Front Page Titles (by Subject) 24.: WILLIAM SEARLE HOLDSWORTH, THE YEAR BOOKS 1 - Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, vol. 2
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24.: WILLIAM SEARLE HOLDSWORTH, THE YEAR BOOKS 1 - Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, vol. 2 
Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, by various authors, compiled and edited by a committee of the Association of American Law Schools, in three volumes (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1908). Vol. 2.
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THE YEAR BOOKS1
THE Year Books are the Law Reports of the Middle Ages, written by lawyers for lawyers. From the reign of Edward I to the reign of Richard III they stretch in a series which is almost continuous. In the reigns of Henry VII and VIII they become more and more intermittent; and the last printed Year Book is of the Trinity term 27 Henry VIII. During the terms and years of these centuries they give us an account of the doings of the King’s Courts which are either compiled by eye-witnesses or from the narratives of eye-witnesses. They are the precursors of those vast libraries of reports which accumulate wherever the common law, or any legal system which has come under its influence, is studied and applied. If we except the plea rolls they are the only first-hand account we possess of the legal doctrines laid down by the judges of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, who, building upon the foundations which had been laid by Glanvil and Bracton, constructed the unique fabric of the mediaeval common law. Because they are contemporary reports they are of the utmost value, not only to the legal historian, but also to the historian of any and every side of English life. Just as the common law is a peculiarly English possession, so these reports of the doings of the Courts which constructed this common law are a peculiarly English source of mediaeval history. No other nation has any historical material in any way like them. Yet, until well on into the last century, they existed only in black letter books, published in the seventeenth century, and printed in contracted law French so carelessly as to be in many instances unintelligible; and the greater part of them are still in this condition. No one had cared to study the manuscripts upon which these printed books were based; and the tale told by tradition as to their origin was accepted without question and without verification. For about the last forty years their unique historical importance has been gradually arousing some interest in them. The work done upon them by the late Mr. Horwood and by Mr. Pike for the Rolls Series, and, above all, the work done upon them by Professor Maitland for the Selden Society, has taught us much of their origin, of the language in which they are written, and of their meaning and importance in the history of England and of English law. It is proposed in this paper to say something of the results which have been reached in ascertaining the position which the Year Books hold among the sources of English legal history, and to indicate the manner in which they illustrate certain aspects of the development of English law.
We shall consider (1) the manuscripts and printed editions of the Year Books, (2) the origin and characteristics of the Year Books, and (3) the Year Books and the development of English law.
The manuscripts and printed editions of the Year Books
Until the publication of some of the unpublished Year Books in the Rolls Series practically no attention at all had been paid to the MSS. of the Year Books. The legal profession and even the legal historians never went beyond the printed books, or the Abridgements which had been published in the sixteenth century. No doubt many of these MSS. are lost, superseded by the printed page.1 Like the works of the lawyers who lived before the age of Justinian they became useless and disappeared. But when in the last half of last century the work of editing the Year Books began again it appeared that many still survived.
Mr. Horwood, describing a large MS. in the Cambridge University library, from which he took the text of the Year Book 20 & 21 Edward I, tells us that, besides the reports of those years, “there is a large body of cases illustrative of pleadings in various writs, and nearly forty consecutive folios (370-409) of cases which, from the names of the judges, must have occurred in or before 18 Edward I” (1290).1 Fitzherbert also used for his Abridgements not only Bracton’s Note Book, but also reports which came from 12 & 13 Edward I (1284-5), as well as a number of undated cases of the time of Edward I.2 Professor Maitland says that there are numerous cases which come from a period before the dismissal of the judges in 1289; “and,” he says, “we may add that one of our manuscripts contains a few cases which, unless we are much mistaken, belong rather to the seventies than to the eighties of the thirteenth century: cases decided by men who were on the bench in Henry III’s day, and who must have known Bracton.”3 Some of these MSS. give very concise notes of cases. They are rather head notes than reports.4 Altogether the number of MSS. containing reports of cases of the reign of Edward II and earlier which have come before Professor Maitland is thirteen;5 they all present striking differences from each other.6 “We are tempted,” he says, “to say that whereas an investigator of manuscript literature can generally assume that every codex has only one parent, the ordinary laws of procreation hold good among these legal volumes, and that each of them has had two parents—two if not more. We could not explain this intimacy, were it not that we have before us the work of men who live in close fellowship with each other.”7 The number of MSS. which Mr. Pike has used is smaller; but here again the differences between the MSS. are very considerable, and no one MS. can be considered as preëminent.1 The marginal notes which their owners have fixed to them show that they have been extensively used.2
Until we get a modern edition of the whole of the Year Books it is impossible to say much of the MSS. of later years. Perhaps these MSS. will tell us something of the mode in which the later reports were made, and the manner in which they were circulated among the members of the legal profession—matters about which we are still very ignorant. For the present we have only the old printed editions, in which the whole of the reign of Richard II and some of the years of Henry V and VI’s reigns are omitted;3 and the new printed editions of some of the years of the three Edwards, published in the Rolls Series and by the Selden Society. Of these printed editions, old and new, we must now say something.
It was not till seven or eight years after the introduction of printing into England that the Year Books began to get into print;4 and it was only gradually and by degrees that some of the many existing MSS. attained to this dignity. From the end of the seventeenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century no new MSS. were printed.
Probably the earliest printer of Year Books was William de Machlinia (1481 or 1482). He is thought to have printed Y. B. 30-37 Henry VI, and possibly Y. B. 20 Henry VI. Pynson (1493-1528) was their earliest systematic publisher. Fifty editions certainly, and perhaps five more, bear his name. Sixteen others are also attributed to him. His editions published between 1510 and 1520 cover 40-50 Edward III, most of the years of Henry VI and Edward IV, and the almost contemporary years of 9 & 12 Henry VII and 14 Henry VIII. Rastell, Redman, Thomas Berthelet, William Myddelton, Henry Smyth, and William Powell were their chief publishers during the first half of the sixteenth century.1 They published them in separate years separately folioed and dated. At most two were bound together. The booksellers or the lawyers bound these parts together in chronological order.2
In 1553 Richard Tottell began his publications of the Year Books. During the thirty-eight years of his activity he succeeded in driving out all his rivals. “There are,” says Mr. Soule, “about 225 known editions of separate years or groups of years which bear his imprint or can be surely attributed to his press.” Early in his publishing career Tottell began to publish the separate years in groups. Thus in 1553 he printed the years 1-14 Henry IV as one book; so, in 1555 he printed the years 1-21 Henry VII, in 1556 the years 40-50 Edward II, in 1562 the years 1-10 Edward III, and in 1563 the years of Henry V.3
From 1587 to 1638 onwards the Year Books were published in parts; and these parts are known as the quarto edition—though really they consisted of small folio volumes. The parts were published as follows:—
Thus it is only in the first part of this so-called “Quarto” edition that the original plan of publication in separate years survives.
