Knight Archives Transcription Group get to feel the ‘real’ history

By | August 1, 2022
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Minehead and District u3a Shared Learning Project: Knight Family Archives Transcription Project

Some of the letters that the Group have been transcribing from digital copies, seen here ‘in real life’!

10 members of the Group working on transcribing the papers comprising the Knight Family Archives had the opportunity to visit the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton to have a tour of the facilities and actually get to see some of the Knight papers – in ‘real life’ . The tour was led by SW Heritage Engagement Officer Esther Hoyle and included a brief introduction to the Centre and its work and a look into the ‘strong room’ where some of the precious documents are kept. The Centre’s scope covers all of Somerset including diocesan archives for Bath and Wells, and some North Devon material too. Among the ‘nuggets’ that we learned was that the ‘Common Language Act’ of 1733 dictated that all official and legal documents had to be written in English rather than the obscure Latin of medieval and early modern times. Fortunately the Knight papers are in English, but being hand written by a large array of correspondents makes for challenging reading! The Group have been working from digitised versions – seeing and handling the actual papers gives an extra dimension to making the whole project ‘real’.

Many thanks are due to Catherine Dove of the Exmoor National Park Authority, who liaises with the u3a members, as well as the Heritage Centre, for facilitating this visit!

The Heritage Centre lies just off the Silk Mills Road and is free to use – with an identity check  – there is a comprehensive website and many indexes and catalogues are online. So any u3a member can visit and use original historical documents. 


In the strongroom with Esther Hoyle, one of the Centre’s staff. The racks behind contain estate and other old maps – some are enormous!

For much more information on this project click here.

Group members examining documents in the Reading Room of the Heritage Centre

Hilary Fisk
Author: Hilary Fisk

Temporary website Editor. Also the lead on the Shared Learning Project on the Knight Family Archive Transcriptions. Committee member 2015 - 2022.

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