This bibliography, compiled by Christopher Coval in 2002, lists articles and books that discuss the Year Books (and the Abridgements) or employ them as principal sources. The bibliography will be supplemented and extended in due course. All contributions and corrections are welcome.
Part One: Journals and Law Review Articles
T. W. D[wight] The Jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery to Enforce Charitable Uses, American Law Register New Series, vol. 1, page 129-147 (Jan. 1862) page 321-341 (April 1862) page 385-402 (May 1862) page 449-462 (June 1862).
Description: A lengthy series of articles tracing the history of the enforcement of charitable gifts. Dwight explains that the Court of Chancery could enforce charitable gifts by enforcing all types of feoffments to uses and wills. He also discusses Elizabethan statutes and charitable gifts of personal property. Dwight relies primarily on the Year Books; he translates and discusses numerous cases.
F. F. Heard A Chapter in Legal Bibliography – The Old Abridgements, Southern Law Review New Series, vol. 2, page 724-730 (Jan. 1877).
Description: Overview of four Year Book Abridgements, Statham, Fitzherbert, Brooke, and Rolle.
F. W. Maitland The Seisin of Chattels, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 1, page 324-341 (July 1885).
Description: Arguing that the concept of seisin was not exclusive to real estate at early common law. Extensive citation, translation and discussion of Year Book cases.
F. W. Maitland Book Review of Year Books of the Reign of King Edward the Third. Years XII and XIII edited by Luke Owen Pike, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 1, page 373-374 (July 1885).
Description: A review of Pike’s work on the Roll Series edition of Year Books. Maitland complains about the quality of the binding, but has nice things to say about the inside of the book.
Theodore W. Dwight Inaccessible Law, Columbia Jurist, vol. 2, page 133-134 (Dec. 16, 1885); Legal News, vol. 9 page 17-18 (Jan. 16 1886).
Description: A short overview of the Year Books trying to generate interest in them. An announcement of his plan to send occasional translations to the Columbia Jurist to make the Year Books more accessible to lawyers and historians.
Theodore W. Dwight Year Books, Columbia Jurist, vol. 2, page 146-147 (Dec. 23, 1885); Legal News, vol. 9, page 57-59 (Jan. 23, 1886).
Description: Description of the contents of the Year Books, their unique and interesting features.
Theodore W. Dwight From the Year Books, Columbia Jurist, vol. 2, page 266-269 (March 4, 1886); A Case from the Year Books, Legal News, vol. 9, page 116-119 (April 10, 1886).
Description: A complete translation of Trinity Term, 12 Henry VIII (A.D. 1521), folio 3 (B), Case Three.
Theodore W. Dwight From the Year Books. 11 Henry IV 31, Case 27 (A.D. 1410), Columbia Jurist, vol. 2, page 277-279 (March 11, 1886).
Description: Complete translation of 11 Henry IV 31, Case 27 (A.D. 1410).
Bertrand Clover, Jr. From the Year Books of the Reign of King Henry the Fourth, Columbia Jurist, vol. 3, page 139-140 (Dec. 11, 1886).
Description: Complete reproduction and English translation of a case from 1 Henry IV (1399).
Bertrand Clover, Jr. From the Year Books of the Reign of King Henry the Fourth, Columbia Jurist, vol. 3, page 150-152 (Dec. 18, 1886).
Description: Complete reproduction and English translation of another case from 1 Henry IV (1399).
John W. Salmond The History of Contract, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 3, page 166-179 (April 1887).
Description: An article exploring the origins of modern contract doctrine in the action of debt, covenant and assumpsit. Particular attention paid to the origin of consideration, arguing that the doctrine was borrowed from equity.
F. W. Maitland The Beatitude of Seisin, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 4, page 24-39 (Jan. 1888) continued page 286-299 (July 1888).
Description: Analyzing the extent to which the common law protected possession against proprietary rights. Part I relies primarily on Bracton to show how the early common law protected “vicious” and untitled possessors against true owners. Part II relies on the Year Books to demonstrate that law became less favorable to adverse possessors in the 13th and 14th centuries. Parts of many Year Book cases are translated.
F. W. Maitland The Materials for English Legal History, Political Science Quarterly, vol. 4, page 496-518 (Sept. 1889) continued page 628-647 (Dec. 1889).
Description: Essay dividing English legal history into time periods from about 600 to 1535 and explaining the relevant source materials for the study of legal history within each period. The Year Books are discussed as source materials for the period of Edward III through Henry VIII.
William G. Hammond Short Studies in the Early Common Law, Green Bag, vol. 2, page 257-264 (June 1890).
Description: Discussing the rights of wives and lack thereof at common law. Many Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
James B. Thayer “Law and Fact” in Jury Trials, Harvard Law Review, vol. 4, page 147-175 (Nov. 15, 1890).
Description: Understanding the distinction between “law and fact” through the origin and purpose of the jury. Defines fact, law and procedure. Analyzes the interplay of judge and jury showing that the allocation of questions of fact to the jury was highly qualified at common law. Year Book cases are cited.
James B. Thayer The Jury and Its Development, Harvard Law Review, vol. 5, page 295-319 (Feb. 15, 1892) page 357-388 (March 15, 1892).
Description: Long article on the history of juries. Extensive translation, citation and discussion of specific Year Book cases.
L. Owen Pike An Action at Law in the Reign of Edward III: The Report and the Record, Harvard Law Review, vol. 7, page 266-280 (Dec. 25, 1893).
Description: Explaining how and why the Year Book reports differ from the public records of the same cases. Contains occasional reference to specific Year Book cases.
Edward Manson Scenes in Court from the Year Books, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 10, page 63-67, (Jan. 1894); The Green Bag, vol. 6, page 452-455 (1894).
Description: A short article containing humorous and lively anecdotes from various Year Book cases, demonstrating the more human side of courtroom dialogue. The cases translated and cited are almost exclusively from the reign of Edward I.
F. W. Maitland ‘Execrabilis’ in the Common Pleas, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 12, page 174-180 (April 1896).
Description: A short article explaining how justices of the Court of Common Pleas under Edward III began enforcing a papal constitution, Execrabilis. Comparing Year Book cases from the reign of Edward III and the Plea Rolls.
Jesse A. Twemlow Note on a Manuscript of Year-Books, Edward II and III, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Fonds Francais, 5577, English Historical Review, vol. 13, page 78-82 (Jan. 1898).
Description: Announcement of the discovery of a Year Book manuscript from the reign of Edward II and III.
Luke Owen Pike The Manuscripts of the “Year Books” and the Corresponding Records, Green Bag, vol. 12, page 533-542 (Oct. 1900).
Description: Describing the discrepancies between the manuscripts and early printed volumes of the Year Books. Explaining how accuracy can be achieved, despite the confused and varying manuscripts and the difficulties of translation, by reference to the Plea Rolls.
Charles C. Soule Year-Book Bibliography, Harvard Law Review, vol. 14, page 557-571 (April 1901).
Description: A complete publishing history of the Year Books from Rastell and de Worde through the Vulgate edition. Calling for a new edition of the Year Books.
Van Vechten Veeder The English Reports, 1292-1865, Harvard Law Review, vol. 15, page 1-25 (May 1901); vol. 15, page 109-117 (June 1901).
Description: Reviewing criticisms of the printed Year Books and nominate reports in advance of reprinting in the projected English Reports Full Reprint.
Frederick Pollock English Law Reporting, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 19, page 451-560 (Oct. 1903).
