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Friday, 7 September 2012

The Men of Court 1440 to 1550The Selden Society has published in two volumes The Men of Court 1440 to 1550: A Prosopograhy of the Inns of Court and Chancery and the Courts of Law by Professor Sir John Baker.

This monumental work in two very large volumes is a biographical dictionary of every named person connected with the law: all known members of the inns of court and chancery (which included many non-lawyers), and all the attorneys and officers of the central courts. A veritable Who’s Who in the Law during this important transitional period, with well over 10,000 entries identifying as far as possible each individual, and with information relating to his social position, family, local roots, armorial bearings, and portraits; and going back before 1440 or after 1550 where a life extended beyond the qualifying period. Much of the information, never before published, has been gleaned from suits for dues brought by the inns against their members, supplemented from the inns’ own records, the plea rolls and other sources. No such richly-detailed survey for any class in society at this period has ever been attempted. It will be of immense value not only to legal historians, but also for research into the gentry, professional classes and office-holders, and education, genealogy and topography.

The two volumes contain a total of 1,858 pages. The entries, in double-column, are preceded by a 54-page introduction and 140 pages of appendices. There are 48 plates of illustrations, half of them in colour. The two volumes are case-bound in maroon cloth uniform with the series, and with dust-jackets showing two of the coloured plates.

For information about this book and other publications by Professor Baker, see his Faculty Profile.