Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > Legal Literature > Fleta and Britton
  Bracton’s Treatise Bearing the Same Title The Year Books and their Value  

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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.

§ 8. Fleta and Britton.


It is worthy of remark, in this place, that the victory of common law over the royal prerogative in the seventeenth century was largely the triumph of Bracton. The cantankerous Coke was always appealing to him; he was called as a witness on behalf of John Hampden; he was quoted by Bradshaw when he delivered judgment on Charles I; Milton appealed to him in Defensio Pro Populo Anglicano. It is difficult to conceive that English common law could have survived the attacks of its many enemies during the Tudor and Stewart periods, if it had not been cast into the form, alike logical and literary, of Bracton’s treatise. The work at once had a great vogue, and it was a fruitful source of other works, which, in the main, were summaries of Bracton compiled for the use of the legal practitioners. Foremost among these were two—both of date about 1290—the one known as Fleta, written in Latin, and the other, Britton, written in French (of the Stratford-atte-Bowe order), which was the language of the courts at that time. 10    8

Note 10. To this period belongs that apocryphal work The Mirror of Justices, which, mainly through the influence of Coke, was long regarded as a serious authority on law. Cf. preface to Coke’s 9th and 10th reports, Maitland’s Introduction to the Selden Society’s edition of The Mirror, and Holdsworth’s Hist. Eng. Law, vol. II, pp. 284–290. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Bracton’s Treatise Bearing the Same Title The Year Books and their Value  
 
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