The Harvard Law School’s Collection
of Medieval English Statute Books and
Registers of Writs

Ames Projects

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HLS MS No. 57

England. Statutes, Magna Carta to 18 Edw. 1 (12 Edw. 2)

ca. 1297 (1318)

http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HLS.LIBR:13418253

 

 

<Preliminary introductions>

The HOLLIS cataloguing may be found here. The following items are worth repeating:

“Description : 118 leaves : vellum ; 13 cm.

“Summary : Contains a Magna Carta, Charta de Foresta, and other statutes to 25 Edward I.

“Notes : Written by an English scribe, long lines, 22 to a full page.

“Rubricated in blue and red, with ornamental pen-letters.”

The cataloguing in Baker’s English Legal Manuscripts, 1, no. 80 reads as follows:

“STATUTA VETERA

“MS. 57.

“Early C.xiv, 118 ff., one oak board remaining.

“Acquired by George Dunn in July 1887; his sale, S. 11 Feb. 1913, no. 158; bought privately by HLS.

Census, I, 1033, no. 57.”

The manuscript measures approximately 130 X 75 mm.

The binding seems to postdate Baker’s catalogue. His ‘one oak board remaining’ suggests that that board was detached from the manuscript when he saw it. The rebinding was made to match a medieval binding, oak boards with no cover, open spine. The rebinding used the medieval board as a front cover and a modern board as the back cover bound to the manuscript with thick twine. Remnants of the former binding (seq. 264–266) show what was probably the former front cover, an oak board, certainly not medieval, covered on the front with leather which continued over the spine, and not covered on the inside. The inside has written in pen in George Dunn’s hand ‘Statuta Anglie (c. 1296)’. The blank modern endpapers at the front and back were probably added when the manuscript was rebound, and Dunn’s collation of the manuscript (seq. 8–11) was probably bound into the manuscript at the same time. It is a shame that this collation of the manuscript was not checked and a proper quire map prepared when the rebinding was redone, but it was not.

Dunn was convinced that the original manuscript is to be dated to 1296, and that Edward the Second’s statute of York of 1318 was a later addition. We agree that the original collection is to be dated to 1296 or 1297 and that the Statute of York is a later addition, but the arguments supporting this conclusion are more complicated and less certain than Dunn made them out to be.

Dunn’s argument for the dating of the basic collection was that the writ that accompanies the Statute of Merchants is dated without a month in year 25 of Edward the First’s reign, rather than 13 as in S.R. That would make the year of grace 1296 or 1297. In addition to the date on the writ, other evidence for composition around 1296 or 1297 is that the version of Magna Carta given is that of Henry III in 1225 and not the confirmation by Edward I on 28 October 1297.

The section of the manuscript that contains the Statute of York is written in a different hand and is in a somewhat style from that of the rest of the manuscript. Further evidence that the Statute of York was a later addition is supplied by what comes before and after it. Two items before the Statute of York is a duplicate copy of the Statute of Westminster III (fol. 66r–66v). It had already appeared on fol. 59v–60r. The Statute of Gloucester appears after the Statute of York, but Gloucester ends in mid-sentence in the middle of c. 1 of the statute (fol. 73v) (something that Dunn did not notice). Folio 74r begins Westminster II, in what seems to be the same hand and style as the earlier parts of the manuscript. It occupies most of the rest of the manuscript.

Dunn’s theory was that fol. 66r–73v were a separate quire that was inserted into the manuscript at some later date, certainly after 1318, and that this quire was not part of the original collection. He thought that he had proven it in his collation, which is now bound into the manuscript and which he pronounced ‘perfect’ (seq. 11). We agree with his overall conclusion that fol. 66r–73v are a separate quire. We are not sure that Dunn got the quiring quite right, though we hasten to point out that Dunn was examining physically a manuscript that was probably at the time quite loosely bound, whereas we are working from images of a manuscript that has recently been rebound.

