NORTHUMBERLAND ARCHIVES MANORIAL PROJECT
A CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
Have you ever fancied doing some original historical research but never got around to it? Well here is your chance. Members of Hexham Local History Society have been invited to take part in Northumberland Archives’ Manorial Project, which is part of a national initiative to identify and study all the records of ancient Manors in the country. Hexham is fortunate in having a remarkable series of manorial documents and this is an unrivalled opportunity for us to investigate them.
It will be a 30 month project in which a group of 10 or more volunteers from the Society would study the core court documents from the Manor of Hexham, including the Borough Books (the records of the manor court for the township of Hexham).
The group will transcribe and study chosen documents, and the transcripts will all appear on a dedicated public website. Northumberland Archives are appointing a project officer, who will organise the allocation of documents, regular contact and training with the group and meetings with us at our chosen venue. There will be opportunities to visit the archives at Woodhorn, but in the light of current COVID restrictions at Woodhorn, transcription would be done from digitised copies of the records. Transcripts will be added to the Manorial Project section of the Archives’ website. Hexham Library also has a microfilm copy of the Borough Books which would enable members who are not computer-friendly to take part.
Reading old documents can be challenging, but one soon learns with practice and guidance and it is a most enjoyable activity – you are reading and learning things about the everyday life of Hexham, particularly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that have not seen the light of day for hundreds of years.
We have little idea of how many of our members would want to take part, so this is a call for you to let us know if you would be interested in actively participating in the document transcription process. There would be no commitment to a particular amount of work, but you would need to take part in the training sessions.
If you are interested, please email Ian Hancock at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject Manorial Project. It would be helpful if you could say if you have previous experience of reading old documents.
- The Society published an excellent book about the Manor of Hexham – Hexham in the Seventeenth Century, by Anna Rossiter – which is available in Hexham Library and from the HLHS Online Book Shop
- The Northumberland Archives’information sheet about the project (a PDF file)
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