Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

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

Source Details

Arnold, Morris S., ed., trans., Year Books of Richard II: 2 Richard II 1378-1379 (Cambridge, Mass: The Ames Foundation)

Text name(s): 

Number of pages of primary source text: 124


    Dates: 1378 - 1379

    Archival Reference: London, Lincoln's Inn, Hale MS. 77; British Museum, Add. MS. 32,087; British Museum, Add. MS. 5,926; Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodleian MS. 189; Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS. Hh.2.8; Chelmsford, Chelmsford Record Office, D/DP L30

    Original Language(s): 

    • Anglo-Norman
    • Latin


    • Original language included.

    Translation Comments: Facing-page translation.

    Geopolitical Region(s): 

    • England


    Record Types: 

    • Court Roll
    • Law - Legislation

    Subject Headings: 

    • Economy - Crafts and Industry
    • Economy - Guilds and Labor
    • Economy - Trade
    • Government
    • Law - Crime
    • Law - Secular
    • Peasants


    • Index
    • Appendix
    • Introduction


    “Year Books” are the modern English name that is now typically given to the earliest law reports of England. The documents edited in this volume contain court records of pleas (such as property disputes, trade regulations, and criminal cases) given during years 1378 and 1379 of Richard II’s reign. Arnold divides the documents into 4 sections, one each for the Trinity, Michaelmas, Hilary, and Easter terms. Several indices conclude the volume: a concordance of this edition with other abridgments of the Year Book; a table of statues; a table of types of cases; a table of the individual cases; an index of people and places mentioned within; and an index of subjects.

    The Boston University Law School has digitized many Year Books from the years 1268-1535 and organized each individual entry in a fully searchable online database . The cases found in this volume can be located by searching for regnal year 2 of Richard II.

    Introduction Summary: 

    Arnold begins his introduction (41 pp.) with a discussion of the haphazard manuscript tradition of the Year Books of Richard II and divides the cases into a number of categories, stating how many times each type of case is noted in the Year-Book. He then gives a commentary on several prominent cases relating to suits involving liability for wrongs and commercial law. The next section is devoted to the beginning of the serjeant’s Order, or the Order of the Coif, which was named for the white hood worn by medieval lawyers and from which the judges of the Court of Common Pleas, and later the King’s Bench, were appointed. Arnold’s final section discusses the 6 manuscripts used to create this volume and his editorial process. A legal calendar for 2 Richard II follows the introduction.

    Cataloger: AM