Ars Transferendi Dominium, the Second Part or, A Sure Law-Guide to the Conveyancer

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by John Brydall

Ars Transferendi Dominium, the Second Part
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author John Brydall
Published London: Printed by the assigns of R. and E. Atkyns ... for Samuel Heyrick ... and Isaac Cleave ...
Date 1698
Volumes volume set

John Brydall (Bridall) was born in Chatsworth, Devonshire in 1635 and lived at least until 1705 (the last known date of his published work).[1] He was the son of John Brydall, who was a lawyer and a Barrister at Lincoln's Inn (one of the four Inns of Court in London). John Brydall entered Queen's College in 1652 and graduated in 1655.[2] Prior to graduating, he enrolled as a low ranking member at Lincoln's Inn and was considered the obvious choice to replace his father upon his stepping down.[3] At some point in his legal career, it appears that he acted as secretary to Sir Harbottle Grimston, Master of the Rolls.[4] While one source indicates that by the time of his death he had authored thiry-six legal works, there seems to be some confusion between what he wrote and what his father may have written.[5]

Ars Transferendi Dominium Or, a Sure Law-Guide to the Conveyancer was published in two parts, sometimes bound together, with both parts focusing on the legal issues involved in the transfer or conveyance of property.[6] Divided into discussions of eleven different methods of conveyance of property, each section begins with general definitions and discussion, followed by Brydall's observations on the topic.[7] The second part of the book includes a section of questions and their resolutions, starting with "Feoffments." The questions are based on cases, and are followed by answers given in the Socratic method.[8]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

There is no doubt that George Wythe owned Ars Transferendi Dominium—a copy at the Library of Congress of the 1698 edition of the second part includes Wythe's bookplate.[9] Thomas Jefferson also listed "Brydall’s conveyancer. 8vo." in his inventory of Wythe's Library, noting that he kept the volume himself. He later sold it to the Library of Congress. Both Brown's Bibliography[10] and George Wythe's Library[11] on LibraryThing) include the second part of Ars Transferendi Dominium. Brown suggests the Wythe/Jefferson copy, which has been rebound, may have once included both parts of the treatise.

The Wolf Law Library has yet to acquire a copy of Ars Transferendi Dominium.

See also


  1. Michael de L. Landon, "Brydall, John (b. c.1635, d. in or after 1705?)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed December 6, 2013.
  2. John Richard Magrath, The Queen's College, vol. 2, 1646-1877 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1921), 54.
  3. de L. Landon, "Brydall, John (b. c.1635, d. in or after 1705?)."
  4. Magrath, The Queen's College, 54.
  5. de L. Landon, "Brydall, John (b. c.1635, d. in or after 1705?)"; Magrath, The Queen's College, 54.
  6. Unsigned review of Ars transferendi dominium, by John Brydall, The Law Times, May 23, 1896, 610-11.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:290-291 [no.1937]
  10. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012, rev. May, 2014) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  11. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013.