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28/06/2012

The Great Parchment Book Blog


The Great Parchment Book Blog
As part of the commemorations in Derry of the 400th anniversary of the building of the city walls, work is being done on the conservation and exhibition of the Great Parchment Book.

The Great Parchment Book was a major survey, compiled in 1639 by a Commission instituted under the Great Seal by Charles I, recording the Derry estates managed by the City of London. It represents a hugely important source for the City of Londonís role in the Protestant colonisation and administration of Ulster. However as the result of a fire in 1786 it has been unavailable to researchers for over 200 years.

The damaged manuscript has however remained part of the The Honourable The Irish Society's collections since 1662 and have been held at London Metropolitan Archives since 2005

Each of the 165 separate parchment pages was damaged in the fire and the uneven shrinkage and distortion rendered much of the text illegible. However, much of the text is still visible and it was decided by conservation and computing experts that the best approach was to flatten the parchment sheets as far as possible, then use digital imaging record the volume and make it more legible.

To make the digitisation process as successful as possible, preliminary limited conservation treatments are being carried out. This preparatory conservation work has been supported by the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, Derry Heritage and Museums Service and London Metropolitan Archives. The progress of the conservation is being recorded on the Great Parchment Book Blog.

Story by Public Record Office of Northern ireland

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