Between 1638 and 1679 there was a cessation in the publication of the Year Books. They grew so scarce that in 1678 a complete collection was said to have been sold for £40.1 In 1679 there appeared the standard edition of the Year Books. It consists of eleven parts, the first only of which is new. The first part purports to be the Year Books of Edward I and II’s reign, “selonq les ancient Manuscripts ore remanent en les Maines de Sir Jehan Maynard Chevalier Serjeant de la ley.” It consists of Memoranda in Scaccario only of 1-29 Edward I, and Year Books of 1-19 Edward II. The other ten parts are substantially a reprint of the quarto edition arranged chronologically. The edition is in large folio. Two sides of the leaf of the older edition are contained on one page—a letter B in the margin marking the reverse of the sheet.
This edition therefore for the most part simply reprints those of the Year Books which had been already collected by the industry of the law publishers of the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries. Neither the older editions nor the later show any signs of careful editing. In some cases, where two reports of the same case were found in different MSS., “the second report is dissociated from the first, and either made to appear as a report of a different case, or else labelled as a residuum or continuation.”1 It is true that Tottell takes credit to himself for having done something in the way of correction;2 and there are a few signs that in some cases more than one MS. has been consulted.3 The edition of 1679 also claims to be corrected and amended; but in the opinion of those most competent to judge this claim is not justified. Professor Maitland has collected crushing evidence of the carelessness with which it has been printed.4 He shows that the MS. which Maynard lent, and the table of matters which he furnished, have been so printed that it is almost impossible to make sense of the greater part of the cases. “Of mere, sheer nonsense those old black letter books are but too full.”5 And at the present day the books which served lawyers “steeped in the old learning of real actions” will not serve us, because “we have not earned the right to guess what a mediaeval law report ought to say.”6 Probably Maynard, whose life covered nearly the whole of the seventeenth century,7 was the last who had thus earned the right to guess what the report ought to have said. The other ten parts of the standard edition are not perhaps so bad as the first part. The printer had a printed text before him and not merely a MS.; but even so, Mr. Pike says that the earlier editions are preferable to the later editions. The truth is that the same causes which caused the Register of Writs to become an obsolete book caused the Year Books to become obsolete reports. A large, perhaps the largest, part of the cases reported turned upon the management of a system of procedure which had practically come, with the disuse of many of the older writs, to belong to the past; and the language in which these cases were reported gradually grew more and more unlike that which the lawyers used. What was valuable in the Year Books had passed into the printed Abridgements. For the new law there were modern reports written in modern style.
From 1679 to 1863 nothing was done for the Year Books. The Select Committee on Public Records reported in 1800 that the series of Year Books should be completed by publishing those hitherto unpublished, and by reprinting from more correct copies those which were already in print.1 This recommendation was not followed till 1863, when a series of unpublished Year Books of Edward I’s reign and one year of Edward III’s reign were edited for the Rolls Series by Mr. Horwood between the years 1863 and 1883. In 1885 Mr. Pike took up Mr. Horwood’s work upon the Year Books of Edward III’s reign. He was the first to begin the practice of collating the Year Books with the plea roll—the formal record of the case—and he thereby has shown us, “who have not earned the right to guess,” the way to verify.2 “The process,” says Mr. Pike, “of comparing a report with a record serves a double purpose. On the one hand it gives an authority to the text which would otherwise be wanting, it furnishes a means of deciding between conflicting MSS., and it affords a key to the correct translation of doubtful passages. On the other hand it supplies a ready mode of extracting, from a very valuable but extremely bulky and much neglected class of records, precisely that kind of information which is of the highest value and of the greatest interest. The Year Books are, in fact, to those who know how to use them, the most perfect guides to almost all that is important in the rolls.”1 It has been truly said that this step “will hereafter be regarded as an important advance in the study of English history.”2 Professor Maitland has followed Mr. Pike’s lead in the edition of the Year Books of Edward II’s reign which the Selden Society is publishing under his editorship. The excellence of the editing, the introductions and the notes will, if the series continue, go far to justify Professor Maitland’s assertion that “our formulary system as it stood and worked in the fourteenth century might be known so thoroughly that a modern lawyer who had studied it might give sound advice, even upon points of practice, to a hypothetical client.”3 But to understand the full force of this saying we must pass to our second section—the origin and characteristics of the Year Books.
The origin and characteristics of the Year Books
Till quite recent years it was believed that the Year Books, at all events the Year Books from Edward III’s reign down to Henry VII’s reign, were compiled by official reporters paid by the Crown. This belief, which was shared by Coke,4 Bacon,5 and Blackstone,6 ultimately rests upon some words used by Plowden in the preface to his reports. “As I have been credibly informed,” he says, “there were anciently four reporters of cases in our law who were chosen and appointed for that purpose, and had a yearly stipend from the King for their trouble therein; which persons used to confer together at the making and collecting of a report, and their report being made and settled by so many, and by men of such approved learning, carried great credit with it.” It is clear that Plowden’s statement rested merely upon report; and the statements of later authorities are merely amplifications of his words.
Sir Frederick Pollock has suggested to me that Plowden’s words do not necessarily refer to the Year Books at all. He thinks that they may refer simply to legends of good old days which never had any historical existence. Plowden is not, as Sir Frederick Pollock suggests, writing history: he is simply finding a rhetorical excuse for his shyness in publishing his own reports. If, in fact, any regular system of reporting by official reporters had been in force in the latest period of the Year Books he might well have known men who had personal knowledge of it; and surely both his praise of its merit and his regret for its discontinuance would have been more definite. Sir Frederick Pollock, therefore, inclines to the view that the tale of the official origin of the Year Books is pure fiction. Additional probability is lent to this view by the following passage which occurs later in Plowden’s preface:—
“And (in my humble Apprehension) these Reports [i. e. his own] excell any former Book of Reports in Point of Credit and Authority, for other Reports generally consist of the sudden sayings of the Judges upon Motions of the Serjeants and Counsellors at the Bar, whereas all the Cases here reported are upon Points of Law tried and debated upon Demurrers or special Verdicts, Copies whereof were delivered to the Judge, who studied and considered them, and for the most part argued in them, and after great and mature Deliberation gave Judgment thereupon, so that (in my opinion) these Reports carry with them the greatest Credit and Assurance.”