Dunn’s collation, translated into modern form with, where necessary, his identification of the contents follows: 1–212 (f. 1–24), 310 (f. 25–34), 412 (f. 35–46), 516 (f. 47–62), 63 [sic] (f. 63–65) (‘. . . de Mercat. Breve’), 78 (f. 66–73) (‘Quia emptores. de Vasto. tunc Stat. Ebor (recentius addit) et Gloucester’), 8–1012 (f. 74–109v) (‘Westminst Second’), 119 [sic] (f. 110–118) (‘West Sec. de Scaccario’).

Dunn missed the fact that Dies communes in banco is included after the Statutes of the Exchequer, but that fact does not affect what he concluded about his quire 7. His count of the folios (superscripts in our form) is a count of the folios that are actually there rather than of the folios in the original quires. Quires of three or nine folios are impossible; something has to have been taken out. That a folio was taken out after fol. 118 seems quite likely. Final blank folios are frequently removed, and we even think that we can see the stub. Dunn’s quire 6 is much more problematic. If it were originally a duernion, then the person who made it up might already have been anticipating the inclusion of quire 7. If it were larger than a duernion, then the original quire would have had to have been totally remade in order to get what we have now. That is not impossible, but it does not happen very often.

Independent of Dunn, we attempted a collation of what we could see on the images. We ended up with a collation almost exactly like Dunn’s except that we combined his quires 6 and 7 into one quire originally of 16 folios from which four were missing at uncertain places. This works mathematically, but we could see no evidence of any of the stubs, much less of four. Our quiring also did not make fol. 66–73 into an independent quire, and we have already seen that there is evidence in the contents that it is.

That got us to thinking about our (and Dunn’s) quire 5. Octernia are not impossible, but they are certainly rare. There may be a quire break between fol. 54 and 55. If there is, that would make quire 5 a quaternion, quire 6 a sesternion lacking one at the end, and quire 7 a regular quaternion. It also means that quire 7 could be a later addition, as its contents already suggest that it is.

Hence, our tentative collation, which could be confirmed or upset when we get a chance to examine the manuscript physically and which excludes the modern additions at front and back, is:

1–212 (f. 1–24), 310 (f. 25–34), 412 (f. 36–46), 58 (f. 47–54), 612 (f. 55–65, lacks one after f. 65), 78 (f. 66–73), 8–1012 (f. 74–109v), 1110 (f. 110–118, lacks one after f. 118).

This small portable manuscript contains just the basics. It is of some interest in that it tells us what the original owner, who, as we have seen, probably had the collection made sometime around 1296–7, thought the basics were (listed in the order in which they appear): Magna Carta, the Forest Charter (followed by the sentence of excommunication of 1253), Merton, Marlborough, Westminster I, Merchants (including the sample writ), Westminster III, Gloucester, Westminster II, and the so-called statutes of the Exchequer. Dies communes in Banco is an afterthought that may or may not have been part of the original scheme. When the original, or a subsequent owner, had the manuscript bound, he thought that Edward the Second’s statute of York of 1318 belonged among those basics and had a quire added to accommodate it. Since he added a pre-existing quire, he added Westminster III (repeated), Waste, the Statute of York, and the beginning, but not the whole, of the Statute of Gloucester.

All of this is plausible, but not certain. We do not know when the manuscript was bound, and we do not know that the ‘original’ binding, part of which we still have, goes all the way back to the 14th century. We rather doubt that it does. It might be more cautious to say that someone, at some point, put in the additional quire. The script of that quire need not be any later than the date of Statute of York, but that does not mean that it was joined with the basic collection shortly after 1318. Perhaps the safest thing to say is that somebody, probably at some point in the Middle Ages, wanted to put the additional quire into manuscript, and probably did so at the time that the manuscript was being (re)bound. This could have been a 17th-century antiquary, but that seems unlikely. Loose quires of this size would probably have been quite scarce by the 17th century. The further that we get away from the early years of the 14th century, the less likely it seems that someone would have wanted to add a whole quire to a manuscript of this size.

One more consideration: Dies communes in banco is tucked in without a heading at the end of Westminster II. The hand that added it may (we emphasize ‘may’) be the same hand as that of the additional quire. If that is the case, that may make it more likely that the additional quire was incorporated shortly after 1318.

 

Summary Contents

Clicking on the item in question will open the first sequence for the item in the PDS in a new tab or window.

