Other Rare Books Collection Titles

Pre-1600 English Printings

Woodcut from title page
of the first edition in English
of Doctor and Student.
Printed by Robert Wyre.
London. 1530?
  • Magna Cart Cu[m] Alijs Antiquis Statutis, Q(u)orum Catalogum in Fine Operis Reperies or the Magna Carta, a scarce early printing by Thomas Berthelet of London, 1531.  This is a sixth edition in Latin and Law French and a reprint, with additions, of the edition printed by Richard Pynson in 1527.
  • Magna Carta.  The Great Charter called in latyn Magna Carta with divers olde statutes whose titles appere in the next leafe. Newly corrected [etc.].  Printed by Thomas Petyt in London, 1542.  Only this printing and those of 1534 and 1541 were in the vernacular.  This edition and that of 1541 expand upon the contents of the 1534 edition and arrange the statutes chronologically.
  • Magna Carta, Cum Statutisquae Antiqua Vocantur, Iam Recens Excusa, & Summa Fide Emendata, Iuxta Vetusta Exemplatia ad Partliamenti Rotulos Examinata: Quibus Accesserunt Nonnulla Nunc Primum Tuypis Edita. [And] Secunda Pars Veterum Statutorum.  Printed in 1556, London, by Richard Tottel.  A first edition by Tottel, the text is in Latin, English and Law French. This edition contains one of the earliest printings of the Magna Charta and includes the Charta de Foresta of Henry III, the Statutes of Merton and Marlebridge, and the Statutes of Edward I, which contain Edward’s notorious statutes regarding Jews, which condemned them for irreverence and prevented them from practicing usury or acquiring land from Christians through pledges. 
  • De Termino Michaelis. Anno. iii. Henrici vi.  Printed circa 1528 by Richarde Pynson, printer to the King.  This magnificent printing of the legal decisions during the reign of Henry VI is by Pynson, who became King Printer in 1508, and is the first English publishers of the Year Books, the law reports of the Middle Ages.  After Caxton, Pynson is the most important English printer and his books are marked by clarity of types and impression.
  • Dyaloge in Englysshe bytwyxt a Doctoure of Dyvynyte and a Student in the Lawes of Englande: of the groundes of the sayd Lawes and of Conscyence by Christopher St. Germain.  Printed in London in 1530 by Robert Wyer. This is a first edition of the first work on English equity.  Originally written in Latin in 1523, the work contains two dialogues between a doctor of divinity and a student of English law and popularized canonist learning on the nature and object of law, the religious and moral standards of law, the foundations of the common law, and other issues regarding the jurisdiction of Parliament. This very important work in the development of equity was still an authority well into the 18th century and influenced several writers such as Blackstone and Beale. (The collection also has the Newly Corrected and Imprinted with New Additions edition printed by Thomas Wright and Bonham Norton in 1598 which is an octavo.)
  • Eirenarcha: or of The Office of the Justices of Peace, in two Bookes: Gathered in 1579 and now reuised, and firste published, in the 24 years of the peaceable reigne of our gratious Queene Elizabeth [etc.] by William Lambard(e).  Printed in London, 1581, by Newbery and Bynnemann.  This title is a first edition, of some fifteen, of the most important and influential early work on English justices of the peace, described by Holdsworth as “complete and systematic [and] clearly arranged and comprehensive.” (The collection also contains a second edition by the same printers, published in 1582.)
  • Printer’s mark of Robert
    Wyre from Doctor and
    Student. London. 1530?
  • Englishing of the Statutes. In this volume are conteined the statutes made and established from the time of king Henry the thirde, unto the first yere of the reigne of our most gracious and victorious soveraigne lorde kyng Henry the viii.  Printed in London by Henry Wykes, 1564.  An uncommon edition of one of the two early renderings of the statutes of the realm into English, commencing with Magna Carta and playing a significant part in the “Englishing” of English law (long in Latin and Law French) during the Tudor reign.
