Treasures of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library: Manuscripts

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Statutes...
England. 12-14th century.
Statutes. Click to enlarge.

An unusual manuscript in terms of its survival as the book was a working copy. This small volume of 339 leaves contains all the statute law for England for its period and was probably carried around the circuit court by the clerk as his major source of reference.

It is likely that the manuscript was passed down through a number of hands as at least nine separate handwritings can be identified. The book eventually came to be located at the Priory of Butley in Suffolk. It came to the University in 1870, probably from Sir Charles Nicholson, and for over 100 years it was kept in the Nicholson Museum.

The statutes themselves start on the 8th leaf with Magna Carta; then comes the Carta de Foresta of Edward III (13v). In all, a total of 71 statutes, or laws, are included in the volume.

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