Les Plees del Coron: Diuisees in Plusiours Titles & Common Lieux. Per Queux Home Plus Redement et Plenairemẽt Trouera, Quelqz chose que il Quira, Touchant les Ditz Plees

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by Sir William Staunford

Les Plees del Coron
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Sir William Staunford
Published Londini: in aedibus Richardi Tottelli
Date 1560
Volumes volume set
Pages [14], 198 leaves

Sir William Staunford (1509-1558) was an English jurist who was called to the bar sometime before 1536. One of his first appointments in the 1530’s was as steward of St Mary’s College, Stafford. In 1545 Staunford was elected to parliament for Stafford.[1] In 1542 he was appointed attorney-general to the newly established court of general surveyors of crown lands and obtained a grant of arms. The following year he became a justice of the peace for Middlesex. Staunford became a bencher of Gray's Inn in 1545, and was created serjeant-at-law in 1552.[2] In 1553 Queen Mary appointed him one of the queen's serjeants. The following year she appointed him a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Staunford went on to receive knighthood in 1555, and died in 1558.[3]

Staunford’s best work, Les Plees del Coron, was a textbook on criminal law. It was heavily based on the material gathered in the title "Corone" in Fitzherbert's Graunde Abridgment. Staunford arranged it in chapters in the form of a continuous text, with passages quoted from Glanvill, Bracton, and relevant acts of Parliament. It was the first legal textbook in England to adopt the practice of citing specific authorities for every proposition, and as such had a major influence on legal literature.[4]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Both Dean's Memo[5] and the Brown Bibliography[6] include Staunford's Les Plees del Coron based on Alan Smith's assertion that Thomas Jefferson cites the work in his commonplace book.[7] Dean suggests the first edition (1560), while Brown prefers the 1583-1590 edition based on Jefferson's copy at the Library of Congress.[8] Brown lists the title as questionable, as his study of Jefferson's commonplace books revealed no references to the Les Plees del Coron.

As yet, the Wolf Law Library has been been unable to purchase a copy of Staunford's Les Plees del Coron.


  1. J. H. Baker, "Stanford, Sir William (1509–1558),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed January 6, 2014.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 14 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  6. 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: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
  7. Alan McKinley Smith, "Virginia Lawyers, 1680-1776: The Birth of an American Profession" (PhD diss., The Johns Hopkins University, 1967), 263.
  8. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 2:293-294 [no.1945].