The reports to which Plowden considers his own to be superior cannot well be the same as those of the four men; for he evidently considered his own to be inferior to them. On the other hand these reports which he considered to be inferior to his own are very probably the Year Books. They answer to his description of these inferior reports; and they are in fact inferior to his own reports in exactly the points which he notes. If this suggestion be true the whole foundation for the belief in the official origin of the Year Books is destroyed. But however this may be, the three most recent editors of Year Books, Mr. Horwood,1 Mr. Pike,2 and Professor Maitland,3 are inclined, for the following reasons, to think that there is very little ground for the traditional belief—that it is certainly not true of the earliest Year Books, and probably not true of any. (1) We do not find any official record of the appointment of such reporters, nor are payments to them anywhere enrolled. (2) If the reports were made by royal officials we should expect to find official copies preserved for the use of the Court; but, says Professor Maitland, “so far as we are aware our manuscript Year Books always come to us from private hands.”4 (3) As we have seen, the MSS. are so markedly different from one another that it is difficult to suppose that they spring from one official original.5 (4) We shall see that the varied and picturesque nature of their contents forcibly suggest that they owe their origin to the enterprise of private members of the legal profession. Even the judges come in for their share of criticism; and in one case the reporter hints that the dissent of a judge from his brethren arose from the fact that he had just been raised to the bench, and had argued the case at the bar.6 That an official reporter should thus have imputed motives is almost inconceivable. In one early MS. there are notes of conversations between the writer and his friends or pupils.7 We naturally think of those associations of students living together in hostels from which sprang the Inns of Court. (5) Further probability is given to this view by the fact that “we see a most remarkable contempt for the non-scientific detail of litigation: especially for proper names. These very often are so violently perverted that we seem to have before us much rather the work of a man who jotted down mere initials in court, and afterwards tried to expand them, than the work of an official who had the faithful plea rolls under his eye.”1 The divergent versions of the same case which the manuscripts present to us make it probable that their authors were men writing for themselves, who not only simplified facts, but also expanded arguments, and even invented both facts and arguments.2 It is useful perhaps to remember that Plowden—one of the earliest of our modern reporters—called his reports commentaries. (6) At the end of Edward I’s reign there was no up-to-date textbook extant embodying the results of Edward I’s legislation. The only ways in which the student or the practitioner could learn modern law was by attending court, taking or borrowing notes, and discussion. For these reasons the weight of evidence is all against the old belief in the official origin of the Year Books. The earliest of them, Professor Maitland thinks, are “students’ notebooks.”3
In course of time the system of reporting gradually developed to meet the obvious needs of a legal profession engaged in administering a system of law, the principles of which depended almost entirely upon the practice of the Court. Just as books of precedents of writs and pleadings were necessary in order that the lawyer might present his case in proper form to the Court, so reports of decided cases were necessary if he was to know the principles which the Court would apply to decide the case. Indeed it is probable that it was only gradually that these books of precedents were differentiated from the law report.4 The book of precedents occasionally borrows from the Year Book;1 and the Year Book sometimes gives us extracts from the pleadings, and thus serves the purpose of a book of precedents. The two things came, however, to be entirely distinct. Broadly speaking, the book of precedents deals with the formal and the procedural side of legal practice, while the Year Book deals chiefly with the application of the principles which underlie, not only the procedural rules, but also the rules of substantive law. Thus for an intelligent understanding, an intelligent application of the precedents, the reports in the Year Books were essential; and perhaps to many practitioners this consideration was a greater incentive to the study of the Year Books than the fact that it was only through them that a knowledge of the principles of the law could be attained. “The spirit of the earliest Year Books,” says Professor Maitland, “will hardly be caught unless we perceive that instruction for pleaders rather than the authoritative fixation of points of substantive law was the primary object of the reporters.”2 But though the needs of the pleader may have been the paramount consideration in the minds of the earliest reporters, though such needs always continued to be an important consideration, it had been clear, since the days of Bracton, that without a knowledge of the doings of the Courts there could be no knowledge of English law. His treatise could not have been written if he had not had access to such information through the records which he had retained for a period.3 But records were valuable things. By a lucky chance perhaps a lawyer might get access to a few of them;4 but neither the mere apprentice, nor even the serjeant, could be sure of getting the constant access to a series of such documents which would be necessary if they were to be used for purposes of instruction or as aids to practice. Moreover much pleading took place, and much argument thereon, which never appeared on the roll; and this was often as interesting to lawyers as the matters which appeared there.1 The legal profession was obliged to supply its own peculiar wants for itself; and thus the report of the doings of the Court made by lawyers for lawyers arose.
We cannot give the exact date when to some lawyer “the happy thought”2 first came of noting down the proceedings of the Court. The earliest printed Year Book in the Rolls Series is of the year 1292; but there are, as we have seen, earlier manuscripts.3 Their writers, Professor Maitland thinks, are persons who are noting down the latest points for the use of themselves or their friends. They give no dates. Often they do not arrange their matter chronologically. Rather they distribute it under suitable heads after the manner of the writers of the later printed Abridgements. Thus, “it is only by degrees that the oldest law reports become ‘Year Books,’ and even when the purely chronological scheme has obtained the mastery, we may see that for a while the men who write the manuscripts or have the manuscripts written for them are by no means very careful about assigning the cases to the proper years and terms.”4 In later times the “chronological scheme” does obtain the mastery. No doubt as the years went on reporting became a more regular pursuit. Still it was an open pursuit.5 The Books of Assizes are reports in a style very different from that of the other Year Books of Edward III’s reign. They are more concise than the Year Books usually are, giving rather the gist of the argument and the decision than a report of the actual proceedings. The Longo Quinto represents a more elaborate effort of reporting than had yet been seen. Often it seems to be more impersonal, and to give the gist of several reports rather than the actual account of the eye-witness. No doubt, too, the reporters became more skilful, more professional as time went on; they allowed themselves fewer scattered notes, fewer personal details. The report of the case is the main thing; and the report grows fuller. Perhaps it may be allowable to conjecture that, with the growing organization of the legal profession, there grew up some sort of organized system of reporting. With the more frequent citation of cases in court, and the greater authority attached to them, the need for reports grew more pressing. We really have no positive evidence at all as to the conditions under which the Year Book was published to the profession. No doubt, as in later times, there was extensive borrowing, and hasty copying of borrowed materials as and when they could be got.1 It is, however, difficult to suppose that a profession so well organized as that of the law did not devise or encourage some sort of informal organization for the production of reports. It is perhaps more than a coincidence that the serjeant’s chief practice was in the Common Bench, and that the greater number of cases reported in the Year Books are common pleas. If there was some sort of organization for the production of reports, and if the legal profession exercised some control over it, we can easily see how the tale of their official origin arose. Such a tale would be the more readily believed by an age which had had time to forget the conditions which had prevailed before the introduction of printing. We sometimes speak of “the Law Reports” as official; but the historian of our age will search the national accounts in vain for information as to the sums paid to the reporters.
