for transcription

In addition to the forms and processes of production, you will investigate the issues which affected the everyday lives of early modern men and women. Of particular importance will be the ‘kirk session’ – the church court which lay at the heart of local communities throughout this period.

The extant session records are amongst the richest resources for understanding Scotland’s past, covering such diverse topics as feuds, famine and cases of witchcraft.

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You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

A Certificate of Achievement or Statement of Participation: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement or Statement of Participation when you become eligible.

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This article is from the free online course:

Early Modern Scottish Palaeography: Reading Scotland's Records

University of Glasgow