• Full title:   HENRICI de Bractone de legibus et consuetudinibus Anglicanis libri quatuor. Codex membranaceus, circa temp. Edw. I. [between 1272-1307] exaratus. Folio. [11,353.]
  • Created:   1272 - 1307
  • Formats:  Manuscript, Illustration
  • Creator:   Henry de Bracton
  • Usage terms

    Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

  • Held by  British Library
  • Shelfmark:   Add MS 11353


The treatise known as Bracton, composed in the wake of Magna Carta, is the most ambitious legal work from medieval England. Providing a survey of the application of the common law in the king’s courts, with citations of past cases, it focuses on property rights and criminal law. The treatise was formerly attributed to Henry of Bratton (1210–68), a justice in south-west England, but Henry was probably merely the reviser of an existing treatise, compiled during the 1220s and 1230s. Henry of Bratton may nonetheless have been responsible for adding the work’s second preface, which talks of men who are ‘foolish and insufficiently instructed, who climb the seat of judgment before learning the laws’. This opening page of a manuscript of Bracton is headed by a miniature of a king holding a sword in one hand and a sealed charter in the other.