The First English Treatise on Conveyancing Sheppard, William [fl. 1660]. The Touch-Stone of Common Assurances. Or, A Plain and Familiar Treatise Opening the Learning of the Common Assurances or Conveyances of the Kingdom. London: Printed for W. Lee, D. Pakeman, And Gabriel Bedell, 1651. [xii], 348, 353-529,  pp. Final leaf blank. Text complete. Quarto (8" x 6-1/2"). Contemporary calf, rebacked in period style, blind rules to boards, raised bands to spine. A few scratches to boards, moderate rubbing to extremities, corners bumped and somewhat worn, front pastedown loose, rear pastedown removed. Very light browning to text, annotations in contemporary hand to a few leaves, light foxing in a few places, offsetting and minor wear to edges of preliminaries and final few leaves, light soiling to title page. $450. * Second edition. The Touchstone is the earliest work devoted to the theory of conveyancing. Each chapter opens with a definition of a type of conveyance followed by an outline of the rules, principles and legal maxims that govern it. Sheppard's comments are supported by textual authorities and case examples, and he includes variations, specific conditions and limitations. Sheppard's claim of authorship has been a point of controversy since the eighteenth century. Many scholars believe that the Touchstone was written as a manuscript for personal use by Sir John Dodderidge, a judge during the reign of Charles I. According to this theory, Sheppard purchased the manuscript at auction, then edited it for publication. Whether the author was Sheppard or Dodderidge, the treatise was an immediate success when it was published in 1648. It has been esteemed highly ever since. As late as 1925, Holdsworth observed that it "is still regarded as a high authority on this subject.": Holdsworth, Sources and Literature of English Law 124. English Short-Title Catalogue R2310.
Book number 67291