 

  Seq. Fol. No. Item  
8–11f. unfoliated1Collation by George Dunn 1887 tipped in 
16–34f. 1r–10r2Magna Carta, 9 Hen. 3 (1225) (S.R. 22–25 [1st numbering]) 
34–43f. 10r–14v3Forest Charter, 9 Hen. 3 (1225) (S.R. 26¬27 [1st numbering]) 
43–47f. 14v–16v4Sentencia exommunicationis lata in transgressores cartarum, 37 Hen. 3 (S.R. 1:6–7) 
47–58f. 16v–22r5Provisions of Merton, 20 Hen. 3 (S.R. 1:1–4) 
58–82f. 22r–34r6Statute of Marlborough, 52 Hen. 3 (S.R. 1:19–25) 
82–133f. 34r–59v7Statute of Westminster I, 3 Edw. 1 (S.R. 1:26–39) 
133–135f. 59v–60v8Statute of Westminster III, 18 Edw. 1 (S.R. 1:106) 
135–144f. 60v–65r9Statute of Merchants, 13 Edw. 1 (S.R. 1:98–100) 
144f. 65r10Sample writ under the statute of Merchants (S.R. 1:100 n. a) 
146–148f. 66r–67r11Statute of Westminster III, 18 Edw. 1 (S.R. 1:106) 
148–152f. 67r–69r12Statute of Waste, 20 Edw. 1 (S.R. 1:109–10) 
152–160f. 69r–73r13Statute of York, 12 Edw. 2 (S.R. 1:177–9) 
160–161f. 73r–73v14Statute of Gloucester, 6 Edw. 1 (S.R. 1:45–50) 
162–236f. 74r–111r15Statute of Westminster II, 13 Edw. 1 (S.R. 1:71–95) 
237–250f. 111v–118r16‘Statutes of the Exchequer’, temp. incert. (S.R. 1:197 [semel] – [ter]) 
250f. 118r17Dies communes in banco, temp. incert. (S.R. 1:208) 

 

Detailed Contents

Clicking on the sequence number will open that sequence in the PDS in a new tab or window.

 

