Clerks Guide

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The Clerks Guide: Leading into Three Parts

by Sir Thomas Manley

The Clerks Guide: Leading into Three Parts
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Sir Thomas Manley
Published London: John Streater
Date 1672
Volumes volume set

London : Printed by John Streater, Henry Twyford, and E. Flesher, assigns of Richard Atkins and Edward Atkins, Esquires, 1672.

Thomas Manley (c. 1628-1676), an English legal and political writer, was admitted to the Middle Temple on February 6, 1655, and called to the bar on January 24, 1673. Son of Thomas Manley, a clerk of the kitchen in Charles I’s household, Manley may have been baptized at St. Margaret’s in Westminster on November 8, 1627. As early as 1650, Manley likely had already published juvenilia. He married his wife, Anne, without his father’s permission and was therefore left only a small sum. After his admittance to the Middle Temple, Manley was appointed library in May 1655, but by June 1658, Manley had been padlocked out of the library and dismissed of his position. Because he did not have to perform the usual formalities and ceremonies when called to the bar, Manley has been erroneously misrepresented to have been appointed to the King ’s Counsel.).[1] He entered the scrivener’s service in 1658, which led to the publication of some of his works.[2]

Published in 1663, Manley’s first legal publication was The Sollicitor, a handbook based on his work as a scrivener.[3] Manley also released volumes 12 and 13 for an abridgement of Coke’s reports, as well as a supplement to Edward Trotman’s earlier abridged volumes.[4] Manley updated John Cowell’s The Interpreter of Words and Terms, originally published 1607, keeping with Cowell’s original purpose of favoring the importance of knowledge of the civil law. [5] In 1676, Manley published an appendix to Thomas Wentworth’s Office and Duty of Executors. Manley also authored numerous political books, including works which illustrated his isolationist economic views.[6]

The Clerk’s Guide, published in 1672, is a book of forms that Manley annotated.[7] In his preface to the work, Manley wrote about the surplus of writings on clerkships which led “the clerk in a maze, [rather] than to lead his client in a safe and well-beaten path.” [8]This work, Manley emphasized, was not just repeating what had already been produced, but was instead getting rid of what was useless, polishing what was unnecessary, and adding what was profitable in the profession.[9] This work has four parts, each addressing areas necessary for clerks. Part 1 addresses indentures, leases, and the like, while part 2 addresses letters of attorney, warrants of attorney, mortgages, licenses, and etcetera. Part 3 regards bills, answers, replications, and rejoynders in chancery, with a fourth part added by Manley to address fines, recoveries, statutes, recognisances, and judgments.[10]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library


  1. C.E.A Cheesman, "Manley, Thomas (c.1628-1676)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed March 17, 2015.
  2. Frank T. Melton, "Absentee Land Management in Seventeenth-Century England," Agricultural History 52, no. 1 (Jan. 1978): 149, accessed March 17, 2015.
  3. Cheesman, "Manley, Thomas (c.1628-1676)"; Melton, "Absentee Land Management in Seventeenth Century England," 149.
  4. Cheesman, "Manley, Thomas (c.1628-1676)."
  5. Cheesman, "Manley, Thomas (c.1628-1676)"; Gary L. McDowell, "The Politics of Meaning: Law Dictionaries and the Liberal Tradition of Interpretation," The American Journal of Legal History 44, no. 3 (Jul. 2000): 265, accessed March 17, 2015.
  6. Cheesman, "Manley, Thomas (c.1628-1676)."
  7. Ibid.
  8. Thomas Manley, The Clerks Guide (London, 1672).
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.

External Links

See bookplate in Google Books