Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > Legal Literature > New Type of Legal Writings: Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus R. Angliae, called by the Name of Ranulf de Glanvil
  English Common Law in the Twelfth Century Bracton’s Treatise Bearing the Same Title  

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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.

§ 6. New Type of Legal Writings: Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus R. Angliae, called by the Name of Ranulf de Glanvil.


Accordingly, from the reign of Henry II, when the law of the king’s court began to be, in fact, a common law, we get legal writings of a wholly new type. They consist, primarily, of registers of writs, of commentaries on writs, of directions for pleading in cases originated by writs, of records of decisions given in cases adjudged upon writs. 6  First and foremost of these writings is Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus Regni Angliae, commonly attributed to Ranulf de Glanvil, Henry II’s chief justiciar during the last ten years of his reign, but more probably written c. 1189 by Hubert Walter, Glanvil’s nephew. The object of this treatise is to describe the procedure of the king’s courts; more, it does not attempt. 7  Its peculiar value consists in its collection of writs, the first, so far as we know, ever made; and, since the making of this collection was almost certainly the work of Glanvil, the treatise is not inappropriately called by his name, even if he did not himself write it. 8    6

Note 6. Cf. Holdsworth, Hist. of Eng. Law, vol. II, p. 421, and especially the following quotation from Diversité des Courtes, p. 17: Nota que les briefs sont les principals et premiers choses en nostre ley. [ back ]
Note 7. See Glanvil, prologue to the Tractatus. [ back ]
Note 8. So early as the thirteenth century it was described as Summa quae vocatur Glanvile. Pollock and Maitland, Hist. of Eng. Law, vol. I, p. 164. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  English Common Law in the Twelfth Century Bracton’s Treatise Bearing the Same Title  
 
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