Eirenarcha, or the Office of the Justices of peace. (with) The Duties of Constables, Borsholders, Tythingmen, and such other Lowe and Lay Ministers of the Peace.

London, Companie of Stationers, 1610.


8vo., pp.(ii) 634 (lxxxii), pp. 94 (ii).Two parts in one, separate title to each. Mainly black letter. Title within woodcut border of delicate scrolls, slightly soiled in lower margin. Woodcut initials and ornaments. Fly taken from a printed volume of Latin verse laments on the death of Bodley. Printing flaw to page 128, some very slight age yellowing. A very good copy in contemporary calf with four raised bands, covers and spine ruled in blind. Sympathetically rebacked preserving original spine.

This enlarged edition of Lambard’s “Eirenarcha,” first published in 1581, is published here with his “Duties of Constables.” “Written in a clear and unaffected style, this manual remained for a long time the standard authority; Judge Blackstone speaks favourably of this work, and recommends it to the perusal of students.” (DNB). The first Book contains a “theorique (or insight) of the office of the Justices”; the second sets out he jurisdiction of and the practice and procedure before the justices of the peace, the third of the justices with the quarter sessions, the fourth of the quarter sessions alone. It is followed by a table containing (“very neerly all”) the printed statutes and a selection of precedents.

The Duties of Constables, first published in 1582 and enlarged in this edition, is in itself very useful, published separately but often bound with the Eirenarcha. A good edition of one of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’ best handbooks for practitioners in the courts of common law. All good criminal law books tell the reader a great deal not just about the law but about the society that made them. There are detailed indictments inter alia for killing a man by witchcraft, bewitching a horse, for the rape of a child or maid (the age distinction was ten) and for keeping a bowling alley, hearing mass and for usury.

STC 15172, 15158. Lowndes IV 1301.


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