Description: An address delivered to the American Bar Association at Hot Springs, Virginia, explaining his work on the English Law Reports.
Margaret Center Klingelsmith “A Rhapsody of Antiquated Law”, American Law Register/University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 52 old series, page 755-763 (Dec. 1904).
Description: A short essay proclaiming the importance and decrying the absence of serious Year Book study and publication.
W. S. Holdsworth The Yearbooks, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 2, page 266-284, 360-382 (July 1906) & (Oct. 1906).
Description: A summary of the latest historical work concerning the Year Books and their place in English history.
The Year Books, Solicitor’s Journal & Weekly Reporter, vol. 51, page 7 (Nov. 3, 1906).
Description: Calling attention to Pike’s recently published Year Books of Edward III. Describes a few cases which would be of interest to modern lawyers.
W. S. Holdsworth The Legal Profession in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 23, page 448-460 (Oct. 1907) continued vol. 24, page 172-183 (April 1908).
Description: Analysis of the “legal profession” in the 14th and 15th century focusing on the serjeants and judges, the apprentices of the law and the Inns of Court, and the relation between the Inns of Court and the serjeants and judges.
L. Owen Pike The Trial of Peers, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 23, page 442-447 (Oct. 1907).
Description: Rejecting L. W. Vernon Harcourt’s contention that a report in the Year Books, assigned to the year 1400, was forged by Henry VII for the purpose of establishing a Constitutional precedent for the trial of the Earl of Warwick.
John Maxcy Zane The Bench and Bar in the Silver Age of the Common Law, Illinois Law Review, vol. 2, page 162-177 (Oct. 1907).
Description: Overview of the legal profession from Edward I through Edward III with discussion of the Year Books and various judges and serjeants.
L. W. Vernon Harcourt The Trial of Peers, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 24, page 43-48 (Jan. 1908).
Description: A reply to Pike’s article defending Harcourt’s conclusion that a Year Book report of the year 1400 was forged by Henry VII.
Wager of Battle in the Year-Books, Law Journal, vol. 43, page 562-563 (Sept. 19, 1908).
Description: Short article relying on Pike’s edition of 20 Edward III to explain the procedural elements of a wager of battle in settling a property dispute.
George F. Deiser Some Ancient Reporters and an Ancient Action, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 57, page 1-27 (Oct. 1908).
Description: A long article demonstrating the ability of the Year Books to bring the ancient courtroom to life with anecdotes of wit and passion. Contains translations of a cases in the Vulgate edition, P. 215, 54, 148, 188, 15 and numerous citations of cases mostly from the reign of Edward III but a few from Henry VII.
Paul Vinogradoff Reason and Conscience in Sixteenth-Century Jurisprudence, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 24, page 373-384 (Oct. 1908).
Description: Analyzing Continental influence on Common Law jurisprudence, particularly with respect to equitable and contract doctrine. Article focuses on the Dialogues of Christopher St. Germain and its application to three groups of Year Books cases.
Hugh H. L. Bellot The Origin of the Attorney-General, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 25, page 400-411 (Oct. 1909).
Description: Exploring the origin the attorney generally and the English Attorney-General in particular. Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Holdsworth’s English Law, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 25, page 412-415 (Oct. 1909).
Description: In praise of W. S. Holdsworth’s A History of English Law.
M. C. Klingelsmith The Continuity of Case Law, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 58 old series, page 399-410 (April 1910).
Description: Tracing a 1909 Supreme Court decision back to Year Book precedent and following doctrine laid down in Year Book cases to contemporary decisions. Commenting on the remarkable continuity of the Common Law.
Arthur Betts The Sorrows of a Sheriff in the Fifteenth Century, Juridical Review, vol. 22, page 305-315 (Jan. 1911).
Description: Article devoted entirely to 5 Edward IV (Long Quinto), p. 5. Extensive translation from a 1587 Tottel edition.
Frederick Pollock Has the Common Law Received the Fiction Theory of Corporations?, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 27, page 219-235 (April 1911).
Description: Analyzing the development of common law corporation doctrine. Translated cases from 15 Ed. IV and 21 Ed. IV.
W. S. Holdsworth Mr. Pike’s Latest Year Book, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 27, page 278-289 (July 1911).
Description: Rejecting Luke Owen Pike’s theory that the Year Books were written by clerks of the court. Agreeing with Pollock and Maitland that students wrote the Year Books.
Margaret Center Klingelsmith Stonore Said, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 61, page 381-396 (April 1913).
Description: Analyzing judge Stonore’s statement that “Lay est resoun” in 19 Edward III (1345) and the significance of a “living common law” generally.
Paul Vinogradoff Constitutional History and the Yearbooks, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 29, page 273-284 (July 1913).
Description: Demonstrating that the Year Books testify to the growth of concepts of the “rule of law” and limited government. Citing and discussing:
Y.B., Pasch., 9 Ed. IV, pl. 2, Trin. Pl. 3. Y.B., Mich., 2 Henry IV, pl. 67., Pasch. pl. 10
Y.B., Mich., 14 Henry IV, pl. 6Y.B., Trin., 37 Henry VI, pl. 3
Y.B., Mich., 20 Henry VI, pl. 25. Y.B., Mich., 11 Henry VI, pl. 17.
Henry Budd Reports and Some Reporters, American Law Review, vol. 47, page 481-517 (July-Aug. 1913).
Description: An historical overview of case reporting, starting with a discussion of the Year Books. The article often emphasizes the personalities of the reporters themselves through the details they reported.
Percy H. Winfield Some Bibliographical Difficulties of English Law, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 30, page 190-200 (April 1914).
Description: With the goal of creating a complete bibliography of English Law, the author explains the imperfect state of bibliographical records from the Anglo-Saxon period and the middle ages and suggests various reforms.
W. S. Holdsworth The Origin of the Year Books, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 30, page 390-392 (Oct. 1914).
Description: A note on J.G. Turner’s speculations concerning Plowden’s tale of the four official reporters paid by the King. Holdsworth argues that the tale sheds little light on the origins of the Year Books.
Herman Cohen The Origins of the English Bar, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 3, page 56-74 (Jan. 1915).
Description: Tracing the origins of the Serjeant-at-law, the relation between the Serjeant and the placitator, the narrator, and the serviens.
John M. Zane A Year Book of Richard II, Michigan Law Review, vol. 13, page 439-465 (April 1915).
Description: Pointing out numerous “inaccuracies, oversights, and positive errors” in the Ames Foundation publication of a Year Book from the reign of Richard II. The author carefully examines the translation of Y.B. 12 Rich. II 16, in particular, and finds serious errors. Y.B. 12 Rich. II, 56 and 131 also contain errors.
Percy H. Winfield The Writ of Conspiracy, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 33, page 28-52 (Jan. 1917).
Description: Discussing evidence that a writ of conspiracy was established at common law prior to the Statute of Conspirators of 22 Ed. I, concluding that such a writ did not exist. The rest of the article examines the writ of conspiracy and its application to false appeals and both civil and criminal proceedings in the Year Books. Contains extensive translation and citation of specific Year Book cases.
Willard Barbour Some Aspects of Fifteenth-Century Chancery Harvard Law Review, vol. 31, page 834-859 (April 1918).
Description: The evolution of equitable doctrine through chancery in the fifteenth century and the law of equity’s opposition to the common law. Year Book cases are cited and discussed, and a formerly unpublished petition is reproduced in its entirety.
