Welcome to our project page for Unlocking a Tudor Wage Book. We are inviting volunteers to help us transcribe the contents of an early wage book containing details of people working at Chatsworth for Bess of Hardwick (c.1527-1608) in the late 1570s. Bess was a highly significant figure in Elizabethan England, and Chatsworth was her first building project, pre-dating her work on Hardwick Hall for which she is best remembered today.
We want to rescue the names of these Chatsworth workers from the 1570s – ranging from highly skilled stonemasons to general labourers – so we can record them in our online database of Historic Servants and Staff. This is a popular resource for anyone interested in tracing individuals who may have worked at Chatsworth in the past.
Our transcription project is running on the crowdsourcing platform, Zooniverse, and we are currently trialling three different transcription workflows. Please contact us through Zooniverse if you would like to try out any of these workflows and we can provide you with the URLs.
Information about the project, and detailed guidance on the handwriting and how to transcribe it, is available via our Zooniverse pages, but we have also brought this together into several PDF documents, which you can download here:
- Some further information about the project.
- A list of useful online tutorials and guidance to get you started with deciphering Secretary Hand.
- A full Transcription Manual for our project.
- Transcription guidelines at a glance: a one-page crib sheet for reference.