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18. Module 3 continued.

1. Paleography 


Video Text:

Reading other people’s handwriting can be quite a challenge. This is even more the case if it’s old handwriting. Words can often be spelled differently and sometimes letters of the alphabet are even written differently. Yet by getting your students to take on the role of history detectives and teaching them some basic palaeography skills, deciphering old handwriting can be engaging, fun and rewarding.


This is a hand-written extract from a 17th century recipe book. See if you can work out what it says by following the steps below:

MISC. MSS5, Newcastle University Special Collections
  1. Find and circle or highlight the following letters: 

    e (find two different types)  
    r (find two different types) 
  1. Find and circle or highlight the following words (N.B. they are spelled differently to today):  
  1. Have a go at transcribing (writing out) the first two lines of the recipe, then check if you are right! Next, try the next two lines, and then the next! 
  1. What do you think the recipe is for? Can you think of the modern-day equivalent? What would we call it? 

You might want to print out the Palaeography sheet and use it when doing this exercise.