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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. a573

Guillelmus de Drogheda



Alternative Names

William of Drogheda; Wilhelm von Drogheda; Guillaume de Drogheda; Wilhelmus de Drokeda



An English canonist and civilian, perhaps from Hampshire. Most likely studied law in Oxford, where he then taught from the late 1230s until his murder in 1245. Received orders and is known to have received the benefice of Grafton in 1242. His Summa Aurea (c.1239), either incomplete or in large part lost (we have one part of the declared six), provided the necessary civilian knowledge for canonists in practice as proctors or on staff in English officialities (the ecclesiastical courts of bishops and archdeacons). The work was up-to-date, citing Azo’s Summae on Justinian’s Codex and Institutes and Roffredus Beneuentanus’ civilian Libelli (1227-35).



No. 1

Summa Aurea, c.1239.


Text(s) – Manuscripts

No. 1

Summa Aurea, c.1239.


Brugge, Stedelijke Bibl. 355 (= B)


Cambridge, Gonville & Caius Coll. 54/31 (= C)


Cambridge, Gonville & Caius Coll. 85/167 (= Ca; incomplete)


Città del Vaticano, BAV Pal. lat. 796 (= P)


Città del Vaticano, BAV Vat. lat. 2590 (= V; fragment)


Luxembourg, BN 13, fols. 18–144 (= L)


Tours, BM 607 (= T; destroyed in 1940)


Worcester, Cath. Libr. F 74 (= W; incomplete; earliest of the three English manuscripts)


Text(s) – Modern Editions

No. 1

Summa Aurea.

Modern Editions

Ed. L. Wahrmund in Die Summa Aurea des Wilhelmus de DrokedaQuellen zur Geschcihte des römisch-kanonischen Processes im Mittelalter, II.2 (Innsbruck 1914).



R. Maceratini, ‘La Summa Aurea di Wilhelmus de Drokeda: Una breve analisi secondo il diritto di difesa’, Annaeus. Anales de la Tradición Romanística (= Alfons Maria Stickler [1910–2007]. In memoriam.) J. Viejo-Ximénez ed., 7 (2010, appeared 2016) 131–144.

R.H. Helmholz, ‘William of Drogheda (c 1200–1245)’, Ecclesiastical Law Journal, 16 (London 2014) 66–71.

K. Pennington, ‘The Decretalists 1190–1234’, in The History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, 1140–1234: From Gratian to the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX, W. Hartmann and K. Pennington, ed. (History of Medieval Canon Law 6; Washington DC 2008) 245.

J. Sayers, ‘Drogheda, William of (1200x10?–1245)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online ed. (2008) http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29477.

J. Sayers, ‘William of Drogheda and the English Canonists’, in Proceedings Cambridge, P. Linehan, ed. (MIC C–8; Città del Vaticano 1988) 205–22.

H. G. Richardson, ‘Azo, Drogheda, and Braction’, EHR, 59 (1944) 22–48.

F. de Zulueta, ‘William of Drogheda’, in Mélanges de droit romain dédiées à Georges Cornil, vol. 2 (Paris 1926) 641–57.

F. Maitland, ‘William of Drogheda and the Universal Ordinary’, in Roman Canon Law in the Church of England: Six Essays, F. Maitland, ed. (London 1898) 100–131.