A reliance on cases was, as we have said, as old as Bracton; and we can see from the early Year Books that a considered decision was regarded as laying down a general rule for the future. “The judgment to be given by you,” said Herle in argument in 1304, “will be hereafter an authority in every quare non admisit in England.”1 This does not of course mean that all the cases to be found in the lawyer’s notebooks were regarded as authoritative.2 Still cases are cited even in the early Year Books.3 The judges when pressed by the authority of precedents were sometimes restive, as the following dialogue shows. “R. Thorpe. If it so seems to you, we are ready to say what is sufficient; and I think that you will do as others have done in the same case, or else we do not know what the law is. Hillary J. It is the will of the Justices. Stonore C. J. No; law is that which is right.”4 And in Edward III’s reign we see a more frequent citation of and reliance upon cases. In Henry VI’s and Edward IV’s reigns, if we make allowance for the differences between the manuscripts and the printed book, and the differences between the Year Book and the modern report, we see cases cited and distinguished much in the same way as they are cited and distinguished in modern times. This would seem to show that the later Year Books are something very much more than students’ notebooks. Just as the voluntary associations of students for the purposes of legal education won their way to the position of the Honourable Societies of the Inns of Court, so these students’ notebooks became those Reports which Burke called the sure foundation of English law, and the sure hold of the lives and property of all Englishmen.
The introduction of printing directly affected the accustomed modes of publishing the reports. Men would no longer pay large sums to obtain a MS. or to get the power to copy it, when they could buy a printed report, or an abridgement of the reports. A severe shock was therefore given to the production of the Year Books upon the old lines; and the severity of the shock was aggravated by the fact that the same extensive changes in law and practice which were diminishing the importance of the Register of Writs were rendering many of the old cases obsolete. Material changes in the law assisted the mechanical change in the mode of production. The Year Books, as we have seen, ceased to appear in Henry VIII’s reign. Perhaps some sanguine men considered that there were reports enough.1 But it soon became apparent that the professors and practitioners of a growing system of law, developed by the means of decided cases, could not dispense with reports. Dyer2 and Plowden begin the long list of modern reports.
For many years to come the printed Year Books were absolutely necessary to all students of the law; and the printed Abridgements of the Year Books were useful indices to the Year Books themselves, and gradually became the only authorities for the reigns and years which did not get into print.3 Just as the Year Books are the best indices to the records, so the Abridgements are our only index and guide to the Year Books.
Therefore before going on to speak of the characteristics of the Year Books we shall say something of these abridgments, by means of which the learning of the Year Books was made accessible to future generations of lawyers.
The three abridgments of the Year Books are written by Statham, Fitzherbert, and Broke. Statham’s4 name does not appear in the Year Books; but he was a reader of Lincoln’s Inn in the Lent term of 1471. His abridgment was printed by Pynson somewhere about the year 1495, under the title, Epitome Annalium Librorum Tempore Henrici Sexti. The title is misleading, seeing that the book includes extracts from the Year Books of preceding reigns up to and including the reign of Henry VI. Later editions were published in 1585 and 1679. Its popularity doubtless suffered from the more complete work of Fitzherbert.1 His work, Le Graunde Abridgment, was first printed in 1514. It is remarkable not only for its accuracy but also for its research. It contains extracts from many still unprinted Year Books, and also from Bracton’s Note Book.2 It was a model to future writers of Abridgments; and was extensively used by Staunforde for his treatise on the Prerogative, and by Bellew for his collection of reports of the years of Richard II’s reign. Its popularity is attested by the fact that it was reprinted in 1516, 1565, 1573, 1577 and 1586. The last of the famous abridgments of the Year Books is that of Broke.3 Broke filled the offices of common serjeant and recorder of London. He was Speaker of the House of Commons in 1554, and was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in the same year. He died in 1558; and his work was published posthumously in 1568. It is based on Fitzherbert’s Abridgment, but it contains much new matter. In particular it abridges fully the Year Books of Henry VII’s and VIII’s reign. “He observes,” says Reeves,4 “one method, which contributes in some degree to draw the cases to a point; he generally begins a title with some modern determination, in the reign of Henry VIII, as a kind of rule to guide the reader in his progress through the heap of ancient cases which follow.” The book was republished in 1570, 1573, 1576, and 1586.5
Broke’s abridgment is the last of the abridgments which deal wholly with the Year Books. Others followed and gradually superseded them, just as the more modern reports gradually superseded the Year Books.1 The later abridgments deal principally with these modern reports. It is not till quite recently that we have got an abridgment which attempts to epitomize under alphabetical headings the principles of the law, and not merely to catalogue the result of the cases.2
We must now turn to the characteristics of the Year Books.
There are many mediaeval records of various kinds which record contemporary events. There are no other mediaeval records except the Year Books which photograph the actual words, and actions, and idiosyncrasies of the actors as they were bringing these events to pass. When we read the official record we think of a machine, which automatically eliminates all the human dramatic element, and describes events and results in one impersonal, accurate, stereotyped form of words. When we read the Year Book we think of a human reporter, mainly interested it is true in law, but, for all that, keenly alive to the exciting incidents of the trial which is proceeding before his eyes—to judicial wit, and criticism, and temper, to the shifts and turns of counsel, to the skilful move or the bungling omission, even to the repartee and the exclamations which the heat of a hardly contested fight evoke. Though therefore the Year Books are valuable because they tell us much of the development of law, they are unique because they picture for us days in court in successive terms and years through these two centuries. Because they do this faithfully, not neglecting that human element which to-day is and to-morrow is not, they supply just that information which is omitted by those who record with mechanical correctness merely the serious business done. We see not only the things done; we see also the men at work doing them, the way these men did them, and how they came to be done in that particular way. It is for this reason that the Year Books are valuable documents not only to the historian of English law, but also to the historian of any part of English life. They create for us the personal element, the human atmosphere, which makes the things recorded in the impersonal record live again before our eyes.
