Un Abridgment des Plusieurs Cases et Resolutions del Common Ley

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by Henry Rolle

Henry Rolle (1589/90-1656) served as both a politician in the British Parliament and as a judge, primarily on the King's Bench. His legal interests encompassed primarily trade and financial questions as well as the rights of subjects, including habeus corpus, impressment, and martial law. Un Abridgment des Plusieurs Cases et Resolutions del Common Ley is a treatise on common law, edited by Matthew Hale, which Rolle had compiled for his students. [1]

"The historical importance of this Abridgement is the fact that it marks a new departure in the literature of Abridgements. The older abridgments had simply digested Year Book cases under alphabetical headings. Their great defect was the heterogeneous character of the entries collected under each alphabetical head. ... Rolle's Abridgment to some extent remedied this defect—each topic was divided ... into separate headings. But what distinguishes it even more markedly from the abridgments of the older type is the fact that it is more than a mere digest of case law. It contains summaries both of Parliamentary records and of statutes; and therefore it comes nearer than the old abridgments came to being a digest of the whole law.[2]

Bibliographic Information

Author: Henry Rolle.

Title: Un Abridgment des Plusieurs Cases et Resolutions del Common Ley: Alphabeticalment Digest Desouth Severall Titles.

Publication Info: London: Printed for A. Crooke, 1668.

Edition: First edition.

Extent: Two volumes.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Both Dean's Memo[3] and the Brown Bibliography[4] suggest Wythe owned this title based on notes in John Marshall's commonplace book.[5]

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

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


  1. Stuart Handley, "Rolle, Henry (1589/90–1656)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008, accessed 30 May 2013. (Subscription required for access.)
  2. W. S. Holdsworth, A History of English Law (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1924), 5:376.
  3. 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).
  4. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433
  5. The Papers of John Marshall, eds. Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, and Nancy G. Harris (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, in association with the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1974), 1:44.