Catalogue of English Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library

November 1996
918 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780851153766
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

Catalogue of English Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library

With Codicological Descriptions of the Early MSS

J.S. Ringrose

Edited by J.H. Baker

Pioneer catalogue for one of the most important collections of English legal manuscripts.
The English legal manuscripts in Cambridge University Library form one of the most important collections in the world. The principal treasures derive from the renowned library, containing over 230 volumes, collected by John Moore (d.1714), Bishop of Ely, presented to the University by King George I in 1715. It includes some of the old manuscripts collected by Francis Tate (d.1616), and the working manuscript library of Mr Justice Nicholas (d.1667). The collection also contains medieval statute-books, year-books, medieval and early modern readings and moots in the inns of court, and law reports from the Tudor period down to the reign of Charles II, together with examples of every other major type of manuscript law book in use in England prior to the eighteenth century.
As well as being an essential finding-aid, this new catalogue includes a description of the contents of each manuscript, bibliographical notes on the text (listing hundreds of related manuscripts in other libraries), and full codicological descriptions of the medieval manuscripts by Dr Jayne Ringrose. No similar catalogue of English legal manuscripts has ever been published before.

Professor J.H. BAKER is Professor of English Legal History at Cambridge University.


This catalogue of the remarkable endlessly suggestive, leaves many questions to be answered, and at the same time takes us forward at s4everal leaps in legal manuscripst, and therefore legal history, may be studied in a bibliographical way. BOOK COLLECTOR [D McK]
A prodigious task... As well as the catalogue itself, and the numerous indexes, appendixes and other tabular aids accompanying it, Professor Baker has contributed an introduction which is in itself a substantial essay on the importance of the manuscript tradition as an indicator of the manner in which education in English law was pursued during the middle ages. ECCLESIASTICAL LAW JOURNAL
Of particular interest is [the] introduction, in which [Baker] connects the contents of the manuscripts to what is known about the teaching of law. MANUSCRIPTA