Early Critical Edition of Fleta, Book I [Clarke, Sir Thomas (1703-1764), Editor]. Fleta, Seu Commentarius Juris Anglicani: Partim e Codice MS. to Cottoniano; Partim ex Antiquis Rotulis, Et Veterrimis tam Historiae Quam Legum Angliae Scriptoribus Emendatus, Illustratus, Et in Integrum Restitutus. Liber Primus Antiqua Placita Coronae Continens. London: Prostat Venalis Apud Fletcher Gyles Bibliopolam, 1735. [viii], 97 pp. Lacking final blank leaf. Folio (11-1/4" x 7-1/2"). Recent period-style quarter calf over marbled boards, endpapers renewed, facsimile bookplate of the Earls of Macclesfield to front pastedown, small embossed Macclesfield stamp to title page, light toning to text, small tear to margin of final leaf Bb3 (pp. 96-97). A handsome copy. $750. * Only edition. The work by an anonymous author, Fleta describes the practice of the courts, the forms of writs and an explanation of law terms as they existed during the reign of Edward I. It was John Selden who first called the attention of the public to this ancient treatise, and was instrumental in procuring its publication. While Bracton earns the highest praise as the father of legal learning, Fleta earns a share of it for the illustrations he offered to some of the obscurities found in Bracton. This critical edition of its first part was based on a manuscript copy in the Cotton (or Cottonian) Library, which later formed the basis of the British Library. Clarke was a British judge who served as Master of the Rolls. He was a close friend of Thomas Parker, Earl of Macclesfield [1666-1732]. Since Clarke's parentage was unclear, some believe Clark was Macclesfield's son. The present copy once belonged to the library of Shirbirn Castle, the library of the Earls of Macclesfield, one of the finest private libraries in Great Britain. English Short-Title Catalogue T25425.
Book number 67912