The Orphan's Legacy

From Wythepedia: The George Wythe Encyclopedia
Revision as of 14:17, 4 February 2014 by Ajsnider (talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

The orphan's legacy: or, A testamentary abridgment : In three parts. I. Of last wills and testaments. II. Of executors and administrators. III. Of legacies and devises. Wherein the most material points of law relating to that subject, are succintly treated, as well according to the common and temporal, as ecclesiastical and civil laws of this realm by John Godolphin

The Orphan's Legacy

Title page from The Orphan's Legacy, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author John Godolphin
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by the assigns of Richard and Edward Atkins, esquires, for Robert Vincent
Date 1701
Edition Fourth ed. much augm. and enl.
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages 4 p.l., 478 (i. e. 476), [20] p.
Desc. (24 x 18 cm.)
Location [[Shelf {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

A one-time judge of the English court of admiralty, John Godolphin enjoyed a reputation as a staunch defender of civil law.[1] The Orphan's Legacy, first published in 1674, covers a "subject dear to the civilian lawyers: the law of testate."[2]

"The first really able books upon ecclesiastical law as a whole were written by Godolphin in the latter half of the seventeenth century. (...) [one of them is his] Orphan's Legacy [which deals with the subject] from the point of view not only of the ecclesiastical law, but also of the common law, and of the rising jurisdiction of the Chancellor."[3]

Place in Wythe's Library

Quoted in John Marshall's notes while he studied law under Wythe. Used in Wythe arguments in Bolling v. Bolling.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

The law library's copy is the fourth, final and best edition. The volume is bound in early nineteenth-century three-quarter calf over marbled boards with raised bands with a lettering piece to the spine. Minor scribbling (a child's signature?) to margins of one leaf. Purchased from the Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.

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


  1. Jeffrey R. Collins, "Godolphin, John (1617–1678)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 20 April 2013. (Subscription required for access.
  2. Collins, 'Godolphin.'
  3. Holdsworth, A History of English Law, V:12; Sweet & Maxwell, Bibliography of the British Commonwealth 1:492 (13).