W. Harold Maxwell Year Book Bibliography, Law Library Journal, vol. 11, page 46 (July 1918).
Description: Bibliography of three sets of black-letter Tottel prints of Year Books from the reign of Edward IV.
Percy H. Winfield The History of Maintenance and Champerty, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 35, page 50-72 (Jan. 1919).
Description: Overview of maintenance (ruralis, eurialis, and curialis) focussing on champerty in particular. Many Year Books cases are cited and discussed.
Gilbert Stone Concerning the Action of Debt at the Time of the Year Books, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 36, page 61-76 (Jan. 1920).
Description: The article traces the action of debt through the stages of writ, appearance of defendant, settling the pleadings, proof and judgment. The author provides translated examples of the four different ways in which a case could be resolved: Summarily, by the Wager of Law, by Jury, and by the Inquest. This article translates, cites, and discusses numerous Year Book cases.
C. E. A. B. The Middle Temple Year Books, the Work of Richard Tottell, Law Times, vol. 151, page 9-10 (Jan. 1, 1921).
Description: Biographical information on Richard Tottell revealed by a collection of seven volumes of Tottell’s Year Book editions in the Middle Temple Library formerly owned by Richard Ashley.
W. S. Holdsworth The Disappearance of the Educational System of the Inns of Court, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 69, page 201-222 (March 1921).
Description: The history of the decline of the Inns of Court divided into three sections: the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Commonwealth period, and the latter part of the seventeenth century. There are occasional mentions of the Year Books and Abridgements.
William Renwick Riddell A Court Seven Hundred Years Ago, American Law Review, vol. 55, page 193-203 (March-April 1921).
Description: The author translates and explains many portions of Year Book cases to paint a picture of medieval courts and to demonstrate that the origins of certain modern expressions and legal concepts can be discovered within them. Some translations are quite humorous although specific citations are rare.
W. C. Bolland, A Mediaeval Lawyer’s Commonplace Book, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 37, page 310-314 (July 1921)
Description: A short notice of the discovery of a Year Book manuscript from the latter half of Edward II’s reign.
Nathan Matthews The Valuation of Property in the Early Common Law, Harvard Law Review, vol. 35, page 15-29 (Nov. 1921).
Description: An attempt to find a judicial method of valuation of property at early common law. In the end, however, very little can be gleaned from Year Book accounts, abridgements, and early treatises.
Eugene Wambaugh Book Review of The Year Books by William Craddock Bolland, Harvard Law Review, vol. 35, page 108-109 (Nov. 1921).
Description: Elegant review of Bolland’s The Year Books covering much of the scholarly terrain. Wambaugh is particularly interested in the quasi-equitable powers of the Justices of Eyre.
H. G. Richardson Year Books and Plea Rolls as Sources of Historical Information, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 4th series, vol. 5, page 28-70 (Dec. 8, 1921).
Description: Comparing the Year Books and the Plea Rolls as source materials for the study of medieval English history. Arguing that the Plea Rolls are a superior and more valuable source of information. A few plea rolls are reproduced to show the historical detail contained within.
H. S. Boutell The Unique Character and Value of the Year Books, Georgetown Law Journal, vol. 10, page 58-62 (May 1922).
Description: A book review of both The Year Books and The General Eyre by William Craddock Bolland.
William Craddock Bolland The Equipment of Year Book Study, Georgetown Law Review, vol. 11, page 1-9 (Nov. 1922).
Description: General overview of the Year Books, lamenting the fact that they are so little known and so seldom studied. Explains the work of the Selden Society, appealing to American intellectuals to take up the cause of editing and publishing the Year Books.
W. S. Holdsworth Charles Viner and the Abridgements of English Law, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 39, page 17-39 (Jan. 1923).
Description: Inaugural lecture delivered before the University of Oxford at All Souls’ College on Nov. 25, 1922. The lecture is divided into biographical commentary on Charles Viner and his Abridgement, explanation of the role of Abridgements in English law, and declaration of the superiority of the alphabetical arrangement of bodies of law generally.
Margaret Center Klingelsmith Early Bills in Equity, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 71, page 115-126 (Jan. 1923).
Description: Article on bills in equity from the Year Books of the General Eyres. Discussing when they began and ended and establishing their place in the general history of equitable jurisdiction. Contains translation from two cases in the Select Bills in Eyre.
Percy H. Winfield Abridgements of the Year Books, Harvard Law Review, vol. 37, page 214-244 (Dec. 1923).
Description: Exploring the unknown origins of Stratham’s Abridgement, the composition and printing of Fitzherbert’s Abridgement, and a brief survey of the Brooke Abridgement.
C. H. Williams A Fifteenth Century Lawsuit, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 40, page 354-364 (July 1924).
Description: Describing the entire lawsuit of Babington v. Venour (circa 1465). Demonstrating the inefficiency of the administration of justice in mid 15th century England. The author also argues that Edward IV actually attended judicial proceedings. The Year Books and Plea Rolls are the primary source materials.
Percy H. Winfield Early Attempts at Reporting Cases, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 40, page 316-326 (July 1924).
Description: Analyzing evidence that early Year Books manuscripts came close to including both pleadings and arguments, anticipating modern case reporting in a way that the later Year Books do not. The article deals with a few Year Book cases, mostly from Edward I, II, and III.
W. C. Bolland The Book of Assizes, Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 2, page 192-211 (1925).
Description: A lecture delivered at the University of London, asking and answering the questions of why Pleas of the Crown and Assizes are combined in the same work, The Book of Assizes, and why such a work exists only for the reign of Edward III. Includes a general survey of the content of the Book of Assizes and an explanation of its significance. Stories from various cases are retold but citations are lacking.
Theodore F. T. Plucknett Book Review of The Chief Sources of English Legal History by Percy Winfield, Harvard Law Review, vol. 39, page 405-410 (Jan. 1926).
Description: Lengthy book review of Winfield’s work with emphasis on the chapters devoted to the Year Book and Abridgements.
Percy H. Winfield The Myth of Absolute Liability, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 42, page 37-51 (Jan. 1926).
Description: Arguing that strict liability in tort was not the rule in medieval English common law. Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
William C. Bolland Jottings from a Year Book Editor’s Note Book, Yale Law Journal, vol. 35, page 795-804 (May 1926).
Description: An examination of detached items of information noted in the Year Books. Interesting stories are pieced together from cases in 33 Henry VI, reports from the Eyre of Northamptonshire of 3 Edward III, 7 Edward II, 4 Edward III, 2 Edward III, and the Bedfordshire Eyre of 4 Edward III.
Theodore F. T. Plucknett Book Review of A Manual of Year Book Studies by William Craddock Bolland, Harvard Law Review, vol. 40, page 150-151 (Nov. 1926).
Description: A warm review of Bolland’s lecture series, however, chiding him for not providing specific citations.
W. C. Bolland Some Notes on the Year Books and Plea Rolls, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 43, page 60-73 (Jan. 1927).
Description: Explaining the differences between the Year Books and the Plea Rolls, the incompleteness of the records in the Plea Rolls, and an explanation of the process and effect of attornmant, homage and the writ of per quae servicia. Many Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
H. J. Byrom Richard Tottel – His Life and Work, Library, series 4, vol. 8, page 199-232 (Sept. 1927).
Description: Biographical article about Richard Tottel and an overview of his work as a printer of both legal and non-legal works.
W. S. H[oldsworth] The Late Mr. Bolland, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 44, page 22-23 (Jan. 1928)
Description: A eulogy to William Craddock Bolland summarizing his life’s work and worrying about the future of Year Book studies.
