Historic Study of Gavelkind Somner, William [1598-1669]. A Treatise of Gavelkind, Both Name and Thing. Shewing the True Etymologie and Derivation of the One, the Nature, Antiquity, and Original of the Other. With Sundry Emergent Observations, Both Pleasant and Profitable to be Known of Kenting-Men and Others, Especially Such as Are Studious, Either of the Ancient Custome, Or the Common Law of This Kingdome. By (A Well-Wisher to Both). London: Printed by R. and W. Leybourn, 1660. [xxiv], 216  pp. Quarto (7" x 5-1/2"). Nineteenth-century three-quarter calf over marbled boards, raised bands, gilt fillets and lettering piece to spine, endpapers renewed. Light rubbing to boards, some wear to extremities, joints just starting at ends, front hinge cracked but secure, rear hinge starting, title page partially detached but secure. Armorial bookplate to front pastedown, woodcut head-pieces, tail-pieces and decorated initials. Light toning to text, occasional light foxing. An attractive copy overall. $1,250. * First edition, second issue. Gavelkind is a form of land tenure unique to Kent (and its environs) in which land descends equally to the decedent's sons. It was common during the Saxon era, but was gradually supplanted by primogeniture after 1066. Produced during the first wave of modern English legal scholarship, Somner's pioneering work was the first study of gavelkind, and one of the first important studies of early English law. Philological in orientation, it is a history of gavelkind and an analysis of its forms. Texts of significant documents are included. He also goes beyond his subject in one section to discuss the law of succession to chattels. Somner, a pupil of Causubon, was an ecclesiastical lawyer and historian of Anglo-Saxon law and literature who is best known for his pioneering Saxon-Latin-English dictionary (1659). English Short-Title Catalogue R20010.
Book number 43515