Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Source Details

Marsden, Reginald G., ed., Select Pleas in the Court of Admiralty. 2 vols. (Selden Society, 6) Read this source online

Text name(s): 

Number of pages of primary source text: 17


Dates: 1390 - 1545

Archival Reference: PRO, Chancery Miscellanea (C47) and High Court of Admiralty (HCA)

Original Language(s): 

  • Anglo-Norman
  • Latin


  • Translated into English.
  • Original language included.

Translation Comments: Facing page text and translation

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • England
  • Flanders
  • France


Record Types: 

  • Court Roll
  • Petition

Subject Headings: 

  • Diplomacy
  • Economy - Trade
  • Law - Crime
  • Law - Secular
  • Maritime
  • Towns / Cities
  • Travel / Pilgrimage


  • Index
  • Introduction


Vol. I: The earliest case (in 1390) records the testimony in Anglo-Norman and court proceedings in Latin; “Sampson v. Curteys” (pp. 1-17, with translations on pp. 149-65). Two cases cover the period 1390-1404; the others date to 1527-1545. The cases involve a wide variety of matters, including thefts, assault, accidents, and murder at sea; seizure of ships and cargoes by pirates; shipwreck and salvage; breach of contract to ship goods; hire of mariners and pilots; sale and disputed ownership of ships and cargoes; disputes on responsibility for losses at sea; drownings and deodand; local port charges; and fishing disputes. Vol. II (Selden Society, v. 11, 1897) covers the period 1547-1602.

Introduction Summary: 

Vol. 1 contains an extensive Introduction (pp. xi-lxxxxvii) that traces the development of the Admiralty court and its powers. The Introduction to vol. 2 (pp. xi-lxxxiii) covers the later history of the Admiralty Court; the admiral’s rights over wreck and salvage in ports (including much medieval evidence); extracts from inquisitions at the Cinque Ports from the early 15C on (pp. xxviii-xxxii, lxii-lxiv); notes on the early law of wreck; writs of prohibition against admiralty jurisdiction; early (temp Edw. I forward) references to the Admiralty Court; and a table of some cases in the Admiralty Court from 1528 to 1602 not included in these volumes.

Cataloger: MAK