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English Medieval Legal Documents Database

A Compilation of Published Sources from 600 to 1535

Early English Treatises

"At a very early period in the history of our law, men began to make compendia of different parts of the law of procedure, and to attempt some systematic exposition of the law. But the books of practice at first decidedly predominated over the text-books, or perhaps it would be better to say that such exposition that existed was often appended to the matter in the books of practice. Even when we get institutional works like Glanvill and Bracton, there is a heavy percentage in them of legal forms." (Winfield, Percy H. The Chief Sources of English Legal History, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925 at p.252)

Early legal treatises have been divided here into those providing primarily an analysis of the law, and those that fall more into the category of practice guides, or handbooks of procedure and pleading: