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
BrydallArsTransferendiDominium1702 Title.jpg

Title page from Ars Transferendi Dominium, the Second Part, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author John Brydall
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by the assigns of R. and E. Atkyns ... for Samuel Heyrick ... and Isaac Cleave ...
Date 1702
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages [2], 199, [31] p.
Desc. Octavo (20 cm.)
Location Shelf F-3
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

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 barrister at Lincoln's Inn (one of the four Inns of Court in London). The younger Brydall entered Queen's College in 1652 and graduated in 1655.[2] Prior to graduating, he joined Lincoln's Inn as 'heir app[arent]' of his father.[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, the first in 1697 and the second in 1702. Sometimes bound together, both parts focus 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 second part includes Wythe's bookplate.[9][10] 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[11] and George Wythe's Library[12] on LibraryThing include the second part of Ars Transferendi Dominium.[13] Brown suggests the Wythe/Jefferson copy, which has been rebound, may have once included both parts of the treatise.

The Wolf Law Library purchased an available copy of the second part of Ars Transferendi Dominium.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in full calf with blind rules and corner stamps to boards. Spine features raised bands with gilt rules, blind compartments and a gilt-decorated, gilt-lettered red morocco label. Purchased with the George Wythe Boswell-Caracci Room Acquisition Fund.

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.

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]. For the date, Sowerby lists "n.d. [?1698]" and notes "The date 1698 inserted in ink below the imprint." This may have led George Wythe library bibliographers to infer an incorrect publication date of 1698. The second part was published in 1702 per a search of the English Short Title Catalog, on March 16, 2022. No other editions are listed.
  10. John Brydall, Ars Transferendi Dominium, The Second Part: Or, A Sure Law-Guide (London: Printed by the assigns of R. and E. Atkyns Esquires, [1702]).
  11. 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:
  12. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013.
  13. Both bibliographies list the publication date as 1698 based on Sowerby and the date written on the title page.