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Report No. a586

Walter de Coutances



Alternative Names

Walter of Coutances; Walter von Coutances; Magister Walter; Maître Walter; Walter of Rouen



Identified by Peter Landau as the ‘Magister Walter’ studied by André Gouron. Worked in the service of King Henry II, bishop of Lincoln (1182-1184), where he probably oversaw the compilation of the Appendix Lateranensis III, and was promoted to archbishop of Rouen and remained in that position until his death in 1207. His move to Rouen is probably responsible for the influence of the Appendix on the continent, and he most likely oversaw other canonical work in his diocese, chief among it the decretal collection now preserved in BNF lat. 3922A.



No. 1

Tractaturi, post 1165. First part, or Part A, of a set of texts of the ordines iudiciorum; attributed to Magister Walter by Gouron; completed shortly after 1160.

No. 2

Glossae super Decretum, ante 1180. Referred to as the ‘W–Glossen’ by Weigand. Weigand believed his Magister W. had to be Bolognese, but Gouron found similarites between the W.-glosses and the Tractaturi ascribed to ‘Waltherus’.

No. 3

Perpendiculum, 1173–77. Gouron believed his Magister W. or a close student was responsible for this procedural tract. Contains many similarities with Weigand’s W.–Glossen.

No. 4

Notabilia ‘Argumentum quod religiosi’, 1173–77. Ascribed to a Walter and believed by Kuttner and Gouron to be written by same author as Perpendiculum.

No. 5

Glosses on the Ordo ‘Ulpianus de edendo’.


Text(s) – Manuscripts

No. 1

Tractaturi, post 1165.


Göttweig, Stiftsbibl. 100 (38), fols. 87r–136r (folio references also include Part B De actionibus)


Oxford, Bodleian Libr. Bodl. 514, fols. 72r–87vb (folio references also include Part B De actionibus)


Sankt Florian, Stiftsbibl. XI 346, fols. 91r–130v (folio references also include Part B De actionibus)


Wien, ÖNB 2221, fols. 2v–39r (folio references also include Part B De actionibus)

No. 3

Perpendiculum, 1173–77.


München, BSB lat. 28175


New York, N.Y., Morgan Libr. 446


Città del Vaticano, BAV Borgh. lat. 287 (several W-Glosses in modified form)

No. 4

Notabilia ‘Argumentum quod religiosi’, 1173–77.




Cambridge, Pembroke Coll. 101

No. 5

Glosses on the Ordo ‘Ulpianus de edendo’.


London, BL Royal 10 B IV


London, BL Harley 3834


Text(s) – Modern Editions

No. 1


Modern Editions

Incerti Auctoris Ordo Iudiciarius, Pars Summae Legum et Tractatus de Praescriptione, ed. C. Gross (Innsbruck 1870).

No. 5

Glosses on the Ordo ‘Ulpianus de edendo’.

Modern Editions

Incerti auctoris Ordo Iudiciorum (Ulpianus de edendo), ed. G. Haenel (Leipzig 1838; repr. Charleston, SC 2012) (reprint by Nabu Press).



C. Duggan, ‘Decretal Collections from Gratian’s Decretum to the Compilationes antiquae: The Making of the New Case Law’, 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) 283.

P. Landau, ‘Walter von Coutances und die Anfänge der anglo-normannischen Rechtswissenschaft’, in ‘Panta rei’: Studi dedicati a Manlio Bellomo, O. Condorelli, ed. (Roma 2004) 3.183–204.

R. Turner, ‘Coutances, Walter de (d.1207)’, in Dictionary of National Biography (2004) doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/6467.

A. Gouron, ‘Une école de canonistes anglais à Paris: Maître Walter et ses disciples (vers 1170)’, Journal des Savants (2000) 47–72.

R. Weigand, ‘W.-Glossen zum Dekret Gratians’, in Ministerium iustitiae: Festschrift für Heribert Heinemann zur Vollendung des 60. Lebensjahr, A. Gabriels, ed. (Essen 1986) 151–59.

L. Fowler-Magerl, Ordo iudiciorum vel ordo iudiciarius: Begriff und Literaturgattung (Ius commune: Sonderhefte 19; Frankfurt am Main 1984) 58–64.

N. Vilain, ‘Prescription et bonne foi du Décret de Gratien (1140) à Jean d’André († 1348)’, Traditio, 14 (1958) 127, 147–48.

S. Kuttner, Repertorium 236, 241–42.

J. von Schulte, ‘Über die Summa legum des Codex Gottwicensis Nr. 38’, SB Wien, 57 (1868) 433–60.