The Selden Society


                                                                              June, 2008




Dear Member,


            Once again it is time for us to request payment of your annual dues.  The dues for 2008 remain $65.00 for individuals and $90.00 for institutions.

            Your prompt payment will be very much appreciated.  If you are paying with a check that does not contain your name, could you please write your name on it or include your name on a separate piece of paper within the envelope?  (Institutions should include a copy of the invoice form.)  This will save us much time here.

            This year’s dues notice is a bit late, because we needed get our plans for this year in order.  The volume for 2007 (vol. 124), the Literary Director’s edition of the reports of William Dalison, was published in March.  It has not yet been sighted on these shores, but if you had paid your 2007 dues by March, you should be receiving it shortly.

            The volume for 2008 (vol. 125) will be Dr. Andrew Lyall’s edition of Irish Exchequer Reports: Cases Argued and Determined in the Courts of Exchequer and Chancery in Ireland, 1716–34.  It is a new departure for the Society to publish material from Ireland, but Ireland was united to the crown of England at the time, and its courts may be regarded as belonging to the same legal regime as England.  Very few reports from Ireland have been edited in modern times, and there is a long gap between Davies (1615) and the late eighteenth century.  The present edition is based on a manuscript at Columbia University which belonged to Henry Singleton (1682–1759), king’s prime serjeant in Ireland (1726) and chief justice of the common pleas of Ireland (1740).  The author of the reports may have been Singleton, but this is not clear; the text is certainly not in his hand.  Dr. Lyall’s introduction surveys the practice of the Irish Exchequer, notes some points of particular interest in the reports, and provides biographies of the principal lawyers whose speeches are reported.

            Other imminent volumes in the main series are Mr. Nicholas le Poidevin’s edition of the reports of John Bryt (a named Year Book reporter of the early fifteenth century), Professor Phillipp Schofield’s edition of a selection of personal actions in manorial courts (c. 1250 to c. 1350), and a Professor Margaret McGlynn’s collection of readings on the liberties of the church, including that of Edward Hall.  Further along in the pipeline are a proposed edition of William Staunford’s Plees del Coron (1557) and an edition of the papers of Sir Matthew Hale’s law reform commission of the 1550’s.

            Volume 15 in the Supplementary Series, the Catalogue of the Legal Manuscripts of Anthony Taussig, compiled by the Literary Director and Mr. Taussig, appeared last year.  The Taussig manuscripts form the most important collection of English legal manuscripts still in private hands.  The contents range from the only known privately-held manuscript of Bracton to important collections of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century correspondence (notably that of Sir Michael Foster, Sir William Blackstone, Lord Thurlow, and William Tidd, the celebrated special pleader).  The catalogue should be of wide interest, given the range of material that it describes.  There are fifty illustrations, providing legible specimens of many different kinds of legal manuscripts and legal hands.  Supplementary Series volumes are not included in your membership dues.  The volume is available to members at a concessional rate of $70.00, post free if payment accompanies your order.  Once more, we will handle U.S. dollar orders from this office.

            Other volumes in the pipeline of the Supplementary Series include the Literary Director’s Legal Manuscripts Formerly in the Collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart.,  and Dr. David Crook’s The King’s Bench and Common Bench in the Reign of Henry III.

            The main series of Selden volumes is entirely in print.  Volumes 1–99 have been reprinted by W. S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1285 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14209–1987 (phone: [800]828–7571; FAX: [716]883–8100; email:; website:  The cost is $95 per volume, with a twenty percent discount for Selden members, plus dispatch costs.  Volume 100 and forward can, as before, be obtained from the Secretary, Victor Tunkel, Selden Society, Faculty of Laws, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, U.K. (phone: 44 20 7882 5136; FAX: 44 20 8981 8733; email:

            In 2004, Hein, with the Society’s permission, issued a volume reproducing the whole of the Society’s lecture series from 1952–2001.  The volume has over 700 pages and is case bound in maroon cloth similar to that of the Supplementary Series.  Many of the past lectures have been out of print for some years, and the Council hope that members and especially libraries will want to complete their holdings.  The volume is offered to members at a special price of $120 inclusive of all dispatch costs.

            Hein has also reprinted the four volumes of Professor Thorne’s edition of Bracton on the Laws and Customs of England.  The price is $395, with a discount to Selden members of twenty percent, plus dispatch costs.  Simultaneously, the Ames Foundation, the Harvard Law School Library, and the Legal Information Institute of the Cornell Law School have produced a fully-searchable “on-line” version of both the Latin and the English text of Bracton.  It is available on the “world-wide web” at:


            The Ames Foundation, which, as many Selden members know, is an organization similar to Selden, though its publications are more irregular, has recently entered into a distribution agreement with Hein & Co.  Hein has the stock of Ames back volumes and has reprinted those volumes that are out of print.  Hein has also agreed to give discounts on Ames volumes to Selden members similar to those that Ames has offered in the past.

            We call your attention to the “web page” for the Selden Society.  This contains a complete list of Selden publications and other information that we hope will be useful.  It is available on the “world-wide web” at:


Links may found on this page to Selden’s London web page.  A similar “web page” for the Ames Foundation is available at:


            Members will have received an announcement of the Society’s Annual General Meeting which will be held at the Old Hall of Lincoln’s Inn on Wednesday, 16 July.  It will be followed by a lecture by Dr Sara Elin Roberts on “The Welsh Legal Triads.”  (Dr Roberts was the winner of the David Yale Prize in 2007.)  Following this our customary buffet supper will be offered in the crypt.  Further information may be obtained from the Secretary at the addresses listed above.



                                                                              Yours sincerely,


                                                                              Charles Donahue, Jr.


                                                                              David Warrington



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