Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > Legal Literature > English Common Law in the Twelfth Century
  Complications Introduced by the Norman Conquest New Type of Legal Writings: Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus R. Angliae, called by the Name of Ranulf de Glanvil  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XIII. Legal Literature.

§ 5. English Common Law in the Twelfth Century.


The common law of England, in the twelfth century, was a new creature. There were in it elements taken from the old West Saxon, Merican and Danish law; there were also elements derived from Norman custom; but the most important elements were novel, and were introduced by the authoritative over-ruling of the king’s court. 4  Hoc tremendum regiae majestatis imperium, as Leges Henrici call it, was immensely extended by the Angevin kings and their ministers. By means of royal writs, issuing from chancery, they called such cases as they would before the curia regis or its itinerant justices; and these cases they treated with equitable freedom, drawing their law eclectically from many sources, of which, perhaps, at any rate in the sphere of public law, the Frankish were more important than the English. 5  But, though the elements were taken from many sources, the basis of the system was the royal writ.   5

Note 4. Cf. Glasson, Histoire du Droit, vol. I, p. XV. [ back ]
Note 5. Cf. Sohm, Fränkisches Recht und römisches Recht, p. 69, quoted by Maitland, English Law and the Renaissance, p. 68. As an example of Frankish elements may be mentioned the jury system, the writ process and the idea of tenure. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Complications Introduced by the Norman Conquest New Type of Legal Writings: Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus R. Angliae, called by the Name of Ranulf de Glanvil  
 
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