Percy Winfield Public Policy in the English Common Law, Harvard Law Review, vol. 42, page 76-102 (Nov. 1928).
Description: Historical account of judicial legislation, or decision-making on the basis of judicially announced public policy in the English common law. Portions of Year Book cases are cited and translated.
Theodore F. T. Plucknett New Light on the Old County Court, Harvard Law Review, vol. 42, page 639-675 (March 1929).
Description: Describing the main features of a medieval county court based on recent discoveries of rolls from county courts. There are also short sections dealing with personal property, contract, tort and crime, procedure and constitution.
Joseph F. Francis The Fifteenth Century – The Dark Ages in Legal History, Michigan Law Review, vol. 27, page 650-676 (April 1929).
Description: The first several pages are devoted to criticizing the legal profession for its lack of historicism. The author then explains the value of ancient treatises, the printed Year Books, and the Plea Rolls with extensive bibliographical information in footnotes. The conclusion explains that the fifteenth century is virtually an uncharted territory of legal history.
George Woodbine Pakenham’s Case, Yale Law Journal, vol. 38, page 775-881 (April 1929).
Description: Complete reproduction and translation of the plea roll record of Pakenham’s case (42 Edward III) compared with the Year Book report. The Year Book report is found to be inaccurate.
Percy H. Winfield Book Review of Les Year Books de Langue Francaise by Jacques Lambert, Harvard Law Review, vol. 42, page 1088-1089 (June 1929).
Description: Very favorable review of Lambert’s book summarizing the author’s conclusions as to the controversial origin and purpose of the Year Books.
W. S. Holdsworth Book Review of Year Books of Richard II: 13 Richard II (1389-1390) edited by Plucknett for the Ames Foundation, Harvard Law Review, vol. 43, page 670-674 (Feb. 1930).
Description: Detailed review of Plucknett’s work for the Ames Foundation. Overall, a very positive reception.
T. Ellis Lewis The History of Judicial Precedent II: The Citation of Cases in the Year Books, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 46, page 341-360 (April 1930).
Description: Examining the evolution of legal citation and formal reliance on past decisions in the Year Books from Edward I, II, III to Henry IV, Richard III, Henry V through Henry VI. This article translates, cites, and discusses numerous Year Book cases.
W. R. Vance Law in Action in Medieval England, Virginia Law Review, vol. 17, page 1-22 (Nov. 1930)
Description: Extensive discussion of the litigation over the Berkeley lands recorded in John Smyth of Nibley’s The Lives of the Berkeleys. Pakenham’s Case, Y.B. 42 Edw. III, f. 3, pl. 14, is also discussed.
Charles J. Kelly The Year Book Cases, Dicta, vol. 8, page 3-11 (Dec. 1930).
Description: An elementary description of the Year Books, their origins and purpose, explaining their usefulness to the historian generally.
Law Reporting and Legal History, Law Times, vol. 171, page 254-256 (March 21, 1931).
Description: Overview of the Year Books, their origin and purpose, and the development of modern law reporting.
Theodore F. T. Plucknett Case and the Statute of Westminster II, Columbia Law Review, vol. 31, page 778-799 (May 1931).
Description: Analyzing the interpretation of the Statute of Westminster II in the Year Books, the legal effects, the statutory text, and the political aspects of the Statute to show that it did not create the action of case. The true origins are not discussed.
George T. Washington Damages in Contract at Common Law, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 47, page 345-379 (July 1931) continued vol. 48, page 90-108 (Jan. 1932).
Description: Long article which describes the history of the legal remedy of damages for breach of contract, the powers of the court in awarding damages, the doctrinal outlines of the forms of action, and the development of modern principles of contract damages. Year Book cases are discussed throughout.
Edmund O. Belsheim The Old Action of Account, Harvard Law Review, vol. 45, page 466-500 (Jan. 1932).
Description: Examining the origin and development the common law action of account and its influence on equitable and quasi-contract doctrine. The author makes extensive use (translating and discussing) of specific Year Book cases.
Theodore F. T. Plucknett The Place of the Legal Profession in the History of English Law, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 48, page 328-340 (July 1932).
Description: An inaugural lecture delivered at the London School of Economics on Nov. 11, 1931. Explaining the decline of Year Book production under Henry VIII despite the survival of the common law. Explaining how the profession maintained the legal order after 1535 and the Reformation Parliament.
The Assizes in Legal History, vol. 176, page 211-212 (Sept. 16, 1933) continued page 226-227 (Sept. 23, 1933).
Description: Tracing the history of the medieval system of traveling commissioners and itinerant justices.
Charles F. Mullett Medieval English Law and the American Revolution, Virginia Law Review, vol. 20, page 523-538 (March 1934).
Description: Analyzing the accuracy of the claims by revolutionary colonists that the British Parliament had violated the rights of Englishmen at common law. Demonstrating that the colonial reliance on medieval common law was often based on misunderstandings. Several Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
Marion S. Kirk “Jeopardy” During the Period of the Year Books, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 82, page 602-617 (April 1934)
Description: Discussing the common law origins of the Constitutional doctrine that a man’s life shall not be twice “put in jeopardy” for the same offense. Although rules developed to bar second prosecutions, the term “jeopardy” remained largely unconnected to the doctrine in the Year Books. A number of cases are cited which either use the term “jeopardy” or deal with the issue of second trials for the same offense.
C. E. Weigall The Year Books, Australian Law Journal, vol. 8, pages 161-163 (Sept. 15, 1934).
Description: General introduction to and overview of the Year Books and their significance.
S. E. Thorne Book Review of Year Book 10 Edward II (1316-1317) edited by M. Dominica Legge & Sir William Holdsworth for the Selden Society, Illinois Law Review, vol. 29, page 557-558 (Dec. 1934).
Description: Review of an edition of the Year Books, highlighting some interesting cases.
C. C. Williams, Jr. Book Review of Year Books of Henry VI: I Henry VI (A.D. 1422) edited by C. H. Williams for the Selden Society, Harvard Law Review, vol. 48, page 1048-1050 (April 1935).
Description: Review of C. H. Williams’ work explaining that the “barrenness of legal thought” during this period is attributable to a turbulent political environment.
S. E. Thorne The Equity of a Statute and Heydon’s Case, Illinois Law Review, vol. 31, page 202-217 (June 1936).
Description: A fascinating examination of the strict, grammatical, statutory construction in the Year Books and the slightly more expansive rule of ratio legis in Heydon’s Case. The author demonstrates that Professor Landis’s use English precedent to overthrow grammatical interpretation in favor of legislative intent is largely misplaced.
S. E. Thorne Fitzherbert’s Abridgement, Law Library Journal, vol. 29, page 59-63 (July 1936).
Description: On the method of compilation and the reconstruction of the manuscripts used by Fitzherbert in producing the Graunde Abridgement.
Robert Wyness Millar The Fortunes of the Demurrer, Illinois Law Review, vol. 31, page 429-462 (Dec. 1936) continued page 596-630 (Jan. 1937).
Description: Lengthy article discussing the origins, development and changes of the demurrer procedure, comparing it with Roman and Continental procedure, and examining the influence of Continental ideas on the procedure in Louisiana, Texas, Quebec, and South Africa. The author relies heavily on Year Book cases (translations in footnotes) to explain the formation of the demurrer at common law.
