Frederick William Maitland

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Maitland, Frederick William


Born May 28, 1850, in London; died Dec. 21, 1906, in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. English historian.

Maitland’s principal works deal with the history of England and English law in the Middle Ages. In 1888 he became a professor of the history of English law at the University of Cambridge. Maitland was one of the founders (in 1887) of the Selden Society for the publication of English medieval legal records. He edited and published a number of the most important medieval records.

In his methodology, Maitland belonged to the critical school of bourgeois historiography, of which he was the founder in Great Britain. Maitland considered the state and the law to be the most important factors in history. He understood feudalism as a system of feudal land law founded on vassal and contractual relations.


Domesday Book and Beyond. Cambridge, 1897.
Township and Borough. Cambridge, 1898.
The Constitutional History of England. Cambridge, 1908.
History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I, vols. 1–2, 2nd ed. Cambridge, 1898. (In collaboration with F. Pollock.)
Selected Historical Essays. Boston, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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