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Bracton Online
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Image Description
Page from an original manuscript of Bracton.
Incipit of HLS MS 1, Bracton's De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae. Manuscript on vellum, written about 1300, probably at Worcester.

The outstanding common-law treatise of the Middle Ages, Bracton's De legibus is remarkable for its use of actual court decisions for illustrative purposes. It appears to have been written by a number of authors in the 1250's, with the last work being done on it by Henry de Bracton when he was a judge of the King's Bench.

Pictured above is an original manuscript owned by the Harvard Law School Library. There are approximately 49 surviving manuscripts of Bracton, many fragmentary or abridged. All date from the c14 or very late c13, and none is closer than third generation from the original.

The Harvard Law School Library copy, corrected and annotated in a contemporary hand, contains, in the margins, numerous citations to Devonshire cases during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307).

Contact: specialc@law.harvard.edu
Page last reviewed April 2003.
© 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College