Skip to Main Content

Legal history: England & common law tradition: 1714 - 1820

Georgian & Regency

Regnal Years

Anne 8 Mar 1702 - 1 Aug 1714

George I 1 Aug 1714 -  11 Jun 1727
George II 11 Jun 1727-  25 Oct 1760
George III 25 Oct 1760 - 29 Jan 1820
(Regency 1810/1811(parts), then 52- 60 Geo III 25 Oct 1811 - 1820)

Adoption of Gregorian/New Style Calendar.
 Under Chesterfield's Act 1751, 24 Geo II c.23 1 January became the first day of 1752, 2 September 1752 was followed by 14 September 1752.

Law Reports

A consider number of gentleman tried their hand (at making money from) law reporting - with varying degrees of success and quality.

By the 1750s there is an improvement in at least some of the quality of the reporting: for example Burrows, Cowper & Douglas.
Durnford & East's Term Repor introduced the concept of virtually contemporaneous reporting of KB cases - and this was extended by Henry Blackstone to CPs, Vesey Junior to Chancery and Anstruther to the Exchequer.

The English Reports (available in print and online, see links below) reprinted those considered still valuable.

The Revised Reports a "republication of such cases in the English courts of common law and equity from the year 1785, as are still [ie late 19th century] of practical utility" are at Cw UK 120 R70. Also online for those with an Oxford SSO, see link below.

The All England Reprint volumes (available online via LexisLibrary) have a smaller selection of old reports from 1558 onwards, including from the Law Times Reports 1843-1975

NOTE: SS (128) Case Notes of Sir Soulden Lawrence 1787 – 1800  (not yet available via HeinOnline)


Comyn's Digest (1760) pre 1740 case law

Bacons' New abridgment (1763-66)

Viner General Abridgment of Law and Equity (1741-1753) 23 volume "remains one of the first recourses for lawyers searching into pro-1800 law" Baker IELH p.186.

The Bodleian has copies of various editions of all of the above - but for conservation reasons would ask readers to consult the online versions (see links below) in the first instance.


Finding sources & contemporary works

Texts on topic


Crime & punishment