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Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700$
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Adam Fox

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251032.001.0001

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Local Custom, Memory, and Record

Local Custom, Memory, and Record

(p.259) 5 Local Custom, Memory, and Record
Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700

Adam Fox

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the relationship between oral and written transmission in the communication of customary law during the 16th- and 17th century England. Custom served to structure a lived environment of ‘unwritten beliefs, sociological norms, and usages asserted in practice but never enrolled in any by-law’. Tradition remained the very essence of custom. Cases that appeared before the equity side of the court of Exchequer between 1560 and 1686, highlighted the complex relationship between oral and written evidence in disputes over custom.

Keywords:   local custom, customary law, tradition, exchequer, oral and written transmission, sociological norms

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