The First Standard English Treatise on Wills Swinburne, Henry [1560?-1623]. A Briefe Treatise of Testaments and Last Wils [sic], Very Profitable to be Understood of All the Subjects of This Realme of England, (Desirous to Know, Whether, Whereof, And How, They May Make Their Testaments: And by What Meanes the Same May be Effected or Hindered) And no Lesse Acceptable, Aswell for the Rareness of the Work, As for the Easinesse of the Style, And Method. Compiled of such Lawes Ecclesiasticall and Civill, As be not Repugnant to the Lawes, Customes, Or Statutes of this Realme, Nor Derogatorie to the Prerogative Royall. In Which Treatise Also are Inserted Divers Statutes of this Land, Together with Mention of Sundry Customes, As Well Generall as Particular; Not Impertinent Thereto: Newly Corrected and Augmented, With Necessary Tables. London: Printed by I.L. for the Company of Stationers, 1640. [xxiv], 344, 215,  pp. Quarto (9" x 6-1/2"). Contemporary calf, blind rules to boards, raised bands to spine, early hand-lettered title to fore-edge of text block. A few faint stains to boards, some rubbing to extremities, joints starting, corners bumped, pastedowns loose. Attractive woodcut head-pieces, tail-pieces and decorated initials, large woodcut arms facing dedication. Some soiling to title page, light toning to text, early repair (or paste-over) at center of fore edge of pp. 203-04. Extensive annotations in contemporary chancery hand to front endleaves and foot of title page, interior otherwise clean. An appealing unsophisticated copy. $850. * Fifth edition. The testamentary jurisdiction of ecclesiastical law was a separate branch that produced its own literature. Swinburne's treatise was the standard work on this subject from its first publication in 1590-91 until the early nineteenth century. (Its last edition, the tenth, appeared in 1803.) Holdsworth, who cites it often and considers it "the most practically useful book of [its] period" notes that "it is a very useful summary of the law as to wills and executors as administered in the ecclesiastical courts.": A History of English Law V:14. English Short-Title Catalogue S118071.
Book number 57985