This volume in the landmark Oxford History of the Laws of England series, spans three centuries that encompassed the tumultuous years of the Norman conquest, and during which the common law as we know it today began to emerge. The first full-length treatment of all aspects of the early development of the English common law in a century, featuring extensive research into the original sources that bring the era to life, and providing an interpretative account, a detailed subject analysis, and fascinating glimpses into medieval disputes. Starting with King Alfred (871-899), this book examines the particular contributions of the Anglo-Saxon period to the development of English law, including the development of a powerful machinery of royal government, significant aspects of a long-lasting court structure, and important elements of law relating to theft and violence. Until the reign of King Stephen (1135-54), these Anglo-Saxon contributions were maintained by the Norman rulers, whilst the Conquest of 1066 led to the development of key aspects of landholding that were to have a continuing effect on the emerging common law. The Angevin period saw the establishment of more routine royal administration of justice, closer links between central government and individuals in the localities, and growing bureaucratization. Finally, the later twelfth and earlier thirteenth century saw influential changes in legal expertise. The book concludes with the rebellion against King John in 1215 and the production of the Magna Carta. Laying out in exhaustive detail the origins of the English common law through the ninth to the early thirteenth centuries, this book will be essential reading for all legal historians and a vital work of reference for academics, students, and practitioners.
This volume covers the years 1483-1558, a period of immense social, political, and intellectual changes, which profoundly affected the law and its workings. It first considers constitutional developments, and addresses the question of whether there was a rule of law under king Henry VIII. In a period of supposed despotism, and enhanced parliamentary power, protection of liberty was increasing and habeas corpus was emerging. The volume considers the extent to which the law was affected by the intellectual changes of the Renaissance, and how far the English experience differed from that of the Continent. It includes a study of the myriad jurisdictions in Tudor England and their workings; and examines important procedural changes in the central courts, which represent a revolution in the way that cases were presented and decided. The legal profession, its education, its functions, and its literature are examined, and the impact of printing upon legal learning and the role of case-law in comparison with law-school doctrine are addressed. The volume then considers the law itself. Criminal law was becoming more focused during this period as a result of doctrinal exposition in the inns of court and occasional reports of trials. After major conflicts with the Church, major adjustments were made to the benefit of clergy, and the privilege of sanctuary was all but abolished. The volume examines the law of persons in detail, addressing the impact of the abolition of monastic status, the virtual disappearance of villeinage, developments in the law of corporations, and some remarkable statements about the equality of women. The history of private law during this period is dominated by real property and particularly the Statutes of Uses and Wills (designed to protect the king's feudal income against the consequences of trusts) which are given a new interpretation. Leaseholders and copyholders came to be treated as full landowners with rights assimilated to those of freeholders. The land law of the time was highly sophisticated, and becoming more so, but it was only during this period that the beginnings of a law of chattels became discernible. There were also significant changes in the law of contract and tort, not least in the development of a satisfactory remedy for recovering debts.
'There can be no doubt that this series will stand as an enduring testament to the sheer fecundity of the contemporary study of English legal history.' -Law Quarterly Review'Despite the mass of scholarship shoe-horned into its pages, great care has been taken that this volume should be reasonably accessible to non-specialists and it is... an excellent volume.' -Law Quarterly ReviewThis, the first volume to appear in the landmark new Oxford History of the Laws of England series, covers the years 1483 - 1558, a period of immense social, political, and intellectual change, which profoundly affected the law and its workings.Readership: Libraries and scholars, some practitioners (changes detailed in this volume are fundamental to an understanding of the common law), historians interested in the early Tudor period, legal historians.
"The Oxford History of the Laws of England" provides a detailed survey of the development of English law and its institutions from the earliest times until the twentieth century, drawing heavily upon recent research using unpublished materials.