The Reports of That Late and Learned Judge, Thomas Owen

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by Thomas Owen

Thomas Owen (d.1598) was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1562, called to the bar in 1570, and made a bencher in 1579.[1] He had a reputation "above all [as] a man of very sound and reliable judgement."[2] His Reports are occasionally cited, but the book "enjoys no particular reputation one way or the other."[3] The volume most likely derives mainly from a French manuscript by Owen, held by Lincoln's Inn, although some of the cases occurred after Owen's death.[4]

Bibliographic Information

Author: Thomas Owen.

Title: The Reports of That Late and Learned Judge, Thomas Owen ... Wherein are Many Choice Cases, Most of Them Throughly Argued by the Learned Serjeants, and After Argued and Resolved by the Grave Judges of Those Times.

Publication Info: London: Printed by T.R. for H. Twyford, T. Dring, and J. Place, 1656.

Edition: First edition; [12], 158 [i.e. 154], [8] pages.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Owen's [reports] and given by Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr. Only one edition was published.[5] Three of the Wythe Collection sources (Dean's Memo[6], Brown's Bibliography[7] and George Wythe's Library[8] on LibraryThing) include Owen's Reports. A copy at the University of Virginia may be Wythe's actual copy. It includes an inscription "Given by Thos. Jefferson to D. Carr 1806." It also has the signature on the title page: "Wm. Nelson, Gent."[9]

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Commercially rebound ca. 1980.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.


  1. David Ibbetson, "Owen, Thomas (d. 1598)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 18 Sept 2013. (Subscription required for access.)
  2. Ibid.
  3. John William Wallace, The Reporters, Arranged and Characterized with Incidental Remarks, 4th ed., rev. and enl. (Boston: Soule and Bugbee, 1882), 153.
  4. Wallace, The Reporters, 153-154.
  5. J. G. Marvin, Legal Bibliography or a Thesaurus of American, English, Irish, and Scotch Law Books (Philadelphia: T. & J. W. Johnson, Law Booksellers, 1847), 551.
  6. 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).
  7. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  8. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013,
  9. Brown.