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Rare Book Video – A 14th Century Manuscript of Registrum Brevium

In this video, Nathan Dorn, the curator of the Law Library’s rare book collection, discusses a recent acquisition, a 14th-century manuscript of Registrum Brevium, a copy of the register of writs used to initiate litigation in medieval England.

Nathan explains:

Over the course of the 12th century, a system of writs was developed that enabled people from all over England to get a hearing for their grievances before judges in the king’s courts. Plaintiffs were able to purchase a writ, which was produced by secretaries at the king’s court. There was an officina brevium, or “workshop of writs,” that produced writs for this purpose. It appears that there was no official copy of the register that served as the model for all others. Instead, each individual master, or cursitor, of a writ shop kept a copy of the register, such as this manuscript, for use in his office. This manuscript has previously been featured on In Custodia Legis.

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5 Comments

  1. Larry Guthrie
    September 13, 2022 at 9:07 am

    Very interesting book and presentation!
    Thank you!

  2. Elba Matos
    September 13, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    This was so well presented and articulated. Thank you so much for offering these videos it has really made my day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Nick Marritz
    September 13, 2022 at 12:54 pm

    Fascinating!

  4. Gary Ramelot
    September 23, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Very fascinating, I am currently studying law and we are going over how American law was founded on the English Common Law. I would love to visit the library someday, I will have to enjoy online for now.

  5. Alexander LoBianco
    October 1, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Excellent presentation!

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