Laws of the Londoners


By the end of the 12th century, French was commonly used as an administrative and legal language in England alongside Latin. This collection of texts from the reign of King John (r. 1199-1216) on the laws and customs of London, contains a French prose description of England that lists French as the sixth language - after Breton, English, Scottish, Pictish and Latin. The book also contains Ranulph de Glanville's treatise on the laws of England (an early codification of procedures in the king’s court), a legal tract in Latin on the weight of bread and the pay of labourers, and a recipe for making metheglin, a type of flavoured mead, added in English in the 15th century.

This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.

Full title:
Legal texts concerning the city of London with a prose description of England
1st quarter of the 13th century, London
Ranulf de Glanvill
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Add MS 14252

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The French language before 1200

Article by:
Hannah Morcos
History and learning

Hannah Morcos looks at how the vernacular of northern France evolved from a regional spoken language to a cross-European written medium between the 8th and 12th centuries.