C. C. Williams, Jr. Note on Stratham’s Abridgement, West Virginia Law Quarterly, vol. 46, page 233-245 (April 1940).
Description: Announcing new evidence, derived from a monograph of the Stratham family, that Nicholas de Strathum was most likely responsible for the Statham Abridgement. Apparently, his brother John had no interest in law or public affairs.
Ralph V. Rogers Manuscript Year Books for 1-10 Edward III (1327-37), English Historical Review, vol. 55, page 562-597 (Oct. 1940).
Description: Describing the known manuscripts for 1-10 Edward III and demonstrating the need for a new black-letter edition. Very extensive appendices containing a list of all known MSS for 1-10 Edward III; a concordance of Rogers-Hale MSS LR 100 & 105 with Tottel’s 1562 edition of 1 Edward III; a concordance of Congressional Law Library MS 7 IJ, Harvard’s MSS 4 & 62, with Tottel’s 1562 edition of 6 Edward III; and a table showing the approximate number of cases recorded in various MSS for each term of years 1-10 Edward III.
Ralph V. Rogers A Source for Fitzherbert’s La Graunde Abridgment, English Historical Review, vol. 56, page 605-628 (Oct. 1941).
Description: Comparing the text of Fitzherbert’s Abridgement with various manuscripts and concluding that MS 7 IJ in the Congressional Law Library was likely used by Fitzhertbert. Contains extensive reproductions (no translations) of cases from the reign of Edward III.
Ralph V. Rogers The Reports of Year Book 10 Henry V (1422) Found in a Manuscript Abridgment of Year Books, Law Library Review, vol. 34, page 321-331 (Nov. 1941)
Description: Announcing the discovery of manuscript Year Book cases from the tenth year of Henry V’s reign found at Harvard. The material is not found in black-letter text or any of the Abridgments. The complete text of the manuscript is reprinted in law-French at the end of the article.
Ralph V. Rogers Historical Origins of Interpleader, Yale Law Journal, vol. 51, page 924-950 (April 1942).
Description: Examination of the origins of interpleader in the Year Books. Demonstrating that interpleader relief was first established in cases involving two or more claims to wardship of a minor and his land. Explaining how equity shaped interpleader doctrine, and that the limitations of privity and independent liability did not exist at common law.
H. Ke Chin Wang The Corporate Entity Concept (or Fiction Theory) in the Year Books, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 58, page 498-511 (Oct. 1942) continued vol. 59, page 72-86 (Jan. 1943).
Description: A survey of the Year Books demonstrating that Maitland and Holdsworth were incorrect in arguing that the fiction theory of corporations had been introduced in at medieval common law. Very many Year Book cases are cited, translated and discussed.
B. H. Putnam Chief Justice Shareshull and the Economic and Legal Codes of 1351-1352, University of Toronto Law Journal, vol. 5, page 251-281 (Lent Term 1944).
Description: Biographical article on the life and work of Chief Justice William Shareshull, in particular, his relation to the economic regulations and legal codes of 1351-1352 dealing with the catastrophic Black Plague.
Percy Bordwell The Common-Law Scheme of Estates and the ‘English Justinian’, Iowa Law Review, vol. 33, page 449-471 (March 1948).
Description: Overview of common law trust and estate and the legislation of Edward I. Year Book cases from Edward I through Edward III are cited.
Percy Bordwell The Common-Law Scheme of Estates and the Remainder, Iowa Law Review, vol. 34, page 401-429 (March 1949).
Description: The history of contingent and vested remainders, their creation and development by the medieval legal profession. Many Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
Margaret Hastings Book Reviews: Year Books of Edward II; Select Cases in the Exchequer Chamber before all the Justices of England, Speculum, vol. 24, Issue 4, page 623-626 (Oct. 1949).
Description: Book reviews of G. J. Turner’s Year Books of Edward II, Vol. X Edward II, A.D. 1311 and M. Hemmant’s Select Cases in the Exchequer Chamber before all the Justices of England both edited for the Selden Society.
Ralph V. Rogers The Need for a Bibliography of English Legal Manuscripts, Law Library Journal, vol. 43, page 45-52 (May 1950).
Description: Announcement of the discovery of manuscripts from the reign of Edward II, The Duke of Northumberland’s MS 446 and The Earl of Leicester’s MS 243. The author argues that a bibliography of all known manuscripts is needed.
Percy Bordwell The Running of Covenants – No Anomaly, Iowa Law Review, vol. 36, page 1-13 (Fall 1950) continued page 484-508 (Spring 1951).
Description: Exploring the origin and development of covenants running with the land. Arguing that the restrictions of “touch and concern” and horizontal “privity of estate” are artificial restraints not developed at common law. Many Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
William H. Dunham, Jr. Doctrines of Allegiance in Late Medieval English Law, New York University Law Review, vol. 26, page 41-75 (Jan. 1951).
Description: Exploring the cultural and legal dynamics of nationalism and allegiance to the king. Year Book cases dealing with citizenship and the jurisdiction of the king’s courts are cited and discussed.
Theodore F. T. Plucknett Frederic William Maitland, New York University Law Review, vol. 26, page 1-9 (Jan. 1951).
Description: Short article describing and celebrating the life and work of Maitland and the ongoing work of the Selden Society.
Ralph V. Rogers The Editing and Publication of the Year Books of the Reign of Edward III (1327-77), Law Library Journal, vol. 44, page 71-78 (May 1951).
Description: Noting the discrepancies between the black-letter text of books 1-10 Edward III printed by Tottel and the original manuscripts. Calls for a critical text and translation of these Year Books.
Ralph V. Rogers Law Reporting and the Multiplication of Law Reports in the Fourteenth Century, English Historical Review, vol. 66, page 481-506 (Oct. 1951).
Description: Analysis of manuscripts containing the reports of cases heard before Justices Itinerant at Bedford and Derby in 4 Edward III (1330) drawing conclusions about the origins of the reports. Presenting evidence that supports Pike’s “quasi-official” theory.
Percy Bordwell To Have and To Give, Iowa Law Review, vol. 37, page 1-20 (Fall 1951) continued page 481-516 (Summer 1952).
Description: Analysis of the medieval law of seisin, its interaction with privity of estate, proprietary right and possession. Many Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
Frank Pegues The Medieval Origins of Modern Law Reporting, Cornell Law Quarterly, vol. 38, page 491-510 (Summer 1953).
Description: Demonstrating that the early Year Book writers were influenced by Bracton’s treatises. The author examines several 13th century works in an effort to illuminate the source of the Year Books. Maitland, Holdsworth, Pike, Bolland, and Plucknett’s theories are explained but no conclusion is reached.
Howard Jay Graham The Rastells and the Printed English Law Books of the Renaissance, Law Library Journal, vol. 47, page 6-25 (Feb. 1954)
Description: The article describes the publishing careers, and other ventures, of John and William Rastell and their contributions to the printing of English law books (especially, the printing of Fitzherbert’s Abridgement).
S. F. C. Milsom Not Doing is No Trespass, A View of the Boundaries of Case, Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 1954, page 105-117 (April 1954).
Description: Historical origins and interactions between medieval tort and contract doctrine, trespass and trespass on the case. Many Year Book cases are cited.
Samuel J. Stoljar A Common Lawyer’s French, Law Library Journal, vol. 47, page 119-133 (May 1954) continued page 209-224 (Aug. 1954).
Description: Analysis of the development, vocabulary, and grammar of law-French. Explains the difficulties of translation, the linguistic changes over time in the Year Books, and the persistence of French expressions in the English Common Law.
