REGISTER OF WRITS, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
240 x 173mm. 231 leaves: 17(of 8, ii cancelled blank), 2-188, 1910, 20-288, 296(of 8, v and vi cancelled blanks), COMPLETE, kalendarium of two columns of 41 lines written in brown-black ink in a small English legal bookhand between single, triple and double verticals and 42 horizontals ruled in ink, text justification: 160 x 140mm, additional pairs of horizontals in upper and lower margins; writs, 41 lines between one single and one pair of verticals and 43 horizontals, justification: 172 x 113mm, headings in brown-black ink, paragraph marks alternately red or blue, two- and three-line initials of burnished gold against grounds and infills of dark pink and blue with white decoration throughout, LARGE INITIAL with monochrome-patterned staves of blue against a ground of burnished gold with pink and blue foliage sprays in the infill, a bar border in the inner margin of burnished gold, blue and pink with coiling leaves around it, extending into upper and lower margins as ink tendrils with small green leaves and pink and blue flower and leaf terminals (waterstain to bottom of lower margin of first thirty leaves, very slight smudging to inner corners of border on f.8, occasional inconsequential spots). Modern brown morocco, title gilt.
1. Undoubtedly written in London at one of the workshops working for the Inns of Court. Although writs were issued by the Royal Chancery, these formularies were also owned by private lawyers and religious houses.
Calendar of writs ff.2-7; Registrum Brevium, starting with the Writ of Right dated 8 Henry [VI] ff.8-229v
The Register of Writs is a formulary book of real or invented documents issued by the Chancery. Such collections were already being compiled in the twelfth century. Necessarily, with the enactment of new Statutes, they had to be constantly updated and the spaces left throughout the manuscript would have enabled additions to be made in each section.
No writ is dated later than the 8th year of Henry's reign (1430), and the style of decoration places the manuscript within a whole group of legal manuscripts produced by specialist craftsmen in the middle of the 15th century.