There is a dramatic scene in Parliament in Edward I’s reign, related by Bereford C. J. in a style very different from that of any formal record:—
“In the time of the late King Edward a writ issued from the Chancery to the Sheriff of Northumberland to summon Isabel Countess of Albemarle to be at the next Parliament to answer the King ‘touching what should be objected against her.’ The lady came to the Parliament, and the King himself took his seat in the Parliament. And then she was arraigned by a Justice of full thirty articles. The lady, by her serjeant, prayed judgment of the writ, since the writ mentioned no certain article, and she was arraigned of divers articles. And there were two Justices ready to uphold the writ. Then said Sir Ralph Hengham to one of them: ‘Would you make such a judgment here as you made at the gaol delivery at C. when a receiver was hanged, and the principal [criminal] was afterwards acquitted before you yourself?’ And to the other Justice he said: ‘A man outlawed was hanged before you at N., and afterwards the King by his great grace granted that man’s heritage to his heir because such judgments were not according to the law of the land.’ And then Hengham said: ‘The law wills that no one be taken by surprise in the King’s Court. But, if you had your way, this lady would answer in court for what she has not been warned to answer by writ. Therefore she shall be warned by writ of the articles of which she is to answer, and this is the law of the land.’ Then arose the King, who was very wise, and said: ‘I have nothing to do with your disputations, but, God’s blood! you shall give me a good writ before you arise hence.’ ”1
The following dialogue between Roubury J. and the assise illustrates forcibly the relations between Judge and Jury:
“Roubury.—How do you say that he was next heir? The Assise.—For the reason that he was son and begotten of the same father and mother, and that his father on his deathbed acknowledged him to be his son and heir. Roubury.—You shall tell us in another way how he was next heir, or you shall remain shut up without eating or drinking until to-morrow morning. And then the Assise said that he was born before the solemnization of the marriage, but after the betrothal.”1
The reasonableness of the borough customs is not always apparent to the royal Judges. In answer to a plea of Parning, that the usage of Hereford was that a man could sell his land when he could measure an ell and count up to twelve pence, Schardelowe J. said, “the usage is contrary to law, for one person is twenty years old before he knows how to measure an ell, and another knows how when he is seven years old.”2 We get a glimpse at the actual working of the common field system in the following answer to a plea which set up common as a defence to an action of trespass:—
“Whereas they have said that this field should lie fallow every third year, and has always done so, Sir, we tell you that that field has always by the custom of the vill, and by the agreement of those therein, been sown in such manner as they chose to agree upon, sometimes for three years, sometimes for one year; and we tell you that it was agreed by all the tenants of the vill who had land in the field whereof we have complained, that the field should be sown.”3
We see, too, the tax collectors at work setting upon each vill a definite quota of the tax granted by Parliament; “and afterwards each man was apportioned by his neighbours according to the goods and chattels which he had in the same vill.”1 We see an allusion to that uncertainty in the measures of land, and the causes for that uncertainty, which makes so much of our earlier history obscure.2 The difficulties of travel which made it necessary for the process of the Court to be slow if it was to be fair are forcibly illustrated by many cases.3 We see the Judges like other people anxious for the beginning of the vacation. Catesby was arguing for a certain form of plea. Danby told him that he must plead specially, and that he had better plead in this way at once “because we can’t stay to argue matters of law at the very end of the term.”4
The Year Books are thus valuable in many ways to historians, other than the legal historian, for the glimpses which they give us of many sides of English life. But even from this more general point of view it is to the legal historian that they are chiefly valuable, because they contain a first-hand, and sometimes critical, account of the doings and sayings of the Court as they passed under the reporter’s eye. As we have before hinted, it is this characteristic of the Year Books which is the strongest evidence against their official origin. We shall here give one or two illustrations of the scenes in court thus described and of the reporter’s doubts and criticisms thereon. For convenience we shall group them under the following heads:—Manners and Wit of the Bench and Bar; the relations of Bar and Bench; the reporter’s notes.
The Manners and Wit of the Bench and Bar
Both Judges and Counsel are fond of swearing, by God, by St. James, or by St. Nicholas. Even in that age, John of Mowbray’s direction to the defendant, the Bishop of Chester, to “go to the great devil,” is not easily surpassed.5 The satisfaction of Counsel when the Judge had given a ruling in their favour sometimes found odd expression. Mutford had recourse to his Vulgate. “Blessed is the womb that bare thee,” he said to Metingham J. when he had given a a ruling in his favour.1 Their dissatisfaction, too, is clearly marked:
“Toudeby.—Sir, we do not think that this deed ought to bind us, inasmuch as it was executed out of England. Howard J.—Answer to the deed. Toudeby.—We are not bound to do so for the reason aforesaid. Hengham C. J.—You must answer to the deed; and if you deny it, then it is for the Court to see if it can try, etc. Toudeby.—Not so did we learn pleading.”2
The reporters had a keen eye for the pithy saying, the apposite anecdote, or a wrangle on the bench. “You cannot deny,” said Howard J., “that the tenements as well in one vill as in the other were holden by one and the same service; and you are seised of the tenements in one vill; will you then have the egg and the halfpenny too.”3 In a case of Edward III’s reign, Willoughby J. was laying down the law. “That is not law now,” said his brother Sharshulle. “One more learned than you are adjudged it,” retorted Willoughby.4 The clergy of the province of Canterbury, argued Counsel, do not meddle with the clergy of the province of York, and neither is bound by a grant made by the other—“Because the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”5
The relations of Bar and Bench