Historic Courts IV. Westminster Hall, Law Times, vol. 219, page 269-270 (May 27, 1955).
Description: Part of a series on historical courts devoted to the Court of Common Pleas which convened in Westminster Hall.
Anton-Hermann Chroust The Legal Profession during the Middle Ages: The Emergence of the English Lawyer prior to 1400, Notre Dame Lawyer, vol. 31, page 537-601 (August 1956) continued vol. 32, page 85-140 (Dec. 1956) continued page 268-299 (March 1957).
Description: Lengthy three part series on the history of the legal profession starting with Germanic tribes of the fifth and sixth century through the establishment of the Inns of Court in the fifteenth century.
A. W. B. Simpson Keilwey’s Reports, Temp. Henry VII and Henry VIII, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 73, page 89-105 (Jan. 1957).
Description: Presenting evidence that a John Carrell was the author of the case reports of Henry VII and Henry VIII edited and published by John Croke in 1602 as the Keilwey Reports. Exploring the overlaps between the later Year Books and private case reporting.
A. W. B. Simpson The Circulation of Yearbooks in the Fifteenth Century, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 73, page 492-505 (Oct. 1957).
Description: Rejecting Professor Plucknett’s thesis that Year Book manuscripts were circulated only among Sergeants-at-Law and not the profession at large. The author argues that the Year Book manuscripts were used by a much larger public. This work deals mostly with manuscripts in an analysis of various names of persons. Year Book cases are sometimes cited to support various propositions.
Howard Jay Graham The Book that “Made” the Common Law: The First Printing of Fitzherbert’s La Graunde Abridgement, 1514-1516, Law Library Journal, vol. 51, page 100-116 (May 1958).
Description: Analyzing the first edition of Fitzherbert’s Abridgment to discover its printers, concluding that John Rastell deserves credit for the first volume and Wynken de Word for the other two.
A. W. B. Simpson The Introduction of the Action on the Case for Conversion, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 75, page 364-380 (July 1959).
Description: An analysis of the origin and import of the action on the case for conversion drawing on specific Year Book cases and the Abridgements.
Julius J. Marke The Year Books and the Common Law, New York University Law Center Bulletin, vol. 8, page 8-10, 14-15 (Fall 1960).
Description: Begins with a narrative illustrating the sights and sounds of a 13th century English courtroom. Explains the origin and structure of the Year Books. A piece of black-letter text from the Vulgate edition is reproduced, and examples of the more “human” elements in the reports are provided.
S. F. C. Milsom Sale of Goods in the Fifteenth Century, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 77, page 257-284 (April 1961).
Description: Describing the legal issues surrounding the sale of goods in the fifteenth century, seller’s action for the price and buyer’s action for defects. A very large number of Year Book cases are cited throughout.
Andrew G. Watson Prices of Some Second-Hand Law Books in 1620, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 57, page 212-217 (April-June 1963).
Description: A list of law books belonging to Sir. Simonds D’Ewes (1602-1650) and their corresponding prices. Contains Fitzherbert’s and Statham’s Abridgements, some printed Year Book volumes and many other works.
Heinz Lubasz The Corporate Borough in the Common Law of the Late Year-Book Period, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 80, page 228-243 (April 1964).
Description: Building on the work of H. Ke Chin Wang, the author focuses on Abbot of Hulme’s Case of 1482 to examine the late medieval English theory of corporations. All Year Book citations and translations are from the Vulgate edition.
H. K. Lücke Slade’s Case and the Origin of the Common Counts, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 81, page 422-445 (July 1965) continued page 539-561 (Oct. 1965) continued vol. 82, page 81-96 (Jan. 1966).
Description: A long article examining the legal significance of Slade’s Case in the development of assumpsit. The author reviews the medieval history of debt and assumpsit and some Year Book cases are cited throughout.
Jolande Rummer A Fourteenth Century Legal Opinion, Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, vol. 25, page 178-193 (July 1968).
Description: An analysis of a legal opinion (consilia) written by Baldus de Ubaldis at Perugia around 1370. A clear Latin text is reproduced alongside an image of the original Latin MS.
William M. McGovern, Jr. Contract in Medieval England: Wager of Law and the Effect of Death, Iowa Law Review, vol. 54, page 19-62 (August 1968).
Description: Article discussing the limitations on the remedies for breach of informal contracts: the defendant’s right to “wager of law” and the plaintiff inability to enforce claims against a debtor’s heirs or executors. Explaining how assumpsit evaded these restrictions. Year Books cases are cited throughout.
E. W. Ives A Lawyer’s Library in 1500, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 85, page 104-116, (Jan. 1969).
Description: Examining the substantial book-list of Thomas Kebell, a serjeant-at-law, formerly of the Inner Temple, who died in 1500. Concluding that lawyers, despite their pedantic reputation, had real interests in literature and ideas.
J. H. Baker Counsellors and Barristers, An Historical Study, Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 27, page 205-229 (April 1969).
Description: History of the modern form of the English Bar. Numerous Year Book cases are cited throughout.
William M. McGovern, Jr. The Enforcement of Oral Covenants Prior to Assumpsit, Northwestern University Law Review, vol. 65, page 576-614 (Sept.-Oct. 1970).
Description: Article discussing the origin of the requirement of a specialty to succeed on a writ of covenant. The author also deals with examples of the enforcement of oral covenants prior to assumpsit in the late fourteenth century. Year Book cases are cited and discussed throughout.
A. W. B. Simpson The Source and Function of the Later Year Books, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 87, page 94-118 (Jan. 1971)
Description: Suggesting that the later Year Books originated as texts used in the Inns of Chancery, and that the Year Books were an essential part of legal education much like modern case books today. Many lines from cases are translated and cited to show that the Year Books were used as educational texts. Several from Edward IV and Henry VII
William M. McGovern, Jr. The Enforcement of Informal Contracts in the Later Middle Ages, California Law Review, vol. 59, page 1145-1193 (June 1971).
Description: Analysis of the enforcement of oral contracts in the Year Books and the doctrinal developments in contract law caused by the creation of new writs–Statute of Labourers, ejectment, trespass on the case, assumpsit, warranty and trover. The author argues that oral contracts were enforced, not through tort law, but through a body of law that was consciously contractual in nature.
John H. Baker Unprinted Sources of English Legal History, Law Library Journal, vol. 64, page 302-313 (Summer 1971).
Description: Outline of the types of unprinted source materials available to the English legal historian. Discussion of the Year Books, printed and manuscript, is found throughout.
R. Randall Bridwell Some Examples of Royal Intervention in Private Litigation during the Reigns of Edward I, Edward II and Edward III, South Carolina Law Review, vol. 24, page 186-225 (1972).
Description: Analysis of the procedural devices used in private litigation, both in the king’s bench and Common Pleas, in which the king participated. The article seeks to shed light on the nature of the royal prerogative. Specific Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
E. W. Ives The Purpose and Making of the Later Year Books, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 89, page 64-86 (Jan. 1973).
Description: Arguing that the Year Books were primarily produced by and for practitioners, not students, and were used to extend the memory of the legal profession. This article contains numerous Year Book citations and translations, almost all from the reign of Henry VII.
E. W. Ives “The Origins of the Later Year Books” in Legal History Studies 1972, Cardiff: University of Whales Press, page 136-151 (1975).
Description: This article examines the origin and purpose of the later Year Books (1400-1550) and their subsequent printing.