  • The Duties of Constables, Borsholders, Tythingmen, And Such Other Lowe and Lay Ministers of the Peace.  Whereunto be Also Adioyned the Severall Offices of Church wardens. Of Distributors of the Provision for Noisome Foule and Vermin: Of the Collectors, Overseers, And Governours of the Poore: And of the Wardeins and Collectours for the Houses of Corrections. Now Enlarged by William Lambard(e) and printed by Ralfe Newberie in London, 1594.  This is a third enlarged edition which was first published in 1582.  Lambard, or Lambarde, was a barrister and legal historian who was the keeper of records at the Rolls Chapel and the Tower of London. (The collection also contains the fourth enlarged edition printed by Thomas Wright of London, 1599.)
  • Le Court Leete et Court Baron collect per Iohn Kitchin de Greies Innee…ouesque diuers nouel additions, come Court de Marshalsey, Auncient demesne, Court de Pipowders, Essoines, Imparlance…& diuers auter matters  by John Kitchin.  Published by Thomas W[r]ight and Bonhami Norton, London, 1598.  This is a last sixteenth centry edition of a work which, together with Lambarde’s Eirenarcha, remains essential to the understanding of Tudor local courts and government, treating of both civil and criminal matters.  Volume includes Kitchin’s lengthy commentary.
  • A Briefe Treatise of Testaments and Last Willes, Very Profitable to be Understoode of All the Subjects of This Realme of England, (Desirous to Know, Whether, Whereof, And how, They May Make Their Testaments: And by What Meanes the Same May be Effected or Hindered,) And no Lesse Delightfull, Aswell for the Rareness of the Wroke, As for the Easines of the Stile, And Method: Compiled of such Lawes Ecclesiasticall and Civill, As be not Repugnant to the Lawes, Customes, Or Statutes of this Realme, Nor Derogatorie to the Prerogative Royall… by Henry Swinburne [1560?-1623].  Printed by John Windet, 1590, London. This is a first edition of the first standard treatise on wills.  From the 16th until well into the 17th century Swinburne’s was the standard treatise on the law as it pertained to wills and executors as administered in the ecclesiastical courts.
  • Anno XXIIII, Henrici VIII. Actis made in the Session of this present parliament, holden upon prorogation at Westmynster…in the xxiii yere of the reign of…Kynge Henry the VIII [1533] [etc.].  Published by Thomas Berthelet, London, 1546.  This book is about the Parliament in which the first great step was taken to extinguish papal jurisdiction and power in England, ensuring that Henry’s divorce would be determined by Cranmer’s archiepiscopal court, and leading to Henry’s supremacy in the English Church.
  • Henry the Eyght by the Grace of God Kynge of Englande…beganne this thirde Session of his…parliament at Westminster, the XIIII daye of Januarye, in the fiue and thirty yere of his…reigne [1544] [etc.].  Printed by Thomas Marsh, London, around 1575. This rare, last early issuance of Henry VIII’s penultimate Parliament, establishing the succession to the throne of Mary and then Elizabeth and clarifying and expanding the power of the jury, particularly in cases of foreign treason.  Four known copies in existence. 
  • Les Commentaries, Ou Reportes…de diuers cases esteant matters en ley, & de les Arguments sur yceux [etc.][bound with] La Second Part de les Reports, ou, Commentaries[etc.] by Edmund Plowden.  Published by Thomas W[r]ight, London, 1599, part I, and by Carol Yetsweirt in 1594 for part II.  These two parts are the last 16th century editions of both parts of Plowden’s Commentaries, the reports marking the break with the Year Books and providing, according to Dr. Baker, “the conception of a law report as a reasoned exposition of the law, with learned gloss.” 

Use of materials in the Archives is by appointment only. Contact Frederick Chan at 314-935-6415 or by e-mail at fchan@wulaw.wustl.edu.