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 Kentish-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 for F. Gyles, 1726. [xiv], 136, , 216,  pp. Copperplate frontispiece. Quarto (10-1/2" x 8"). Nineteenth-century morocco, gilt fillets and dentelles to boards, gilt spine with raised bands and lettering piece, gilt edges, marbled endpapers, detached ribbon marker laid in. Moderate rubbing to extremities, small chip to foot of spine, corners bumped and worn, early armorial bookplate (of Thomas Hall) to verso of title page, which is printed in red and black. Woodcut head and tail-pieces, text printed with wide margins. Moderate toning to text, faint dampspotting in places, internally clean. A handsome copy $750. * Second and final edition. 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 Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum (1659). Sweet & Maxwell, A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth 1:477 (31). English Short-Title Catalogue T132060.
Book number 63698