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Legal history: England & common law tradition: Periods

Before 1066 : Anglo-Saxon England

Gesetze der Angelsachsen Legal Hist L716.5a (Also available online to OU Members via HeinOnline see link below.)

OU members can also read  Ancient laws and institutes of England : comprising laws enacted under the Anglo-Saxon Kings...with an English translation of the Saxon, the laws .... (ed Thorpe, 1840)) both in print (Legal Hist E58b) and online. (via The Making of the Modern World see link below).

William Stubbs’ Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History, rev. H. W. C. Davis, 9th edn (Oxford, 1921) Order from SOLO using Request or read in the History Faculty Library. Note: The eighth edition (1905) is available online to OU Members via The Making of Modern Law database see link below

The Early English Laws Project is working on an open access website which should become the reliable site for authoritative modern editions of sources.

Commentary in print

The subject search term to try in SOLO is:

Law, Anglo-Saxon

Please note, this is an area of research which is spread across various Faculties - and therefore shelved in different Bodleian Reading Rooms

Some of the works in the Law Bod are:

Some books in the History/Central Bodleian Reading Rooms

English Faculty Library


Search SOLO using the subject search:

English language   Old English, ca. 450-1100


Anglo-Saxon & Danelaw Centuries

King Aethelberht I of Kent c 600 AD had a collection of law written down, and this has survived. His example was followed by later Kings - both Anglo-Saxon and Dane (though not all have survived) - up to Edward the Confessor.


Some resource available online (Those which require an Oxford Single Sign On may also be available in print in a Bodleian Reading Room)

Resources available on the free web

The development of English common law

If your research is centred on particular period or periods, one or more of the following pages may help  as they include contemporary sources (and where available online) and some modern modern commentary.