Life and Law in Early Modern England - Keeping a Court Leete

Jonas Adames. The order of keeping a court leete, and court baron (London, 1593). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the John A. Hoober Fund.

As early as the thirteenth century, sheriffs and stewards could turn to a series of manuscripts that explained the procedures of local courts. While legal treatises by figures such as Bracton and Glanvill offered larger discussions of the common law, these smaller treatises were focused on practical matters. Following the invention of the printing press, the ease with which these guides were distributed helped standardize judicial institutions across the country. Adames’s 1593 guide is the earliest of such manuals to appear in English instead of Latin. His guide reflected changes to the judicial system under the Tudors, explaining details of both common law and statutory law.

    – Justin Zaremby

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

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