The Great Parchment Book is an early 17th century survey of the County of Londonderry. This manuscript has been described by the University of Ulster as forming almost a ‘Domesday Book of Derry’.
Moreover, it is a manuscript that has been completely inaccessible to scholars for over 200 years, since it was heavily damaged in a fire at Guildhall in 1786. The manuscript forms part of the collection of the Hon The Irish Society housed at London Metropolitan Archives. It is hoped that the development of new digital methodologies will allow the opening up of the obscured text and enable the production of usable 3-D digital images and a transcription of the complete manuscript.
These techniques have never been tried on manuscripts before, and so, if successful, would provide exciting possibilities for other damaged parchment manuscripts in the City of London’s collections and beyond.
This blog will record our journey.
The photographs on the ‘Project’ page and those below should give you some idea of the challenges we face!