The relation between the Serjeants and the Judges was not quite the same as the relation between the Bar and Bench in modern times. The Judges and the Serjeants together formed the highest branch of the legal profession—the order of the coif; so that to become a Serjeant was a more solemn and important step than to become a Judge. Traces of this old fellowship long survived in the common life of the Serjeants and Judges in the Serjeants Inns, in the rule that all Judges must be chosen from the Serjeants, and in the practice of addressing a Serjeant from the Bench by the title of “brother.” The Year Books testify to the fact that the Serjeants and Judges are brothers of one order. The Court asks them for their opinion.1 Resolutions are come to with their consent.2 Their dissent or approval is recorded; and the reporter regards their opinions with more respect sometimes than the dicta of the Judges. “Judgment is pending,” says the reporter, “but all the countors say the writ was invalid.”3 A demandant was nonsuited, “because all the Serjeants agreed that the writ could not be supported in this case.”4 “And this was the opinion of Herle and, for the greater part, of all the Serjeants, except Passeley, who told Hedon boldly to stick to his point. And so [Hedon] did.”5 After a dispute on the Bench it is noted that the common opinion is against the view of Parning.6 Even a dictum of the apprentices is noted,7 and sometimes conversations out of court.8 At the same time the intimacy of the relations between Bar and Bench did not prevent the Judges from speaking their minds very freely to the Bar. “We forbid you on pain of suspension to speak further of that averment;” “leave off your noise and deliver yourself from this account;” “that is a sophistry and this is a place designed for truth”—are remarks attributed to Hengham.9 “Are not the tallies sealed with your seal? About what would you tender and make law? For shame!”; “get to your business. You plead about one point, they about another, so that neither of you strikes the other;” “these seven years I never was put to study a writ, so much as this; but there is nothing in what you say”—are remarks attributed to Bereford.1 “Shame to him who pleaded this plea,” said Malore J.2 “This is not the first time we have heard a plea of this kind,” sarcastically remarked Sharshulle J.3 “I am amazed,” said Honore C. J., “that Grene makes himself out to know everything in the world—and he is only a young man.”4 Pulteney had said, “We do not see what will become of the first plea if this issue be entered.” “It will go to the winds as does the greater part of that which you say,” brutally remarked the same Judge.5 A somewhat neater score was made by one of Edward IV’s Chancellors. The plaintiff has no remedy, argued Counsel, because he has made no deed; and if a man is so simple that he enfeoffs another on trust without a deed he has no remedy and has only himself to blame. Not so, said the Chancellor, he will have a remedy here in Chancery, for God protects the simple.6
The reporter’s notes
The reporters were quick to note a quick retort, a foolish argument or a bungling plea. “My client is a poor man and knows no law,” argued Toudeby. “It is because he knows no law that he has retained you,” was Herle’s reply.7
We hear of the laughter in court occasioned by a foolish answer;8 and we sometimes get criticism of the rulings or manners of the Judges. A ruling is noted as “marvellous.”9 “Your answer is double,” said Brumpton, J., “and cannot be received,” but, adds the reporter, “he did not assign the reason.”1 Hervey le Stanton gets nick-named Hervey le Hasty.2 Thirning said to Counsel that he had spoken with his fellow Justices and that he (Counsel) must answer. Upon which Hull (another Counsel) remarked aside that he had never before seen that laid down for law, and, sympathetically added the reporter, “I myself have seen the contrary adjudged by the same Judges.”3 Mr. Justice Rickel had been a plaintiff together with some others in a plea of trespass. The writ was abated, “with the assent of all the Justices except the plaintiff,” drily observes the reporter.4 He notes, too, the smile with which Paston J. pointed what he considered to be a mildly humorous illustration.5 Similarly we get extraneous facts noted which struck the reporter’s fancy. He is reporting a case in the Exchequer Chamber, and notes that it was heard by the new Treasurer, about whom he gives us a few details.6 In the Year Book of the same year he gives us, at the close of the reports for the Easter term, a narrative of the battles of Hedgeley Moor and Hexham and of the events which had happened after the battle of Towton, leading up to an account of the execution of Sir John Grey, “because of his perjury and double dealing as well to King Henry VI as to King Edward IV the present king.”7 He tells us that other arguments were used on another day “when I was not present.”8 Often his notes express his doubts or queries on points of law—and sometimes they are of a lengthy and argumentative kind.9 Such notes show us the court at work, and something of the minds of the lawyers. But the Year Books are not primarily collections of pithy sayings, and picturesque incidents. The teaching and the publishing of the law is their object.
[1 ]This essay was first published in the Law Quarterly Review, vol. xxii, pp. 266-284 (1906), and has been revised by the author for this Collection; it will form a chapter in vol. ii. of the author’s History of English Law, to appear in 1908.
[2 ]Lecturer in St. John’s College, Oxford. A biographical note of this author is prefixed to Essay 9, in volume I of this Collection.
[1 ]See Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xxx, and 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xvi-xxi for a MS., described by Selden in his Dissertatio ad Fletam which is now lost; and Y. B. 17, 18 Ed. III (R. S.), xix for a MS. used by Fitzherbert, which has also disappeared.
[1 ]Y. B. 20, 21 Ed. I (R. S.), xv.
[2 ]Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), ix, x.
[3 ]Ibid. x.
[4 ]Ibid. xiv.
[5 ]Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xiv.
[6 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xc; 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xii, xxxii-xli.
[7 ]Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xli.
[1 ]Y. B. 12, 13 Ed. III, xix; cp. 11, 12 Ed. III, x-xviii, 13, 14 Ed. III, xvii-xxi, xxiv, 17 Ed. III, xxx, xxxi.
[2 ]20, 21 Ed. I (R. S.), xviii; 13, 14 Ed. III (R. S.), xxv; 16 Ed. III, (R. S.), i, xxi. “It is probable that in the multiplication of copies by hand, for the use of the profession, various remarks originally made in the margin became incorporated in the text. . . . It is difficult to account otherwise for the occasional interpolation of a query, with the answer Credo quod non, and for various observations, complimentary or otherwise, or statements of law by particular persons.”
[3 ]Hale, Hist. Comm. Law, 201, says that he saw the entire years and terms of Richard II’s reign in MS.; there are a few cases in Fitzherbert, Jenkins, Keilway and Benloe; these have been collected by Bellewe, Reeves, H. E. L. ii. 487, Cooper, Public Records, ii. 392, 393.
[4 ]On this subject see Soule, Year-Book Bibliography, Harv. Law Rev. xiv. 557 seqq.
[1 ]Soule, 563, 564.
[2 ]Soule, 561.
[3 ]Ibid., 564, 565. At p. 562 Mr. Soule says, “It would seem that while the printers issued separate years and even supplied separate sheets to complete imperfect years, the booksellers and lawyers bound together after 1550, and probably even before that time, these separate pamphlets in chronological order, by reigns, with very much the same arrangement followed in the 1679 edition. But there was no uniformity of editions or imprints—every owner making his own combinations as he happened to get hold of different editions of the several years.”
