An End or a Beginning?
The culture of textual production that these justices tried to create did not survive the thirteenth century. In the second half of the century, English legal literature became more insular in its outlook. But Bracton and the plea roll collections represent an important moment in the history of the common law, when people were reflecting on what law is and how it should be practiced. Through Bracton we can catch a glimpse of people who were thinking about what it meant to administer the law of the king’s courts, in a time before the common law was the common law. In these texts, we see the justices of the royal courts turning to Roman and canon law for inspiration.
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