Henry de Bracton

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Bracton, Henry de,

d. 1268, English writer on law. He was the author of De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae [on the laws and customs of England], a broad, philosophic treatise that is often called the most important work on English law before that of Sir William BlackstoneBlackstone, Sir William,
1723–80, English jurist. At first unsuccessful in legal practice, he turned to scholarship and teaching. He became (1758) the first Vinerian professor of law at Oxford, where he inaugurated courses in English law.
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. Sir Edward CokeCoke, Sir Edward
, 1552–1634, English jurist, one of the most eminent in the history of English law. He entered Parliament in 1589 and rose rapidly, becoming solicitor general and speaker of the House of Commons. In 1593 he was made attorney general.
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 and others used the work in their legal arguments against the king in the English civil war.


See edition of De legibus by G. E. Woodbine (4 vol., 1915–42); edition of Bracton's notebook by F. W. Maitland (3 vol., 1887).

Bracton, Henry de


(Bratton). Date of birth unknown; died 1268. English jurist. Systematizer of 13th-century English common law.

Beginning in 1245, Bracton was a royal itinerant judge; later he was made a judge of the Court of King’s Bench. Bracton was a defender of the privileges of the feudal aristocracy. In the treatise On the Laws and Customs of England, compiled basically between 1250 and 1256, he laid the legal foundation for the attempt by the lords to strengthen and increase their exploitation of the villeins. Bracton equated the villeins with ancient Roman slaves; in accordance with this, he defined their property status and personal status on the estate.


Bracton’s Notebook, vols. 1–3. London, 1887.
References in periodicals archive ?
This doctrine is based on the writings of the jurist Henry de Bracton (1210-68) and William Blackstone (1773-68) an English Jurist.
But staff at the Bracton Centre, run by Oxleas, deemed her fit for discharge after three years and she was released in 2009 and allowed to live in the community.
As an early writer on English law, also a judge, Henry of Bracton declared in 1250: "The King himself however ought not to be under man, but under God and under the law, for the law makes him King.
Similarly, in That Hideous Strength, although most of the narrative follows the alternating points of view of Jane and Mark Studdock, Lewis the narrator occasionally shows his hand early on, most obviously in describing Bracton College, the setting for much of the first part of the book, but also notably in relating subtext and analysis of a meeting at the college.
Moreover, Tucker noted that one might have recourse to "every law treatise from Bracton, and Glanville, to Coke, Hale, Hawkins, and Blackstone; or in every reporter from the year-books to the days of Lord Mansfield," but such authority mattered little if the law was not consistent with the new state constitutions.
Students of the English common law almost surely would have read the works of the 13th-century cleric and jurist Henry de Bracton and, later, William Blackstone's 18th-century Commentaries on the Laws of England.
18) That the law of nature had a place within English jurisprudence itself is also amply demonstrated by the treatise on the laws and customs of England, known as Bracton.
Helmholz, Natural Law and Human Rights in English Law: From Bracton to Blackstone,?
2015); see also 3 Henry de Bracton, De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae 530-31 (Travers Twiss ed.
15) Frederic William Maitland (ed), Bracton's Notebook: A Collection of Cases Decided in the King's Courts during the Reign of Henry III, annotated by a Lawyer of that Time, seemingly Henry of Bratton (3 vols, Cambridge University Press, 1887); Selected Passages from the Works of Bracton and Azo (vol 8, Selden Society, 1895).
20) Bracton suggested, for instance, that a rape victim should be able