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Anglo Saxon Legislation in United Kingdom

Anglo Saxon Statutes

For information about this topic, please read the entry, in this legal Encyclopedia, about: Anglo Saxon Statutes

Anglo Saxon Legislation and Medieval Law

Anglo Saxon Legislation and Legal History

Legal Materials

(Compiled by the University of South Caroline Gould School of Law) Liebermann, Felix, ed. Consiliatio Cnuti. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1893.

Notes: Also available online at http://name.umdl.umich.edu.libproxy.usc.edu/AGY1099 (accessed June 7, 2007) and in The Making of Modern Law (subscription database)Abstract: Incorporated in Liebermann’s Gesetze. A glossed translation of Cnut’s laws made in south England about 1110-1130, probably by a cleric of French birth.

—, ed. Die Gesetze Der Angelsachsen. 3 Vols. in 4. Halle: M.Niemeyer, 1903-1916.

Abstract: Text in Anglo-Saxon, Latin, or German. Vol. 1 contains in columnal form the variant Anglo-Saxon texts, the Latin texts, and a German translation of all the known laws issued in a king’s name as well as Anglo-Saxon laws lacking a king’s name. In addition to the Anglo-Saxonperiod, it includes the laws of William I (Leis Willelme), Edward the Confessor (Leges Eadwardi Confessoris),and Henry I (Leges Henrici Primi) as well as Latin law books of the first half of the twelfth century. Vol. 2 provides a dictionary and detailed glossary. Vol. 3 presents an introduction and commentary to each text printed in v.1 Excellent source for the history of the texts and their relationship with one another, as well as for the terminology of the laws and Anglo-Saxon legal antiquities in general. Portions of this source have been reprinted in Rightmire, The Law of England at the Norman Conquest. (1932)

__, ed. Hic Intimatur. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1893.

Abstract: Incorporated in Liebermann’s Gesetze. Sometimes called “Laws of William the Conqueror” these ten articles are almost certainly not the Conqueror’s legislation. Also published in Stubbs, Charters and English Historical Documents, vol. 2.

—, ed. Instituta Cnuti. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1893.

Abstract: Incorporated in Liebermann’s Gesetze. A translation into Latin of Cnut’s laws.

__, ed. Leges Willelmi Conquestoris. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1903.

Notes: Original manuscripts found in both Latin and Old French. The first section, which professes to contain the laws observed in the time of Edward the Confessor and newly promulgated by the Conqueror, is made up largely of Anglo-Saxon dooms by a compiler who knew some Roman law. Incorporated in Liebermann’s Gesetze.

—, ed. Quadripartitus, Ein Englisches Rechtsbuch Von 1114, Nachgewiesen Und, Soweit Bisher Ungedruckt . Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1892.

Notes: Liebermann’s commentary also available online in The Making of Modern Law (subscription database)Abstract: Compiled apparently between, AD 1113 and 1118, it assembled the largest extant set of pre-conquest legal materials. Intended to be in four parts, only the first two Anglo-Saxon laws. The laws relate mainly to crime, the wergilds and the enforcement of existing regulations. They are not designed to be complete codifications of law. Part 2 opens with the coronation charter of Henry I, and consists of some important state papers of the writer’s own time. Incorporated in Liebermann’s Gesetze.

—, ed. U??Ber Die Leges Anglorum Saeculo XIII Ineunte Londoniis Collectae. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1894.

Notes: Also available online in The Making of Modern Law (subscription database)Abstract: Text in German. A large collection of laws compiled by a citizen of London in the latter part of John’s reign. It comprises extracts from part i of the Quadripartitus (i.e. many dooms of Ine, Alfred, Athelstan, and Cnut), portions of Articuli Willelmi and of the Leges Edwardi Confessoris, together with many of the compiler’s own inventions. He seems to have been a layman in favor of the baronial movement against John.

Oliver, Lisi, ed. The Beginnings of English Law. Toronto Medieval Texts and Translations, 14. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.


Abstract: Includes the text and translations of the laws of Aethelberht, Hlophere & Eadric, and Wihtred. Includes a list of previous editions and translations of the Kentish Laws.

Richardson, Henry G., and George O. Sayles. Law and Legislation From Aethelberht to Magna Carta . Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1966.

Abstract: Appendix contains the parallel texts from the fourth section of the Leges Willelmi, the Instituta Cnuti, and the Quadripartitus.

Rightmire, George W., ed. The Law of England at the Norman Conquest. Columbus, OH: F. J. Heer, 1932.

Abstract: Contains the laws of William the Conqueror, with Latin and English texts and index on pp. 59-95, and certain fragments from Liebermann’s Gesetze der Angelsachsen in English on pp. 155-180.

Robertson, Agnes J., ed. and trans. Laws of the Kings of England from Edmund to Henry I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Abstract: A sequal to Attenborough’s Laws of the earliest English kings. Text in Anglo-Saxon and Latin, with English translation. Contains a detailed index to the laws. Contents: The laws of Edmund and Elgar; Promissio regis; The laws of Aethelred; The laws of Canute; The laws of William I and Henry I.

Schmid, Reinhold, ed. Die Gesetze Der Angelsachsen. In Der Ursprache Mit U??Bersetzung, Erla??Uterungen Und Einem Antiquarischen Glossar . 2nd ed. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1858.

Abstract: Contains an excellent introduction on the history of the sources and a valuable glossary. Text of the laws is translated into German.

Spelman, Henry, ed. Concilia, Decreta, Leges, Constitutiones, in Re Ecclesiarum Orbis Brittanici … 3 Vols. London: Typis R. Badger, Impensis Ph. Stephani, & Ch. Meredith, 1639.

Abstract: Text in Latin. Latin translation of Aethelberht’s laws dealing with the church, as well as the first two pertaining to the king, 127-8.

Bibliographies of English Law History

  • Maxwell, William H. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Volume 1: English Law to 1800. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1955-
  • Beale, Joseph H. A Bibliography of Early English Law Books. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926.
  • Winfield, Percy H. The Chief Sources of English Legal History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925.


See Also

  • Family Settlements (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Law Making (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Nuisance (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Law Making (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Usurpation (in this legal Encyclopedia)

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  • Article Name: Anglo Saxon Legislation
  • Author: David Gordon
  • Description: Anglo Saxon Statutes For information about this topic, please read the entry, in this legal Encyclopedia, about: Anglo [...]

This entry was last updated: January 26, 2017


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