MAGNA CARTA AND STATUTES, LAW TRACTS, AND REGISTER OF WRITS, in Latin and Anglo-Norman French, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [England, perhaps London, c.1300].\n\n249 x 162mm. iii + 124 + iii leaves, COMPLETE, pencil foliation by Eric Millar, perhaps originally written as three booklets as indicated by differences in ink, script, and ruling: I: gatherings 1-3 (ff.1-31, ending with a blank verso), with 45 lines per page; II: gatherings 4-9 (ff.32-79), with 43 lines per page; III: gatherings 10-14 (ff.80-124), with 44 lines per page; section I has blank lines between each item, as if for a rubric, section II has headings in larger script, crossed-through in red; written space variable but c.195 x 120mm, DECORATED WITH LARGE PARTED AND FLOURISHED INITIALS IN RED AND BLUE WITH PENWORK EXTENSIONS running the full width and height of the text (ff.1, 80), further large initials throughout in blue with red penwork (3 blanks cancelled after f.31, and one after f.124). Modern brown morocco binding by W.H. Smith & Son Ltd, signed on back turn-in, with two clasps, the spine with title in gilt capitals ‘Statuta / Angliae’ and ‘MS. / Saec. / XIV’.\n\nPROVENANCE:\n(1) The latest dated document is of 1299 (ff.30v-31), and the volume begins with copies of the 1297 inspeximus of Magna Carta and the Forest Charter, not the 1300 inspeximus, as is normal in post-1300 manuscripts, suggesting a date in, or shortly after, 1299. (2) HENRY THOMAS LIDDELL (1797-1878), 1ST EARL RAVENSWORTH: signed ‘Ravensworth January 1856’ on a slip of paper stuck to a front flyleaf; probably by descent to Arthur Thomas Liddell, 5th baron of Ravensworth, and in his sale at Anderson & Garland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 28 September 1920. A copy of the Nova Statuta from the same collection is now at Houghton Library, Harvard (MS Richardson 40). (3) ERIC GEORGE MILLAR (1887–1966), Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum: his book-label; bought on 21 February 1938 from Myers & Co., Catalogue 320, no 190; listed in The Eric Millar Bequest, 1968, p.12 no 26; his sale, Sotheby’s, 23 April 1956, lot 66, bought by: (4) H.F. Smith (1956-1991), of Leicester; his sale at Heathcote and Ball, Leicester, 25 July 1991, lot 548, to Quaritch; Quaritch, Catalogue 1151, Continental Books, 1991, no 56; bought by: (5) THE SCHØYEN COLLECTION, Oslo and London, MS 1390: their book-label; said by them to be ‘THE EARLIEST MAGNA CARTA IN PRIVATE HANDS’; exhibited at the Library of the Law Faculty of the University of Oslo, May 1994.\n\nCONTENTS:\nI. Magna Carta and Statutes: Magna Carta, with inspeximus of Edward I, dated at Westminster 12 October 1297, ff.1-3; Charter of the Forest ff.3-4; Sentences of excommunication following the Great Charters f.4; Statutes of Merton ff.4v-5v; Marlborough ff.5v-8v; Gloucester, in French, ff.8v-10, and Explanationes of Gloucester f.10; Acton Burnel, in French ff.10-11; Winchester, in French f.11-12; Westminster I, in French ff.12v-18; Bigamy f.18r-v; Westminster II ff.18v-29; Westminster III ff.29r-v; Statute of Champerty in French f.29v; Statute of William Butler, alias De Vasto Facto ff.29v-30; De iuratoribus f.30r-v; the Statute of Fines Levied, dated ‘ii die Aprilis Anno regni nostri xxvij etc.’  ff.30v-31. II. Law tracts: Tractatus bastardie ff.32-34v; Modus componendi brevia ff.35-37v; Exceptiones ad cassandum brevia ff.37v-40v; Tractatus corone ff.40v-41v; Placita corone ff.41v-43v; Articuli in narrando observandi cum exteptionibus generalibus contra brevia, consisting of four pieces ff.43v-49; Brevia placitata, in French ff.49v-64; Cadit assisa ff.64-68v, Judicium essoniorum ff.68v-72; and ‘Summa que votatur Natura brevium’, in French (the earliest version, beginning ‘Brefe de novele disseisine sert la ou homme fut seisei en son demayne com de franc tenement [...]’) ff.72-78; two near-contemporary additions: Articles of the Eyre f.78, and Consuetudines et assise de foresta f.79. III. Register of writs: the first addressed to the bailiff of Nottingham; on the final page (f.124) are added five short pieces; the first headed ‘Quia Barones non ponentur in assisis’, the last ‘Attachiamentum’.\n\nMAGNA CARTA IS THE MOST RENOWNED AND INFLUENTIAL LEGAL DOCUMENT OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD: THE PRESENT MANUSCRIPT IS A UNIQUE ASSEMBLAGE OF STATUTES INCLUDING THE FIRST VERSION OF MAGNA CARTA INSTITUTED ON THE STATUTE ROLLS. THE 800TH ANNIVERSARY IS CELEBRATED THIS YEAR and is marked by an exhibition at the British Library with an accompanying catalogue – ‘Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy’ – edited by Claire Breay and Julian Harrison.