Edith G. Henderson Legal Literature and the Impact of Printing on the English Legal Profession, Law Library Review, vol. 68, page 288-293 (Aug. 1975).
Description: Discussion of “legal literature” of the 15th and 16th century (statutes, form books, collections of case law) and the effect their printing had on the profession generally.
Robert C. Palmer County Year Book Reports: the professional lawyer in the medieval county court, English Historical Review, vol. 91, page 776-801 (Oct. 1976).
Description: Examination of early 14th century reports of cases tried in Warwickshire county court. The identities of the lawyers and judicial officers in these reports demonstrate how county courts were integrated with the King’s court. Three appendices contain three full reproductions of these cases in law French.
Morris S. Arnold Fourteenth-Century Promises, Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 35, page 321-334 (Nov. 1976).
Description: Analysis of fourteenth century legal remedies for breach of promise. Year Book cases from the fourteenth century are cited and discussed at length.
B. Abbott Goldberg Horseshoers, Doctors and Judges and the Law on Medical Competence, Pacific Law Journal, vol. 9, page 107-145 (Jan. 1978).
Description: A light-hearted history of the law of medical malpractice. The author discusses “Mort’s case,” Y.B. Trin. 48 Edw. 3, f. 6, pl. 11 (1374), in which a man sued a surgeon for negligent medical treatment of his hand.
Frederick Lister Boersma Sir Anthony Fitzherbert: A Biographical Sketch and Short Bibliography, Law Library Journal, vol. 71, page 387-400 (Aug. 1978).
Description: Short biography of Fitzherbert and an overview of his work.
William F. Duker The English Origins of the Writ of Habeas Corpus: A Peculiar Path to Fame, New York University Law Review, vol. 53, page 983-1054 (Nov. 1978).
Description: The origins and transformations of the writ of habeas corpus from Anglo-Saxon law, throughout the Middle Ages, and into the seventeenth century Parliamentary struggle with the Crown. The author relies on the Year Books for much of the discussion.
Morris S. Arnold Accident, Mistake, and Rules of Liability in the Fourteenth-Century Law of Torts, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol. 128, page 361-378 (Dec. 1979).
Description: Overview of thirteenth century tort law arguing that strict liability was the favored principle. Some Year Book cases are cited and discussed.
Thomas J. André, Jr. The Implied Remedies Doctrine and the Statute of Westminster II, Tulane Law Review, vol. 54, page 589-623 (April 1980).
Description: Challenging the commonly accepted view that the doctrine of implied remedies originated in chapter 50 of the Statute of Westminster II. Arguing that implied private rights of action for breaches of a statutory duty were not created by the Statute. Discusses the absence of evidence in the Year Books supporting the common view.
Knut Wolfgang Nörr Über Pleading In Den Ersten Year Books, Legal History Review, vol. 49, page 349-359 (1981).
William D. Hines & Richard W. Ireland The Literature of Legal History, British Book News, vol. 1981, page 647-653 (Nov. 1981).
Description: A list and description of source materials, secondary materials, and reference works dealing with English legal history. Two paragraphs devoted to the Year Books and their modern publication by the Roll Series, Selden Society, and Ames Foundation. Contains an extensive bibliography.
Peter Luther The Year Books, Law Librarian, vol. 13, page 19-22 (Aug. 1982).
Description: General introduction to and overview of the Year Books with a lengthy discussion of the mysterious origins and purpose of the Year Books.
Byron D. Cooper Anglo-American Legal Citation: Historical Development and Library Implications, Law Library Journal, vol. 75, page 3-33 (Winter 1982).
Description: The nature, origins and development of the Anglo-American system of legal citation. Pointing out inefficiencies in contemporary law library catalogues and suggesting reforms. Includes a discussion of the Year Books and Abridgements with respect to legal citation.
Thomas Lund The Modern Mind of the Medieval Lawyer, Texas Law Review, vol. 64, page 1267-1298 (April 1986).
Description: A general introduction to legal argument in the Year Books focusing on the law of seisin. Translation and analysis of many sample cases all from the early 14th century, during the reign of Edward II.
Peter Goodrich Literacy and the Languages of the Early Common Law, Journal of Law and Society, vol. 14, page 422-444 (Winter 1987).
Description: Discussion of the form of literacy, its relation to the spoken word, and the economy of writing in the Middle Ages. Explains the emergence, storage, and uses of early records and books in the Anglo-Norman state. Examines the functions of Latin and law French and the “public sphere” of the law.
Milton Handler & Michael Ruby Justice Holmes and the Year Books, Yearbook (Supreme Court Historical Society) vol. 1988, page 37-39 (1988).
Description: Based on an oral history with Professor Milton Handler, formerly a law clerk for Justice Stone. Handler recounts a 1926 Supreme Court case involving a Year Book precedent from 9 Henry VI. After Handler went to much trouble to get the Year Book volume out of the Library of Congress, Justice Holmes effortlessly translated the passage from a volume in his personal collection.
Ronald Cantlie The French language and the common law, Manitoba Law Journal, vol. 18, page 341-364 (1989).
Description: Correcting certain misconceptions concerning the development of law French in England in the 12th and 13th centuries. Historical background of the Norman Conquest, William’s systematization of land tenure, the development of the common law and an analysis of law French terminology.
J. H. Baker John Bryt’s Reports (1410-1411) and the Year Books of Henry IV, Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 48, page 98-114 (March 1989).
Description: Discussing the authorship of the Year Books. In particular, 12-13 Henry IV identifying John Bryt, a Wiltshire lawyer, as the author of the printed year books of 13 Henry IV. Essential to this discovery, the law-French text of 13 Hen. IV, fo. 10, pl 33 collated with Linc. Inn, MS. Hale 189, fo. 119 is reprinted along with CUL MS. Gg. 5 8(4), fo. 7, pl. 26.
Katherine Topulos A Common Lawyer’s Bookshelf Recreated: An Annotated Bibliography of a Collection of Sixteenth-Century English Law Books, Law Library Journal, vol. 84, page 641-686 (Fall 1992).
Description: An historical background of the books that might be found in the library of a 16th century lawyer. Includes the Year Books of Edward III, Liver des Assises, Fitzherbert’s Abridgement, Brooke’s Abridgement among others.
Lisa Jardine & William Sherman “Pragmatic Readers: Knowledge Transactions and Scholarly Services in Late Elizabethan England,” in Religion, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain, eds. Anthony Fletcher & Peter Roberts, Cambridge [Eng]: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Description: Demonstrating that by late sixteenth century scholarly readers provided highly specific private services for politically involved public figures. The chapter focuses on the careers of Henry Wotton, Francis Bacon, John Dee, and Gabriel Harvey.
J. H. Baker The Three Languages of the Common Law, McGill Law Journal, vol. 43, page 5-24 (Jan. 1998).
Description: Overview of the three common law languages–English, law French, and Latin.
M. H. Hoeflich Legal History and the History of the Book: Variations on a Theme, University of Kansas Law Review, vol. 46, page 415-431 (April 1998).
Description: Pointing out the intimate relation between the history of the book and legal history. Three examples, the rediscovery of the Roman Law Digest in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and the creation of the alphabetical index, the influence of Roman law on early nineteenth century American jurisprudence via the Institutes, and an analysis of John Livingston’s 1856 Catalogue of Law Books demonstrating the broad intellectual scope of the nineteenth century lawyer.
Alan Harding Year Books of Richard II. 6 Richard II, 1382-1383, English Historical Review, vol. 114, page 158-159 (Feb. 1999).