[1 ]Soule, 565.
[1 ]Pike, The Manuscripts of the Year Books, The Green Bag, xii. 534.
[2 ]See passages from Tottell’s editions of Magna Carta, and the Quadragesms cited by Soule, 563, 564, 568.
[3 ]Soule, 568.
[4 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xxi-xxviii.
[5 ]Ibid. xxi.
[6 ]Ibid. xxviii; to the same effect Mr. Pike, The Green Bag, xii. 535.
[7 ]Born 1602, died 1690.
[1 ]Cooper, Public Records, ii. 390, 391.
[2 ]Mr. Pike, Harv. Law Rev. vii. 266, says: “The report was intended for the use of the legal profession. . . . It was designed to show general principles of law, pleading or practice. . . . The record, on the other hand, was drawn up for the purpose of preserving an exact account of the proceedings in the particular case in perpetuam rei memoriam, but only in the form allowed by the court. The report contains not only the reasons eventually accepted, but often the reasons or arguments which preceded each, and the reasons or arguments for which other pleadings were disallowed.”
[1 ]Y. B. 13, 14 Ed. III (R. S.), xvi, xvii; the idea seems to have been anticipated by Blackstone, see Comm. i. 71.
[2 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xxxi.
[3 ]Ibid. xvii.
[4 ]Co. Rep. iii, Pref.
[5 ]Works, v. 86; in 1617 Bacon persuaded James I “to revive the ancient custom” by appointing two reporters, “to attende our Courts at Westminster,” at a salary of £100 a year, Rymer, Foedera, xvii. 27, 28.
[6 ]Comm. i. 71, 72. Blackstone adds or invents the information that the reports were made by the prothonotaries.
[1 ]Y. B. 30, 31 Ed. I (R. S.), xxiii, xxiv.
[2 ]Y. B. 14, 15 Ed. III (R. S.), xv; 18 Ed. III, lxxx, lxxxi.
[3 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xi-xiv.
[4 ]Ibid. xii. Mr. Pike, The Green Bag, xii, 535, says. “No Year Books or copies of them have been found among the records of any of the courts. Some of the manuscripts are still in private hands; and those which are in public libraries can usually be traced to a particular donor or vendor.”
[5 ]22 L. Quart. Rev. 268.
[6 ]Y. B. 21 Ed. IV, Mich. pl. 4.
[7 ]Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xv, xvi.
[1 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xiii.
[2 ]Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), lxxii-xciii for specimens of the reporter’s work compared with the record. A good instance of divergent reports will be found in Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), cases 21 A & B, pp. 186-8. Perhaps a little polish was expected; R. Farewell and J. Dyer tell us, in their dedication of Dyer’s reports to the students of the law, that the Chief Justice “wanted time and leisure to polish and beautifie the said cases with more large arguments which he had a full purpose to have done.”
[3 ]Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xii.
[4 ]Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xiv; 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xiv.
[1 ]Novae Narrationes, ff. 71-73 b; and see an extract from the Brevia Placitata cited Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xiv, n. 1.
[2 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xiv.
[3 ]Bracton’s Note Book, i. 25.
[4 ]Professor Maitland (Y. B. 3 Ed. II [S. S.], xxi) says that one of the MSS. of Edward II’s Y. BB. contains many records with a precise reference to the roll; Mr. Pike says that one MS. of the Y. BB. (Add. MS., no. 16560, in the British Museum) for the first 120 folios contains copies of records; the rest of the 323 folios of which the MS. consists is taken up by reports, Y. B. 11, 12 Ed. III (R. S.), xv; sometimes what look like copies of records appear in the Y. BB., e. g. 11, 12 Ed. III (R. S.), 210, 13, 14 Ed. III, 306, 17 Ed. III, 324, Longo Quinto, pp. 20, 97, 98, 4 Ed. IV, Mich. pl. 25—a precedent of a recognizance; perhaps there was sometimes an attempt to combine the two sources of information. Cf. Y. B. 34 Hy. VI, Mich. pl. 42, where the reporter refers at the conclusion of the case to “Roll 28 of the Easter Term of 33 Henry VI.”
[1 ]22 L. Quart. Rev. 272, n. 1; cp. Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), lxix, lxx.
[2 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), xv.
[3 ]22 L. Quart. Rev. 267.
[4 ]Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xi; and cp. Y. B. 30, 31 Ed. I (R. S.), 1.
[5 ]Y. B. 14, 15 Ed. III (R. S.), xv.
[1 ]Y. B. 20, 21 Ed. I (R. S.), xviii, it is said that the MS. was clearly written from dictation, and that the scribe did not understand what he was writing; see Y. B. 13, 14 Ed. III (R. S.), xxi for an account of a MS. in which Y. BB. of Ed. II have got in among Y. BB. of Ed. III; and cp. Plowden’s Rep. Pref. for the manner in which his reports were borrowed, and so incorrectly copied that he resolved to publish them himself.
[1 ]Y. B. 32, 33 Ed. I (R. S.), 32.
[2 ]Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), x, “A little acquaintance with the manuscripts that we have been transcribing would be enough to show that the justices could not have treated them in the way which a modern judge can treat a modern law report. Those manuscripts differ in every conceivable way. Every citation would begin a new dispute.”
[3 ]Y. B. 20, 21 Ed. I (R. S.), 358 (not followed), 438 (distinguished); 21, 22 Ed. I (R. S.), 280, 340 (authenticity questioned), 242, 406; 30, 31 Ed. I (R. S.), 178; 32, 33 Ed. I (R. S.), 28, 146, 300; 33-35 Ed. I (R. S.), 24; 3 Ed. II (S. S.), 34, 60, 199. Sometimes the citation of cases by the judges takes the form of reminiscences, cp. Y. B. 16 Ed. III (R. S.), ii. 6, “When you and I were apprentices,” said Sharshulle, “and Sir W. de Herle and Sir J. Stonore were serjeants, you saw Sir J. come to the bar,” etc.
[4 ]Y. B. 18, 19 Ed. III (R. S.), 378.
[1 ]Co. Rep. iii, Pref.
[2 ]There are a few cases in Dyer from the 4th, 6th, 19th, and 24th years of Henry VIII. His reports therefore just overlap the latest Year Books. The style of the later Y. BB. is very similar to the style in which these earlier cases in Dyer are reported.
