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English Medieval Legal Documents Database

A Compilation of Published Sources from 600 to 1535

Welcome to the English Medieval Legal Documents Database: A Compilation of Published Sources from 600 to 1535.  

This database was first compiled in 2008 by Hazel Lord, retired Senior Law Librarian-Head of Access Services at the University of Southern California School of Law.  It originally began as a wiki, where scholars could sign up and update it with new sources, however, due to technical problems with the wiki, in 2010 it was converted to a standard website.  After Hazel Lord's retirement in 2009, Paul Moorman, Senior Law Librarian-Research Services/Foreign & International Law, took charge of the database and in 2019 he updated the records with hyperlinks to relevant sources and migrated it to this LibGuides platform for longer term platform stability.   

This database covers the medieval period up to 1535. This date seemed a convenient cut off point, since that year marks the end of production of the year books. As can be seen in the outline, the material has been divided into broad categories, such as court records, statutory records, etc. Within these categories, wherever it seemed appropriate, the entries have been arranged first by material type, plea rolls, courts reports, calendars, etc., and then chronologically by regnal year. When the resource covers the reigns of several monarchs, or even the entire period, it is listed separately under each monarch. Titles are given in the language in which they appear on the title page of the volume, with an additional English title if the item has been translated. Some items are known by several variant titles, and these have been included wherever possible.

Emphasis in this guide has been placed on sources published since 1950. Only the most important titles from the exhaustive earlier bibliographies have been included here, in order to maintain the stand-alone usefulness of this present guide. References are made throughout the guide to the earlier bibliographies for those who wish to delve more deeply into the topic.

The publication of medieval source material has been fragmented over the years, relying to a large extent on the scholarly work of learned societies, such as the Selden Society, the Ames Foundation, and the Pipe Roll Society, and of numerous local historical societies, whose output can be of varying quality. E. L. C. Mullins, Texts and Calendars: An Analytical Guide to Serial Publications (1958-83) gives an excellent, if now dated guide to the texts and calendars of source materials issued by the many learned and local societies, as well as by various government entities. Many of these local societies and government agencies now have lists of their publications online and any additional links others can provide would be very useful.

We would like to express our appreciation to Daniel Klerman, Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, who first suggested this guide, and whose encouragement and advice made it possible.

This website is a resource of the USC Gould School of Law and the Asa V. Call Law Library.  Please contact Paul Moorman for suggestions or corrections.