Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

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

Source Details

Pardessus, J.M., ed., "Droit maritime de l'Angleterre" in Collection de lois maritimes antérieures au XVIIIe siècle (Vol. 4. Paris: Imprimerie royale, pp. 189-220) Read this source online

Text name(s): Droit maritime d l'Angleterre; Lois de Guillaume; Lettres-patentes d'Edouard I; L'Enquète de 1338; Arrètés a Queenborough; Statut de 1601; Acte de 1664; Lois des Bourgs

Number of pages of primary source text: 17


    Dates: 1100 - 1664

    Archival Reference: 

    Original Language(s): 

    • Anglo-Norman
    • Latin


    • Translated into French.
    • Original language included.

    Translation Comments: The Statute of 1601 and Act of 1664 were written in English. Modern French translations are printed in parallel columns for these items only.

    Geopolitical Region(s): 

    • England
    • British Isles
    • France
    • Europe
    • Scotland


    Record Types: 

    • Law - Legislation
    • Court Roll

    Subject Headings: 

    • Economy - Trade
    • Law - Secular
    • Government
    • Maritime
    • Royalty / Monarchs
    • Travel / Pilgrimage
    • War - Military History


    • Introduction


    The seven documents edited here (some as extracts) demonstrate the evolution of English maritime law from the Norman Conquest to the seventeenth century. The first document, an extract from the laws of William the Conqueror, indicates the existence of English maritime laws before the adoption of the Rules of Oleron — an adoption which had taken place by the 13th century as illustrated in the second document, “Lettres-patentes d’Edouard I.” The third and fourth documents, extracts of a survey of 1338 and articles of the 1375 Queenborough inquisition, discuss penalties for crimes at sea and demonstrate that English maritime law made additions to the Rules of Oleron. The fifth and sixth documents, the “Statut de 1601” and “Acte de 1664,” both reference rules for maritime insurance. The final document, an extract from the Scottish Leges Burgorum discusses disputes between towns and foreign merchants.

    Introduction Summary: 

    Introductory remarks (5 pages) for these documents discuss the importance of custom or precedent in the establishment of English maritime law. While English admiralty law was heavily influenced by Roman and French law, particularly the Rules of Oleron, the editor also points to the existence of English maritime law before the Conquest. Pardessus describes a treaty between Ethelred, king of Mercia, and the head of a Danish army giving full protection for ships of merchants, even if they were of an enemy country. Despite the existence of Anglo-Saxon law, however, Pardessus argues that English maritime law was most heavily influenced by French laws and customs.

    Cataloger: RJ