The Formation of English Common Law provides a comprehensive overview of the development of early English law, one of the classic subjects of medieval history. This much expanded second edition spans the centuries from King Alfred to Magna Carta, abandoning the traditional but restrictive break at the Norman Conquest. Within a strong interpretative framework, it also integrates legal developments with wider changes in the thought, society, and politics of the time.
Rather than simply tracing elements of the common law back to their Anglo-Saxon, Norman or other origins, John Hudson examines and analyses the emergence of the common law from the interaction of various elements that developed over time, such as the powerful royal government inherited from Anglo-Saxon England and land holding customs arising from the Norman Conquest.
Containing a new chapter charting the Anglo-Saxon period, as well as a fully revised Further Reading section, this new edition is an authoritative yet highly accessible introduction to the formation of the English common law and is ideal for students of history and law.
'John Hudson's The Formation of the English Common Law has been the essential and introductory guide to its topic for over twenty years, and has been of real service to students for its breadth of coverage and intelligent commentary. The new and updated edition extends its scope through the integration of research published since the first edition, which will only increase its usefulness to students.'
Nicholas Karn, University of Southampton, UK
'Hudson’s superb update of his thoughtful and engaging book The Formation of the English Common Law makes it an even more useful teaching text, but also contributes significantly to our understanding of the continuity of English law. Without overgeneralization or simplification, Hudson brings to life the intricate context of various local and royal jurisdictions, shifting the focus of study to include the impact of the law on the lives of individual people.'
Arlene Sindelar, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Editor’s Preface to First Edition
Author’s Preface to First Edition
Author’s Preface to Second Edition
CHAPTER 1 Introduction
The concept of law
The functions of law
Disputing and negotiating
English common law
The formation of the English common law
CHAPTER 2 The Court Framework in Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman England
The king’s court
Local and itinerant justices
CHAPTER 3 Violence and Theft in Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman England
Offences, offenders, and motives
Prevention and police
Punishment and compensation
CHAPTER 4 Law and Land-holding in Anglo-Saxon England
Æscwynn of Stonea, Ogga of Mildenhall, Wulfstan of Dalham and their gifts to the church of Ely
The forms of land
Land, lordship, and law
The customary framework
CHAPTER 5 Law and Land-holding in Anglo-Norman England
Land, lordship, and law
The forms of land-holding
The customary framework: control of land held in fee
Anglo-Norman land law and common law property
CHAPTER 6 Angevin Reform
Kingship, Stephen’s reign, and Angevin reform
The stages and nature of reform
Henry II and reform
The administrator’s mentality
CHAPTER 7 Crime and the Angevin Reforms
The continuation of traditional methods
Presentment and the extension of royal authority
The limits of royal authority
CHAPTER 8 Law and Land-holding in Angevin England
Abbot Samson of Bury St Edmunds
The impact of change
CHAPTER 9 Magna Carta and the Formation of the English Common Law
King John and the administration of justice
Law and legal expertise
The common law
Note on sources
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