Un Abridgment des Plusieurs Cases et Resolutions del Common Ley: Alphabeticalment Digest Desouth Severall Titles

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by Henry Rolle

Un Abridgment des Plusieurs Cases et Resolutions del Common Ley

Title page from Un Abridgment des Plusieurs Cases et Resolutions del Common Ley, volume one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Henry Rolle
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed for A. Crooke
Date 1668
Edition First
Language Law French
Volumes 2 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. Folio (34 cm.)
Location Shelf F-5
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Frontispiece, volume one.
Henry Rolle (1589/90-1656) served as both a politician in the British Parliament and as a judge, primarily on the King's Bench. His legal interests encompassed mainly trade and financial matters as well as the rights of subjects, including habeus corpus, impressment, and martial law. Un Abridgment des Plusieurs Cases et Resolutions del Common Ley is a treatise on common law, edited by Matthew Hale, which Rolle had compiled for his students.[1]
"The historical importance of this Abridgement is the fact that it marks a new departure in the literature of Abridgements. The older abridgments had simply digested Year Book cases under alphabetical headings. Their great defect was the heterogeneous character of the entries collected under each alphabetical head. ... Rolle's Abridgment to some extent remedied this defect—each topic was divided ... into separate headings. But what distinguishes it even more markedly from the abridgments of the older type is the fact that it is more than a mere digest of case law. It contains summaries both of Parliamentary records and of statutes; and therefore it comes nearer than the old abridgments came to being a digest of the whole law.[2]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Both Dean's Memo[3] and the Brown Bibliography[4] suggest Wythe owned the first edition of this title based on notes in John Marshall's commonplace book.[5] The Wolf Law Library followed their suggestions and purchased the 1668 edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Rebound in period-style full calf with red morocco gilt labels. Volume two missing title page and front matter.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Headpiece, first page of text, volume two.

See also


  1. Stuart Handley, "Rolle, Henry (1589/90–1656)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed May 30, 2013.
  2. W. S. Holdsworth, A History of English Law (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1924), 5:376.
  3. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 13 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  4. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
  5. Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, and Nancy G. Harris, eds., The Papers of John Marshall (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, in association with the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1974), 1:44.