Seq. Fol. Label Header  
1no fol., no sig.Spine 
2no fol., no sig.Front cover 
3no fol., no sig.Inside front cover 
4no fol., no sig.Blank 
5no fol., no sig.Blank 
6no fol., no sig.Blank 
7no fol., no sig.Blank 
8no fol., no sig.Collation by George Dunn 1887 tipped in 
9no fol., no sig. 
10no fol., no sig. 
11no fol., no sig. 
12no fol., no sig.Blank 
13no fol., no sig.Blank 
14no fol., no sig.Blank 
15no fol., no sig.Blank 
161rMagna Carta, 9 Hen. 3 (1225). (S.R. 22–25 [1st numbering]) 
  Note: Elaborately decorated initial ‘H’ with full border around text.
171vLibt’ Angl’ 
182r 
192vLib’ Angl’ 
203r 
213vLibt’ Angl’ 
224r 
234vLib’t’ Angl’ 
245r 
255vLib’t’ Angl’ 
266r 
276vLib’ Angl’ 
287r 
297vLib’ Angl’ 
308r 
318vLibert’ Angl’ 
329r 
339vLib’t’ Angl’ 
3410rForest Charter, 9 Hen. 3 (1225). (S.R. 26¬27 [1st numbering]) 
  Heading: Explicit magna Carta Libertat’.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘H’.
3510vde foresta 
3611r 
3711vde foresta 
3812r 
3912vde foresta 
4013rde For’ 
4113vde foresta 
4214r 
4314vSentencia exommunicationis lata in transgressores cartarum, 37 Hen. 3. (S.R. 1:6–7)de foresta 
  Heading: Explicit carta foreste.
  Note: (1) Decorated initial ‘A’. (2) The manuscript divides the text in S.R. into two parts, the preamble beginning here, and the sentence itself beginning on the next page.
4415r 
  Heading: Sentencia.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘A’.
4515vSente’c’ lata 
4616r 
4716vProvisions of Merton, 20 Hen. 3. (S.R. 1:1–4) 
  Heading: Explicit sentencia lata in transgressores.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘C’.
4817r 
4917vM’ton’ 
5018r 
5118vMerton’ 
5219r 
5319vM’ton’ 
5420r 
5520vM’ton’ 
5621r 
5721vM’ton’ 
5822rStatute of Marlborough, 52 Hen. 3. (S.R. 1:19–25) 
  Heading: Expliciunt provisiones de Merton’.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘A’.
5922vmarleb’g’ 
6023r 
6123vmarleb’g’ 
6224r 
6324vmarleb’g’ 
6425r 
6525vmarlb’g’ 
6626r 
6726vmarleb’ 
6827r 
6927vmarleb’g’ 
7028r 
7128vmarleb’ 
  Note: Grotesque.
7229r 
7329vmarleb’g’ 
7430r 
7530vmarleb’g’ 
7631r 
7731vmarleb’g’ 
7832r 
7932vmarleb’g’ 
8033r 
8133vmarleb’g’ 
8234rStatute of Westminster I, 3 Edw. 1. (S.R. 1:26–39) 
  Heading: Expliciunt statuta marl’.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘C’.
8334vWestm’ p’m 
  Note: Carryover indicating quire break.
8435r 
8535vWestm’ p’m 
8636r 
8736vWestm’ p’m 
8837r 
8937vWestm’ p’m 
9038r 
9138vWestm’ p’m 
9239r 
9339vWestm’ p’m 
9440r 
9540vWestm’ p’m 
9641r 
9741vWestm’ p’m 
9842r 
  Note: Hole in page; text unaffected.
9942vWestm’ p’m 
10043r 
10143vWestm’ p’m 
10244r 
10344vWestm’ p’m 
10445r 
10545vWestm’ p’m 
10646r 
10746vWestm’ p’m 
  Note: Carryover indicating quire break.
10847r 
10947vWestm’ p’m 
11048r 
11148vWestm’ p’m 
11249r 
11349vWestm’ p’m 
11450r 
11550vWestm’ p’m 
11651r 
11751vWestm’ p’m 
11852r 
11952vWestm’ p’m 
12053r 
12153vWestm’ p’m 
12254r 
12354vWestm’ p’m 
12455r 
12555vWestm’ p’m 
12656r 
  Note: Hole in page; text unaffected.
12756vWestm’ p’m 
12857r 
12957vWestm’ p’m 
13058r 
13158vWestm’ p’m 
13259r 
13359vStatute of Westminster III, 18 Edw. 1. (S.R. 1:106)Westm’ p’m 
  Heading: Expliciunt prima statuta Westm’.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘Q’.
13460r 
13560vStatute of Merchants, 13 Edw. 1. (S.R. 1:98–100) 
  Heading: explicit tercium statutum W. de mediis.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘P’.
13661r 
13761v 
13862r 
13962v 
  Note: Carryover indicating quire break.
14063rde marchauntz 
14163vmarchauntz 
14264r 
14364vmarchaunz 
14465rSample writ under the statute of Merchants. (S.R. 1:100 n. a) 
  Heading: Breve de remedio in hoc casu.
