First Tottell Edition of the Book that "Made the Common Law" Fitzherbert, Sir Anthony [1470-1538]. La Graunde Abridgement Collecte par le Iudge Tresreverend Monsieur Anthony Fitzherbert, Dernierment Conferre Ouesque la Copy Escript et per Ceo Correct: Aueques le Nombre del Sueil, Per Quel Facilement Poies Trover les Cases cy Abrydges en les Livers Dans, Novelment Annote: Iammais Devaunt Imprimee. London: In Aedibus Ricardi Tottell, 1565. Three parts in two books [i], 379; [i], 128; 207 ff. First and second parts have title pages, second part has title beginning: La Secounde Part du Graund Abridgment. Tipped-in cancel slip to verso of leaf M2 in third part. Folio (13-1/2" x 9-1/4"). Contemporary calf, rebacked in period style, blind rules to boards, raised bands and lettering piece to spine, endpapers renewed with carefully matched antique paper. Moderate rubbing and light gatoring to boards, heavier rubbing to board edges with wear to corners. Title pages printed within woodcut architectural borders. Moderate toning, faint dampstaining to foot of text block, light soiling to title page of first part, "W" in small later hand to upper right-hand corner. An impressive copy. $2,800. * First Tottell edition. Arguably one of the most imposing volumes in the history of English law, Fitzherbert abridged 13,485 cases under 263 titles in alphabetical order. First published in 1514 (or 1516), it was the first serious attempt to arrange the common law in a systematic manner and was a model for such writers as Brooke and Rolle. According to Boersma, Fitzherbert accomplished "nothing less than to abridge all notes of significant cases at common law." A standard work in Great Britain, it was equally important in the American colonies. Thomas Jefferson, for example, owned a copy from 1577. Graham and Heckel refer to this work as the "book that 'made' the common law." Beale's record for the second part differs from our copy, which matches that in the ESTC. The most notable difference is that the Beale copy does not include the first 128 leaves of the second part. Boersma, "Sir Anthony Fitzherbert: A Biographical Sketch and Short Bibliography," Law Library Journal 71 (1978) 395. Graham and Heckel, "The Book That 'Made' the Common Law," Law Library Journal 51 (1957) 101. Sowerby, C.
Book number 71512