Great Parchment Book

great parchment book

The Great Parchment Book of the Honourable the Irish Society is a major surviving historical record of the estates of the county of Londonderry (in modern day Northern Ireland). It contains key data about landholding and population in the Irish province of Ulster and the city of Londonderry and its environs in the mid-17th century, at a time of social, religious, and political upheaval. Compiled in 1639, it was severely damaged in a fire in 1786, and due to the fragile state of the parchment, its contents have been mostly inaccessible since. Our project is a long-term, interdisciplinary, international partnership involving conservators, archivists, computer scientists, and digital humanists that developed a low-cost pipeline for conserving, digitizing, 3D-reconstructing, and virtually flattening the fire-damaged, buckled parchment, enabling new readings and understanding of the text to be created in time for the 400th anniversary celebrations of the building of Londonderry’s city walls in 2013.



London Metropolitan Archives
ETH Zurich

Project Team

Project management – Nicola Avery, Philippa Smith, Emma Stewart
Conservation – Caroline De Stefani, Rachael Smither
Transcription and encoding – Dr Patricia Stewart
Video – Laurence Ward
Imaging – Seamus McKenna, Dave Tennant
Project supervisors – Professor Tim Weyrich, Professor Melissa M Terras
Doctoral student – Dr Kazim Pal
Bernadette Walsh
Alberto Campagnolo Matthew Payne, Ann Stewart and Liz Yamada


This work was financially supported by the UCL EngD VEIV Centre for Doctoral Training; The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant EP/G037159/1); The European Research Council (grant iModel StG-2012-306877); Adobe Research; Derry Heritag