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Medieval Medical Recipes : Legal manuscript - Readings on Statutes

Medieval Medical Recipes

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Cambridge University Library, MS Ee.5.22 is a legal manuscript written in England in the later half of the 15th century, probably c. 1485. The vast majority of the texts in this manuscript are in legal French and are copies of a special type of legal text known as 'Readings'. 'Readings' were one of the primary methods by which student and junior lawyers at the Inns of Court in London were instructed in English legal theory and practice before the availability of affordable printed legal textbooks made the need for 'Readings' obsolete. Each year, senior members at each of the Inns of Court would be elected as 'Readers' to give regular 'Readings' for half a year or a year on particular legal topics and statutes. At the 'Readings', statutes and other legal texts would be read aloud by the Reader who would also lecture the audience on the significance of the text. Legal students and junior lawyers would then be asked to debate matters of legal theory arising from the Reading or would take part in mock debates based on what they had just heard. Readings were an important part of legal education in England before the widespread availability of printed legal textbooks, and copies of Readings made by students in the audience (or subsequent recopies of those texts) are present in a number of surviving manuscripts. The original owner and copier of CUL MS Ee.5.22 is unknown, but Baker and Ringrose determined that it is likely that he was a member of Gray's Inn as a note on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(380);return false;'>184v</a>, 'mez secundum Borell', establishes a connection with Gray's Inn as at least one, if not two members of the Inn in the late-15th century had the surname Borell. Readers are encouraged to consult the Baker and Ringrose <i>Catalogue of English Legal Manuscripts</i> for further information. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'><b>References</b>:<br /><div style='list-style-type: disc;'><div style='display: list-item; margin-left: 20px;'>J. H. Baker, and J. S. Ringrose, <i>A Catalogue of English Legal Manuscripts in Cambridge University Library, with Codicological Descriptions of the Early Manuscripts</i> (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1996)</div></div><br /></p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Sarah Gilbert<br /> Project Cataloguer for the Curious Cures Project <br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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