This was written to appreciate what laws have been in existence for a long time and therefore have proven their success in maintaining a stable society. Its purpose is also to see the historical context in which our legal doctrines developed. It includes the inception of the common law system, which was praised because it made law which was not handed down by an absolutist king; the origin of the jury system; the meaning of the Magna Carta provisions in their historical context; and the emergence of attorneys.

This book is a primer. One may read it without prior knowledge of history or law, although it will be more meaningful to attorneys than to others. It can serve as an introduction on which to base further reading in English legal history. It defines terms unique to English legal history. However, the meaning of some terms in King Aethelbert's code in Chapter 1 are unknown or inexact.

In the Table of Contents, the title of each chapter denotes an important legal development in the given time period for that chapter. Each chapter is divided into three sections: The Times, The Law, and Judicial Procedure.

The Times section sets a background and context in which to better understand the law of that period. The usual subject matter of history such as battles, wars, royal intrigues, periods of corruption, and international relations are omitted as not helping to understand the process of civilization and development of the law. Standard practices are described, but there are often variations with locality. Also, change did not come abruptly, but with vacillations, e.g. the change from pagan to Christian belief and the change to allowance of loans for interest. The scientific revolution was accepted only slowly. There were often many attempts made for change before it actually occurred, e.g. gaining Parliamentary power over the king's privileges, such as taxation.

The Law section describes the law governing the behavior and conduct of the populace. It includes law of that time which is the same, similar, or a building block to the law of today. In earlier times this is both statutory law and the common law of the courts. The Magna Carta, which is quoted in Chapter 7, is the first statute of England and is listed first in the "Statutes of the Realm" and the "Statutes at Large". The law sections of Chapters 7 - 18 mainly quote or paraphrase most of these statutes. Excluded are statutes which do not help us understand the development of our law, such as statutes governing Wales after its conquest and statutes on succession rights to the throne.

The Judicial Procedure section describes the process of applying the law and trying cases, and jurisdictions. It also contains some examples of cases.

For easy comparison, amounts of money expressed in pounds or marks [Danish denomination] have often been converted to the smaller denominations of shillings and pence. There are twenty shillings in a pound. A mark in silver is two-thirds of a pound. Shillings are abbreviated: "s." There are twelve pennies or pence in a Norman shilling. Pence are abbreviated "d." Six shillings and two pence is denoted 6s.2d. A scaett was a coin of silver and copper of lesser denomination than a shilling. There were no coins of the denomination of shilling during Anglo-Saxon times.

The sources and reference books from which information was obtained are listed in a bibliography instead of being contained in tedious footnotes. There is no index to pages because the electronic text will print out its pages differently on different computers with different computer settings. Instead, a word search may be done on the electronic text.

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