[3 ]Y. B. 13, 14 Ed. III (R. S.).
[4 ]Dict. Nat. Biog.; Dugdale, Orig. Jurid. 58, 247, 257.
[1 ]Dict. Nat. Biog.; Foss, Judges, v. 167-169.
[2 ]Bracton’s Note Book; i. 117-121.
[3 ]Dict. Nat. Biog.; Foss, Judges, v. 359-361.
[4 ]H. E. L., iii. 814.
[5 ]A selection of the more recent cases contained in Broke was published in 1578, under the title, “Ascuns novell cases de les Ans et Temps le Roy Henry VIII, Edward VI et la Roygne Mary escriti en la Graunde Abridgement;” this selection was republished in 1587, 1604, and 1605; it was translated in 1651 by J. March, and the French and English text was republished in 1873.
[1 ]22 L. Quart. Rev. 380.
[2 ]The Encyclopædia of English Law.
[1 ]Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), 196; something of the Countess of Albemarle will be found in Red Book of the Exchequer (R. S.), iii, cccxii-cccxv, 1014-1023.
[1 ]Y. B. 21, 22 Ed. I (R. S.), 272.
[2 ]Y. B. 12, 13 Ed. III (R. S.), 236. [“Parning” was really Parvyng; see Mr. Pike’s introduction to Y. B. 18 Ed. III.]
[3 ]Y. B. 11, 12 Ed. III (R. S.), 370; cp. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), 112, 113.
[1 ]Y. B. 17, 18 Ed. III (R. S.), 618.
[2 ]Y. B. 35 Hy. VI, Mich. pl. 33, p. 29. Prisot C. J. says “Un carue de terre est grand en ascun pais que n’est en auter pais; et uncore, mesque un soit moins que un auter, chescun per luy est un carue, car un plough puit arrer plus terre en l’an en escun pais que en auter pais.”
[3 ]Y. B. 33-35 Ed. I (R. S.), 120; 38 Hy. VI, Pasch. pl. 13.
[4 ]Longo Quinto, p. 54, “Car ne purromus arguer matters en ley per cause del fine del terme.”
[5 ]Y. B. 43 Ed. III, Pasch. pl. 43, cited Y. B. 30, 31 Ed. I (R. S.), xxxi.
[1 ]Y. B. 20, 21 Ed. I (R. S.), 436; cp. 11, 12 Ed. III (R. S.), 312.
[2 ]Y. B. 32, 33 Ed. I (R. S.), 72.
[3 ]Ibid. 400.
[4 ]Y. B. 14, 15 Ed. III (R. S.), 114; cp. 11, 12 Ed. III (R. S.), 442.
[5 ]Y. B. 21 Ed. IV, Mich. pl. 6 (p. 47).
[1 ]Y. B. 2 Hy. VI, Mich. pl. 3. An apprentice had put a case to the court, and then, “Martin l’un des justices mettra le cas a les Serjeants a le barre et demanda que semble a eux seroit fait en ce cas.”
[2 ]See e. g. Y. B. 34 Hy. VI, Mich. pl. 13, “Quod fuit concessum per omnes justitiarios et per plusors Sergeants al barre.”
[3 ]21, 22 Ed. I (R. S.), 218.
[4 ]30, 31 Ed. I (R. S.), 106.
[5 ]Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), 160.
[6 ]14 Ed. III (R. S.), 214, 216 (22 L. Quart. Rev. 280, n. 3).
[7 ]Y. B. 21, 22 Ed. I (R. S.), 446.
[8 ]Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), xv, xvi; 30, 31 Ed. I (R. S.), 234; 14 Hy. IV, Hil. pl. 37; 33 Hy. VI, Trin. pl. 26.
[9 ]Y. B. 32, 33 Ed. I (R. S.), 446; 33-35 Ed. I (R. S.), 6, 20.
[1 ]Y. B. 3 Ed. II (S. S.), 47, 169, 195.
[2 ]Y. B. 33-35 Ed. I (R. S.), 348.
[3 ]Y. B. 16 Ed. III (R. S.), ii, 446; cp. ibid. 480, 482.
[4 ]Y. B. 18, 19 Ed. III (R. S.), 446, 448, and cp. ibid. 436.
[5 ]Y. B. 17, 18 Ed. III (R. S.), 350.
[6 ]Y. B. 8 Ed. IV, Pasch. pl. 11, “Il avera [remedie] et issint poies dire s jeo enfeoffe un home en trust etc., s’il ne voit faire ma volunte jeo n’avera remedy per vous, car il est ma folie d’enfeoffer tiel person que ne voit faire ma volunté etc.; mez il avera remedie en cest courte car Deus est procurator fatuorum:” for other scenes between judge and counsel cp. Y. BB. 11 Hy. IV, Trin. pl. 49, and 5 Hy. V, Hil. pl. 11.
[7 ]Y. B. 1, 2 Ed. II (S. S.), 64.
[8 ]Y. B. 33-35 Ed. I (R. S.), 326.
[9 ]Y. B. 16 Ed. III (R. S.), i, 242.
[1 ]Y. B. 31, 32 Ed. I (R. S.), 192.
[2 ]Y. B. 2, 3 Ed. II (S. S.), 200.
[3 ]Y. B. 14 Hy. IV, Hil. pl. 37.
[4 ]Y. B. 2 Hy. IV, Mich. pl. 48.
[5 ]Y. B. 19 Hy. VI, Pasch. pl. 5, “Mettons que sl un home veut defouler votre femme, vous justifierez de luy battre en defence de votre tres cher compagnon, et subridebat.”
[6 ]Y. B. 4 Ed. IV, Hil. pl. 3, “En l’Exchequer Chambre devant touts les Justices le matiere fuit reherce que fuit perentre le Roy et Sir John Paston, et la fuit le novel Tresorer que fuit fait meme cel terme id est Sir Walter Blount que fuit Tresorer de Calice ii ou iii ans ore passes.”
[7 ]Y. B. 4 Ed. IV, Pasch. pl. 40.
[8 ]e. g. Y. B. 21 Ed. IV, Mich. pl. 6 (p. 47), “Ad alium diem plusiors des Serjeants argueront mes jeo ne fue a lour arguments.”
[9 ]e. g. Y. BB. 12, 13 Ed. III (R. S.), 74; 17, 18 Ed. III (R. S.), 204; 38 Hy. VI, Pasch. pl. 9; Y. B. 18, 19 Ed. III (R. S.), 32.