PAST Records Workshop – Early Modern Legal Records

Date / time: 14 June, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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

*Please note that this is a one-day workshop on site at The National Archives on Wednesday 14 June 2023 *

This Early Modern Legal Records workshop will provide you with the essential skills to identify and access original source material amongst the legal records of central government. During each session you will receive tuition and guidance on a range of archival research skills from our early modern records specialists, and you will also undertake practical exercises involving hands-on document work.

During the workshop you will trace the changes in the legal systems and records held by The National Archives during the long early modern period (c.1485-c.1875). The day will begin with an introduction to the early modern legal system, providing a brief summary of the medieval English legal system, before moving on to explore the key changes to this system which took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The following sessions will focus on the different types of court available to litigants during this period, from the common law courts of Westminster, to courts and commissions held outside of London, as well as the equity and conciliar courts such as Star Chamber, Requests, and Chancery.

At the end of the workshop you will have increased confidence in your ability to find and access previously challenging early modern legal documents, and to read and understand their contents. This event is aimed at current taught postgraduate and PhD students, although other researchers are welcome to attend. This is a level three workshop within the PAST programme, and will be investigating complex and demanding archival collections, but you will be supported by expert staff throughout. There are no pre-requisites for attendance.


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

You can join the conversation and learn more about our other PAST workshops by following #TNAPAST

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