Reports of Divers Choice Cases in Law, Taken by Those Late and Most Judicious Prothonotaries of the Common Pleas, Richard Brownlow and John Goldesborough

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by Richard Brownlow and John Goldesborough

Brownlow and Goldesborough's Reports

Title page from Reports of Divers Choice Cases in Law, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Richard Brownlow and John Goldesborough
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Henry Twyford ... and Samuel Heyrick
Date 1675
Edition Third (volume one), second (volume two)
Language English
Volumes 2 in 1 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 4to (22 cm.)
Location Shelf F-2
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Frontispiece, volume one.

Richard Brownlow (1553-1638) entered Middle Temple in 1583 and became Chief Protonotary of the Court of Common Pleas in 1590, a position he held until his death. [1] John Goldesborough (1568-1618) joined the Middle Temple in 1613, the year he was also appointed Second Prothonotary of Common Pleas.[2]

Historians differ somewhat on the authorship of the two volumes of Brownlow's and Goldesborough's reports. John WIlliam Wallace writes, "the first volume is by Brownlow and Goldesborough; the second by Brownlow alone."[3] One Brownlow biographer disagrees with the joint attribution, stating the "collection of Reports ... had evidently been gathered by Brownlow alone."[4] In contrast, a Goldesborough biographer claims, "Contemporary evidence is unanimous in attributing the first part of these to Goldesburg, and there is no good reason to doubt his authorship."[5] Regardless of the how attribution is distributed among the two, "these reports are not in the first rank of Elizabethan and Jacobean reports, they are workmanlike and succinct, paying particular attention to points of process and procedure."[6]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Both Dean's Memo[7] and the Brown Bibliography[8] suggest Wythe owned the 1675 edition of the first and second parts of this title based on notes in John Marshall's commonplace book.[9] The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy which combined the 3rd edition (1675) of volume one with the 2nd edition (also 1675) of volume two bound together.

Frontispiece, volume one.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in early, perhaps contemporary, calf with blind rules, red morocco label, and gilt lettering to spine. Cover includes tooled design. Contains brief description noted on edge of text-block and the inscription "I warrant these Reports [???], Dan: Browne" on the front free endpaper. Purchased from Longland Books.

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. Christopher W. Brooks, "Brownlow, Richard (1553–1638)Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed September 18, 2013.
  2. David Ibbetson, "Goldesburg, John (1568–1618), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed September 18, 2013.
  3. John William Wallace, The Reporters, Arranged and Characterized with Incidental Remarks, 4th ed. (Boston: Soule and Bugbee, 1882), 164.
  4. Brooks, "Brownlow, Richard."
  5. Ibbetson, "Goldesburg, John."
  6. Ibid.
  7. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 9 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  8. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  9. Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, and Nancy G. Harris, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, in association with the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1974), 1:42.