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Assizes and Possession, in 'On Statutes and Laws in England' by John de Breton

Assizes and Possession, in 'On Statutes and Laws in England' by John de Breton

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1350

Shelfmark: Harley MS 3644

Item number: f.63r

Length: 25

Width: 14.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

At the order of Edward I, John de Breton, Bishop of Hereford (1268-1275), compiled tracts of English law in French. One of the greatest medieval English lawyers, John de Breton produced the work about 1275, just before his death. His legal compilation was part of the programmes of the king, one of whose most important accomplishments was his legal reform. John de Breton's book is written in French, the language of the Plantagenet king and the nobility. An inscription on the manuscript's last page records that it belonged to the monastery of St Augustine, Canterbury, and was later given by Thomas Moyle of Grey's Inn, London, to John Ramsay. A page from a chapter on assizes and possession is divided into sections by means of blue and red markings. The comical profile face in the upper margin enlivens and disguises roman numeral 'I', the second part of a header--the one on the facing page, a 'II' laughs back--indicating 'Section II, part I.'

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