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Legal history: England & common law tradition: 1660 - 1714

Regnal years

Charles II  May 1660*  -  6 Feb1685
*1660 is styled 12 Cha 2  as if he had ruled since his father's execution)

James II  6 Feb 1685 - 11 Dec 1688

Mary II & William III 13 Feb 1689 - 28 Dec 1694

William III 28 Dec 1694 - 8 Mar 1702

Anne 8 Mar 1702 - 1 Aug 1714


The Bill of Rights

In full: An Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the Succession of the Crown.
The Bill of Rights
The short title assigned to this piece of legislation by Short Titles Act 1896 (c. 14)Sch. 1
1688 or 1689
The Bill of Rights is assigned to the year 1688 on (as it was previously in successive official editions of the revised statutes from which the online version is derived) although the Act received Royal Assent on 16th December 1689. This follows the practice adopted in The Statutes of the Realm, Vol. VI (1819), in the Chronological Table in that volume and all subsequent Chronological Tables of the Statutes, which attach all the Acts in 1 Will and Mar sess 2 to the year 1688. The first Parliament of William and Mary (the Convention Parliament) convened on 13th February 1689 (1688 in the old style calendar - until 1st Jan 1752 the calendar year began on March 25th). It appears that all the Acts of that Parliament (both sessions) were treated as being Acts of 1688 using the old method of reckoning, according to which, until 1793, all Acts passed in a session of Parliament with no specified commencement date were deemed to be passed in the year in which that session began (see Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793 (c 13)). The Short Titles Act 1896 (c. 14) gave to chapter 2 of 1 Will and Mar sess 2 the title "The Bill of Rights", without attributing it to any calendar year. In the Republic of Ireland, the Short Titles Act 1896 (c 14) has been amended to add "1688" to the short title of The Bill of Rights as it continues to have effect there (see Statute Law Revision Act 2007, Act of the Oireachtas No 28 of 2007, s 5(a)).

Later Stuart England

In October 1707 the Parliament of the United Kingdom held its first session, in the home of the former English Parliament in Westminster.

Law Reports

The English Reports (ER) (available in print and online, see links below) reprinted those considered still valuable when the Victorians reformed the system with the (Incorporated) Council of Law Reporting. The Revised Reports is a rival reprint, which sometimes has preserved cases not available in the ERs.

For online access to the ERs holders of an Oxford SSO have their choice of LexisLibrary, Westlaw Edge UK and HeinOnline. If looking for other contemporary reports it would be best to start with HeinOnline which also has the Revised Reports, and many other published report series.

Manuscript sources have been edited and printed as Lord Nottingham's Chancery Case SS 73 & 79


Comyn's Digest (1760) pre 1740 case law

Bacons' New abridgment (1763-66)

Viner General Abridgment of Law and Equity (1741-1753) 23 volume

The Bodleian has copies of various editions of all of the above - but for conservation reasons would ask readers to consult the online versions (see links below) in the first instance.

Texts on topic

Crime & punishment