Statutes of the realm, Magna Carta

Accession number: 
MS M.1150
Statutes of the realm, Magna Carta
England, first quarter of the 14th century.
18th-century calf gilt with silver catches (lacking clasps) in modern purple morocco box.
Melvin R. Seiden Collection, 2006.
218 leaves (1 column, 23 lines), bound : vellum, ill. ; 95 x 55 mm
Knowledge of the statutes of England was the basis for the administration of justice and medieval legal practice and it is probable that this manuscript was made for a lawyer; Thomas Merton: notes added to the Calendar record the births of the children of Thomas Merton, Robert on 2 May and Elizabeth on 21 October, apparently in 1491/2 ('anno vii Henrici vii'); Sir Thomas Saunder : note on endleaf ii recording his gift of the manuscript to his son Edmond 20 July 1561; Edmond Saunder: inscription on flyleaf dated 20 July 1561; Edward Ire(?): cropped note in a 16th-century hand of the recto of endleaf ii; Ink-stamped monogram on f.16v, TSR superimposed on EL, with the date 1693; William Harcourt Hopper: his bookplate inside upper cover; sale (London, Christie's, 29 November 1999, lot 4).

Ms. statutes written and illuminated in England in the first quarter of the 14th century.
Decoration: 38 historiated initials accompanied by a cusped border with leaf terminals and marginal grotesques or drolleries; 20 large flourished divided initials of burnished gold and blue with ornate cadels and drolleries into the margin; 1 large illuminated initial with border and drollery.
The subjects of the historiated initials are as follows: 1. fol. 17r: King James with Sword of Justice -- 2. fol. 25r: Huntsman and hound pursuing a stag -- 3. fol. 29r: Robert Archbishop of Canterbury addressing a man to threaten excommunication for non-compliance with the articles of the King -- 4. fol.31r: Man holding the Magna Carta complete with the King's seal -- 5. fol. 40v: King with a widow (Merton I and II concern the protection of widows' dowers) -- 6. fol. 45v: King and two officers -- 7. fol. 58r: Man entering a doorway (Westminster I protects religious houses from abuse of hospitality) -- 8. fol. 81r: King with one man by the bedside of another -- 9. fol. 88r: Seated King -- 10. fol. 91v: Head of a man -- 11. fol. 92r: Two men disputing -- 12. fol. 136v: Shopkeeper and customer -- 13. fol. 137v: King with a priest -- 14. fol. 138v: Two men disputing over documents -- 15. fol. 143v: Two men with a confiscated animal -- 16. fol. 145r: King with a merchant with a money-bag -- 17. fol. 150r: Two men, each one holding half of an indenture -- 18. fol. 153r: Hanged man regarded by two other men -- 19. fol. 158r: King questioning official -- 20. fol. 159r: One man questioning another standing beside a body (the statutes of Exeter open with the procedure for enquiring into the conduct of coroners) -- 21. fol. 166r: King ruling on the conduct of two men -- 22. fol. 167v: Three conspirators -- 23. fol. 168r: Judge and three jurors -- 24. fol. 169v: Man with a sheep (?) at the city-gate -- 25. fol. 170v: Man writing on a roll at the dictation of another -- 26. fol. 171v: Judge and petitioner examining a charter -- 27. fol. 175r: King petitioned by two men, one holding up a charter -- 28. fol. 175v: Two men arguing before the king -- 29. fol. 176v: Two men on ploughed land discussing tenancy -- 30. fol. 177v: Young man with a dying tree (introducing the statue concerning waste and destruction) -- 31. fol. 179r: Bishop adjudicating over two men -- 32. fol. 180r: King giving ruling to another man -- 33. fol. 181r: Justice on horseback entering a city -- 34. fol. 182v: King with two petitioners -- 35. fol. 183v: Armed Knight (introducing the statute governing the carrying of weapons and conduct at tournaments) -- 36. fol. 185r: Man weighing bread in scales (introducing the assize of bread) -- 37. fol. 186v: Man with a two gallon pot (?) (introducing the assize of ale) -- 38. fol. 187r: Baker who had sold short measure in a pillory, watched by two others.
Collation: ii + 218 leaves: 1-38, 47 (of 8, lacking vi), 5-108, 1112, 12-168, 174, 188, 1912 (including 4 misbound folios from 17), 20-238, 247, signature marks and catchwords throughout.

small charter hand
Law French and Latin