Ancient Laws and Institutes of England
Originally published for the Record Commissioners in 1840, this two-volume work remains a standard source for scholars of Anglo-Saxon and early Norman legal history. Benjamin Thorpe (1781?-1870) was a respected and prolific scholar and translator of Old English, whose publications in the field earned him a civil list pension in 1835. Trained in Copenhagen under Rasmus Rask, Thorpe advocated a scientific approach to philology, and this is reflected in the thoroughness of the notes, commentary, and concordance appended to the sources reprinted here. The preface to the text places the laws in their historical and geographical context, notes where there are unavoidable gaps in the evidence, and offers a descriptive analysis of the original documents. Volume 1 contains the secular laws issued from the reign of 'thelberht to that of Henry I, with a parallel translation of the Anglo-Saxon text, although the sources in Latin and French remain untranslated.