Beginning the transcription

Now that the conservation work is completed, we have begun the transcription and encoding of the folios. We are beginning with the six folios on the Goldsmiths’ proportion and will use these to plan out the website and the particulars of the encoding into XML using TEI. But first they have to be transcribed!

The text itself is formulaic, which means that it is usually possible to fill in the text missing from those areas that are illegible, burnt, shrunken, torn, or covered in dirt. This also means that the transcription involves much rereading of the folios to fill in the gaps, but it is very satisfying to have a complete transcription.

Whilst the text itself is in English, there are lots of varieties in the spelling (for example, the use of ‘howse’, ‘fower’, ‘cabbyns’) so we are going to include a modernised transcription on the website, with modernised spelling, punctuation, and names (as far as is possible). We also plan for the website to include a glossary of terms that may be unknown or not immediately obvious to the reader, such as ‘quicksett’ and ‘fireboot’. The place names present extra challenges as some of the names mentioned correspond to current Northern Irish place names, but some of them do not. In addition, there is no guarantee that the 1639 boundaries of places such as townlands and counties correspond to the modern ones. Fortunately, the script itself is a large, neat, clear, secretary hand, and this makes the transcription a little easier.


Open studio event at LMA – Behind the Scenes in Conservation

Next Tuesday 20th November we will have an open studio day. This is an opportunity to come and see the repaired and housed Great Parchment Book. Rachael will show you the techniques she has used to humidify, tension dry and repaired the parchment.

Just come to London Metropolitan Archives between 10 and 12 or 14 and 16. To find out more please click here.
See you soon!

Great Parchment Book membranes


Once all the sheets had been treated, they just needed rehousing. The sheets could not be put back into their original boxes because they were no longer suitable in terms of their size and shape. Also, it was felt that the boxes were housing too many sheets to a box.

For ease of handling, it was decided that the sheets should be stored in Clamshell style boxes with, on average, six to a box. The sheets would also need to be interleaved to stop them catching on each other. The interleaving material needed to be something thin and flexible that would mould to the shape of the sheets, so reducing the risk of extra bulk, but also smooth surfaced so the sheets won’t catch on it. It will also act as a support for each sheet when moving them in and out of the boxes.

Tyvek® was chosen for the job as it fits all these qualities and is chemically inert.

Lifting the membranes