UH Law Library's Blog

January 6, 2010

Searchable Medieval English Legal History

Filed under: Free Web — Tags: — uhlawlibrary @ 12:02 pm

David Seipp, a law professor at Boston University, created an index for all printed English Year Books and many alphabetical abridgments for the years 1268-1535. The Year Books contain the case law of early England organized by regnal year (year of the English sovereign’s reign) and show the development of the common law.

The Year Books were written primarily in Latin and Law French but the index contains value-added features such as commentary and paraphrases in English and language notes. Images of Year Book pages are available for some entries.

The search function allows  users to search broadly or according to specific fields, such as the parties’ first and last names, regnal year, court, writ, places, statute, and plea roll.

The website also contains a list of old printed editions of the Year Books, a table of Year Book abridgements, a list of manuscripts containing case reports that were later printed in a Year Book (all reports first circulated in manuscript form and were not printed until later), and a bibliography of articles and books through 1999 that either discuss the Year Books or rely on them as a source.

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