PAST Skills & Methodology Workshop: Medieval & Early Modern
PAST Skills & Methodology Workshop: Medieval & Early Modern

PAST Skills & Methodology Workshop: Medieval & Early Modern

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The National Archives

Bessant Drive

Richmond, United Kingdom

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The Postgraduate Archival Skills Training (PAST) programme offers students a unique opportunity to obtain the skills and knowledge needed to undertake academic research at The National Archives.

This Skills and Methodology Workshop will provide you with the essential skills to identify and access original source material in your field of study. During each session you will receive tuition and guidance on a range of archival research skills from our medieval and early modern records specialists and undertake practical exercises involving hands-on document work.

The first day of the workshop will focus on developing expertise in finding records in The National Archives and elsewhere. You will learn how best to use the advanced search functionality in Discovery, our catalogue, and what to do when online searches do not return you the results you expect. 

We will introduce some tips for archival research which will help you plan your time in the archives, including the use of online resources, such as State Papers Online and the E 179 database (which catalogues our taxation records), and of paper indexes and other finding aids which are yet to be made available online.

The second day will be devoted to helping you read and interpret historic documents by developing your skills with palaeography and diplomatic. You will be able to choose between medieval and early modern sessions examining and reading patent rolls, state papers, equity pleadings, tax returns and much more.

At the end of the course you will have increased confidence in your ability to find and access previously challenging medieval and early modern documents and to read their contents.

This event is aimed at current taught postgraduate and PhD students, although other researchers are welcome to attend.

The workshop is held over two days on site at The National Archives. Tea and coffee at registration and lunch on both days are provided. 

For more information about the PAST programme please see The National Archives' website or email


Day 1 (Tuesday 24 January) 

09:00   Registration & coffee (provided)

09:30   Welcome and introductions

09:45   Discovery: how to use our online catalogue

11:15   Break

11:45   Online resources, databases and catalogues

13:00   Lunch (provided)

13:45   Onsite resources: finding aids in the Map and Large Document Reading Room 

15:15   Break

15:45   Document skills: material, form, pagination, dates and abbreviations

17:00   End of Day 1

Day 2 (Wednesday 25 January)

Palaeography, Diplomatic and Medieval Latin. Students chose from medieval OR early modern sessions.


09:00   Grants, deeds and petitions I

10:30   Break

11:00   Grants, deeds and petitions II

12:30   Lucnh (provided)

13:30   Medieval Accounts

15:00   Break

15:30   Medieval Legal Documents


Early Modern 

09:00   Letters I

10:30   Break

11:00   Letters II

12:30   Lunch (provided)

13:30   Early Modern Accounts

15:00   Break

15:30   Early Modern Legal Documents


16:30   Questions and round up discussion

17:00   Close

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The National Archives

Bessant Drive

Richmond, United Kingdom

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