Description: Short description and announcement of the Ames Foundation publication of Year Books of 6 Richard II.
J. H. Baker “The books of the common law” in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain Vol. III, eds. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, page 411-432 (1999).
Description: This chapter provides an overview of medieval English legal institutions focusing on case reporting, readings at the Inns of Court and Chancery, precedent books and practice manuals, the law book trade and press in the 16th century, and printers and their impact on the common law.
Part Two: Books
W. T. S. Daniel The History and Origin of “The Law Reports,” London: Wildy & Sons Ltd., Frankfurt: Jauer Auvermann, 1884.
Description: The history of modern case law reporting in England with focus on the recent history of “The Law Reports” and the need for reform. The Year Books are mentioned on page 17 and briefly discusses on pages 84-86.
F. W. Maitland ed. Year Books of Edward II. 1 & 2 Edward II (A.D. 1307-1309), London: Selden Society, 1903.
Description: New edition of Year Book cases recorded between 1307-1309. Maitland’s introduction contains a lengthy discussion of the Year Books from pages ix-xx entitled “Of the Year Books in General.”
G. J. Turner ed. Year Books of Edward II. 4 Edward II (A.D. 1310-1311), London: Selden Society, 1914.
Description: New edition of Year Book cases recorded between 1310-1311. Lengthy introduction discusses the origins of the Year Books, the Abridgements, the discovery of MSS and the relations of various MSS to each other.
William Craddock Bolland The Year Books, Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press, 1921.
Description: Collection of lectures. The first Lecture (p. 1-25) is an overview of the Year Books, what they are and why they are significant. The second lecture (p. 26-53) discusses the Plea Rolls, how they differ from the Year Books, the origin of the Year Books, their printing and the work of the Selden Society. The third lecture (p. 54-82) contains translations from the Year Books illustrating life and social custom of medieval England.
William Craddock Bolland A Manual of Year Book Studies, Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press, 1925.
Description: The history and characteristics of the Year Books, the origin and evolution of manuscript production, the printed editions and their use for historical information. Appendix B contains several facsimiles of Year Book MSS all from Edward I and II, each with a reproduction of the law French and a full English translation.
W. S. Holdsworth Sources and Literature of English Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925.
Description: Based on six lectures intended to introduce law students to the historical sources of English law: statutes, cases and books of authority from all periods of English history. Chapter 3 (p. 74-111) deals with the Year Books, Reports and Abridgements.
Percy H. Winfield The Chief Sources of English Legal History, Cambridge [MA]: Harvard University Press, 1925.
Description: Introduction to the study of English legal history. In Chapter VII (p. 145-183) “Case Law,” section 2 is an overview of the Year Books as sources of case law. Section 4 is a more detailed treatment of the Year Books, their origin, content and decline. Section 4 also contains a bibliography of early black letter editions, modern editions, and secondary sources. Chapter VIII (p. 200-251) “Abridgements” contains an overview of the Year Book abridgements: Statham, Abridgement of the Book of Assises, Fitzherbert, and Brooke.
Sir Carleton Kemp Allen Law in the Making, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927.
Description: A philosophical work analyzing the various agencies by which rules of conduct attain the status of law. Chapters I and II deal with custom; Chapter III, with the nature and history of precedent, including a section on the English Year Books (p. 190-203); Chapter IV, the authority and operation of precedent; Chapter V, with equity; and Chapters VI and VII deal with legislation.
Jacques Lambert Les Year Books de Langue Francaise, Paris: Sirey, 1928. John D. Cowley A Bibliography of Abridgements, Digests, Dictionaries and Indexes of English Law to the Year 1800, London: Selden Society, 1932.
Description: Page xxxix-l in “Abridgements of Common Law and Equity” discusses Statham, the Abridgement of the Book of Assises, Fitzherbert and Brooke and their publication. Page 1-157 is a chronological bibliography of abridgements, digests, dictionaries and indexes.
C. H. S. Fifoot English Law and Its Background, London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd., 1932.
Description: General overview of English legal history from the early middle ages to modern Britain. In Chapter III on page 83-84 the Year Books are briefly discussed.
Henri Lévy-Ullmann The English Legal Tradition, Its Sources and History, trans. from the French by M. Mitchell, and rev. and ed. by Frederic M. Goadby, foreward by W. S. Holdsworth, London: MacMillan and Co., 1935.
Description: The origin and history of English law. Part I deals with the common law, Part II with statutory law, and Part III with equity. Part I, Chapter IV (p. 89-126) discusses the Rolls, the Year Books and their printing, the Abridgements and law French generally.
Sir. William Holdsworth Some Makers of English Law, Cambridge [Eng.]: The University Press, 1938.
Description: Based on a series of lectures intended to describe the most important men of English law, connecting their biographies to the history of the Common Law. Includes: Glanvil and Bracton, Edward I, Littleton and Fortescue, men of the Renaissance and Reformation, Coke, Hale, Nottingham, Holt, Mansfield, Hardwicke, Eldon, Jenkins, Stowell, the Civilians, Blackstone, Bentham, Austin, Maine, Maitland and Pollock. The Year Books are discussed throughout.
C. G. Moran The Heralds of the Law, London: Stevens & Sons Limited, 1948.
Description: A history of case reporting in England focusing primarily on Plowden, Coke, Mansfield and modern reporters. Chapter one from page 5-9 contains a discussion of recent Year Book scholarship with a few quotes and citations from the Year Books themselves.
T. F. T. Plucknett Early English Legal Literature, Cambridge, [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press, 1958.
Description: Collection of lectures on Maitland’s work, early English legal literature, Bracton and the Year Books. Chapter VI “Cases and Year Books” (p. 98-114) discusses the Year Books, their origins, predecessors and printings.
L. W. Abbott Law Reporting in England 1485-1585, London: The Athlone Press at the University of London, 1973.
Description: A history of case reporting starting with the last of the Year Books. Chapter one “The Last of the Yearbooks” (p. 9-36) deals with the Year Books of Henry VII and VIII. Pages xi-xii contains a list of all Year Book cases cited as well as cases cited from Fitzherbert’s and Brooke’s Abridgement.
J. H. Baker English Legal Manuscripts, Zug [Switzerland]: Inter Documentation Company AG, 1975.
Description: Volume I is a catalogue of the manuscript Year Book, moot readings and law reports at Harvard law library. Part I (p. 1-64) organizes these materials in numerical order according to shelf numbers. Page 77-78 is a chronological table of Year Books. Volume II is a catalogue of manuscript Year Books, moot readings and law reports in Lincoln’s Inn, Bodleian Library, and Gray’s Inn.
J. H. Baker Manual of Law French, Avebury: Avebury Publishing Co., 1979; 2d ed. London: Scholar Press, 1990.
Description: The history and study of law French. Includes notes on the grammar, common abbreviations and contractions commonly found in law books. Page 29-37 is a bibliography of aids to interpretation. Page 43-205 is a glossary of the active vocabulary (fewer than 1000 words) of mid-Tudor times.
J. H. Baker Why the History of English Law Has Not Been Finished, Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Description: An inaugural lecture delivered in the Cambridge University Law School on October 14, 1998. The lecture assesses the achievements, or lack thereof, in the field of English legal history with emphasis on Maitland’s work. After discussing the Year Books and Plea Rolls, Baker asks the question “what is law for the purposes of legal history?” He answers that the “common law” was not simply cases decided, but rather a body of “received wisdom” of which the reports were only a part.