Skip to Main Content

Selden Society Publications and the History of Early English Law

Access to English & American legal history dating back to A.D. 1066 in an online digital format


The Selden Society Publications and the History of Early English Law includes a wealth of content that has been broken into 8 subcollections (plus All Titles and Other Online Sources).  

Users are able to browse materials in all subcollections under the All Titles tab by:

For example, to browse by subject, click the Subject tab to view an A-Z index

Click any subject—for example, Pleas of the crown—to view all results on this subject:

Browse through the Selden Society Annual Series, which contains materials of the common law, including law reports dating back to the Middle Ages. It also includes early treatises, judges’ notebooks, and lectures, as well as readings on statutes that show the development of the legal profession, early legal education, the inns of court, and their teaching methods. The Selden Society edits, translates, and publishes one volume each year, which often contains materials appearing in print for the first time. 

Users are also able to browse the Supplementary Series commenced in 1965 to include shorter works not appropriate for the main volumes. Bibliographies of manuscripts and lists identifying judges and leading lawyers throughout the centuries are just some of the sources found in the Supplementary Series.

From the late thirteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Year Books are the most important source for the history of English law. The Year Books of the reign of Richard II from 1377-1399 were never printed, but a number of them survive in manuscript form. The Ames Foundation has printed a modern edition of these manuscripts in edited French text, with the Latin text of the record of the case, followed by the English translation of both the French and Latin. The Foundation also adds significant scholarly introductions, tables, and elaborate indexes to make them a significant resource for early English legal history. 

HeinOnline users can browse these featured Ames Foundation publications and many more:

The Welsh Legal History Society was founded in 1999.  The Society exists to spread knowledge of, and promote research into, the rich history of law in Wales. That history extends from a fascinating medieval indigenous legal system to the specific (sometimes surprising) application of law within Wales in more modern times.

This new subcollection includes a series of works featuring scholarly editions, collections of essays, and monographs across a variety of periods and subjects. The work of lawyers and commentators with Welsh connections is also addressed by the Society. Its historical interests cover both the doctrinal history of the law and the contextual study of the law in the society in which it operates.

Featured title included:

Welsh Legal History Society

  • Full text: 13v. Welsh Legal History Society, 2001-2013
  • Indexed: 16v. Welsh Legal History Society, 2001-2016

Abridgments represent an attempt to encapsulate the law into a single work, containing complete statements of the law as it was known at the time, often arranged alphabetically by topic. Browse the most intelligent, authoritative, and historically significant abridgments by author or title.

Famous authors include:

  • Henry Rolle
  • Charles Viner
  • Anthony Fitzherbert

Featured titles include:  

Revised Reports, Statutes & Cases

Browse early English law using reports of cases and statutes

Featured title:

Statutes of the Realm, Vols. 1-11 (1235-1713)

English Legal History Classics

Find more than 1,000 titles that every lawyer, student, or scholar who focused on English or American legal history once held on their own bookshelves or frequented their library to read through the hundreds of pages of legal records and accounts.

Featured title:

Analysis of the Laws of England, 3rd edition (1758), 5th edition (762), and new edition (1856), by William Blackstone

Other Online Sources on Early English History

Continue your research outside of HeinOnline with provided links to relevant sources.

Scholarly Articles

Browse law review articles by article title, author, most-cited, year (newest first), or year (oldest first)