  Note: (1) Pencilled note by George Dunn gives the year as 1296. (2) The writ tracks for the most part the text given in S.R., except that the defendant is named Ralph de Drayton and the writ is dated in year 25 (1296–7), rather than 13 (1285).
14565v 
  Note: Note by George Dunn on the quiring. See the Introduction.
14666rStatute of Westminster III, 18 Edw. 1. (S.R. 1:106) 
  Note: Decorated initial ‘Q’.
14766vmediis [cut off] 
14867rStatute of Waste, 20 Edw. 1. (S.R. 1:109–10) 
  Heading: explic’ stat’ de mediis.
14967vDe vasto 
15068r 
15168vDe vasto 
15269rStatute of York, 12 Edw. 2. (S.R. 1:177–9) 
  Heading: explic’ stat’ de vasto sequntur statuta Ebor’.
  Note: (1) No decorated initial capital. The scribe has added a ‘p’ where it ought to go. (2) Note by George Dunn with year.
15369vEbor’ 
15470rEbor’ 
15570vEbor’ 
15671rEbor’ 
15771vEbor’ 
15872rEbor’ 
15972vEbor’ 
16073rStatute of Gloucester, 6 Edw. 1. (S.R. 1:45–50)Ebor’ 
  Heading: Expliciunt statuta Ebor’ Statutum Glouc’.
  Note: No decorated initial capital. The scribe has added a ‘p’ where it ought to go.
16173v 
  Note: The text of the statute cuts off in mid-sentence in the middle of c. 1 (S.R. numbering) of the statute.
16274rStatute of Westminster II, 13 Edw. 1. (S.R. 1:71–95) 
  Note: Decorated initial ‘C’.
16374vWestm’ 
16475rsc’dm 
16575vWestm’ 
16676rsc’dm 
16776vWestm’ 
16877rsc’dm 
16977vWestm’ 
17078rsc’dm 
17178vWestm’ 
17279rsc’dm 
17379vWestm’ 
17480rsc’dm 
17580vWestm’ 
17681rsc’dm 
17781vWestm’ 
17882rsc’dm 
17982vWestm’ 
18083rsc’dm 
18183vWestm’ 
18284rsc’dm 
18384vWestm’ 
18485rsc’dm 
18585vWestm’ 
  Note: Carryover indicating quire break.
18686rsc’dm 
18786vWestm’ 
18887rsc’dm 
18987vWestm’ 
19088rsc’dm 
19188vWestm’ 
19289rsc’dm 
19389vWestm’ 
19490rsc’dm 
19590vWestm’ 
19691rsc’dm 
19791vWestm’ 
19892rsc’dm 
19992vWestm’ 
20093rsc’dm 
20193vWestm’ 
20294rsc’dm 
20394vWestm’ 
20495rsc’dm 
20595vWestm’ 
20696r 
20796vWestm’ 
20897rsc’dm 
20997vWestm’ 
  Note: Carryover indicating quire break.
21098rsc’dm 
21198vWestm’ 
21299rsc’dm 
21399vWestm’ 
214100rsc’dm 
215100vWestm’ 
216101rsc’dm 
217101vWestm’ 
218102rsc’dm 
219102vWestm’ 
220103rsc’dm 
221103vWestm’ 
222104rsc’dm 
223104vWestm’ 
224105rsc’dm 
225105vWestm’ 
226106rsc’dm 
227106vWestm’ 
228107rsc’dm 
229107vWestm’ 
230108rsc’dm 
231108vWestm’ 
232109rsc’dm 
233109vWestm’ 
  Note: Carryover indicating quire break.
234110r 
235110vWestm’ [cut off] 
236111r 
  Heading: Explic’ stat’ Westm’ s’c’d’.
237111v‘Statutes of the Exchequer’, temp. incert. (S.R. 1:197 [semel] – [ter]) 
  Heading: Incip’ stat’ sc’carii.
  Note: Decorated initial ‘L’.
238112r 
239112vde sc’cario 
240113r 
241113vde sc’cario 
242114r 
243114vde sc’cario 
244115r 
245115v 
246116r 
247116vde sc’cario 
248117r 
249117vde sc’cario 
250118rDies communes in banco, temp. incert. (S.R. 1:208) 
  Heading: Explic’ stat’ sc’carii.
  Note: (1) No decorated initial capital. The scribe has added an ‘s’ where it ought to go. (2) Added without heading and in a different hand (though not neccessarily later), this item has all the hallmarks of an afterthought.
251118v 
252no fol., no sig.Blank 
253no fol., no sig.Blank 
254no fol., no sig.Blank 
255no fol., no sig.Blank 
256no fol., no sig.From the Library of George Dunn, Gift of the Alumni of the Harvard Law School 
  Note: This folio is tipped in, probably from the manuscript before it was rebound.
257no fol., no sig.Blank 
258no fol., no sig.Blank 
259no fol., no sig.Blank 
260no fol., no sig.Blank 
261no fol., no sig.Blank 
262no fol., no sig.Inside back cover, with bookplate, From the Library of George Dunn of Woodley Hall Near Maidenhead 
263no fol., no sig.Back cover 
264Binder’s waste: original spine cover 
265Binder’s waste: original front cover 
266Binder’s waste: original inside front cover 
  Note: With note ‘Statuta Anglie (c. 1296.)’.