Coustumes du Bailliage de Sens ancies ressorts d’iceluy, Redigées, arestées au mois de Novembre, l’An Mil cinq cents cinquante cinq, par Ordonnance du Roy.
Sens, De l’Imprimerie de Gilles Richeboys, 1556
FIRST EDITION. 4to. 3 parts in 1 vol. pp. (xii) 95 (i) pp. 174 (ii) 70 (ii). Roman and Italic letter. Large woodcut printer’s device on t-p, and verso of last leaf of first part, fine large historiated woodcut initials and headpieces, early acquisition note in blank outer margin of title “Cet present livre est a moy fait a bourbonne le 14 Septembre 1586, Claude Lebon?, Bourbonne”, another “A Lennot Le jeune a Fouqueure, pralicier 1717 cl du Roy, et la Mairie du fouqueure 1725” on pastedown. Light age yellowing and water-staining in places, minor marginal spotting in places, tiny single worm hole in first few leaves, occasional marginal thumb mark. A well margined, entirely unsophisticated copy, in contemporary limp vellum, remains of ties.
Rare first edition of the reformed “Coutumes” of the ancient town of Sens and its region, edited by Christophe de Thou, Christophe Harlay and Barthelemy Faye by order of the King; the third book printed in Sens and the first by this printer. It is particularly rare ‘The Repertoire bibliographique des livres imprimes en France au Seizieme Siecle” locates two complete copies only, one printed on vellum at the British library and the other at the Bibliotheque Municipal of Sens. (another is now at Berkeley). The work is of great interest for the modernizing and systematizing of the medieval feudal “Coustumes” of Sens. It is divided into three parts; the first the final revision of the “Coutumes” created by the three magistrates. The second is the “Proces Verbal” a detailed, authenticated account of the proceedings in the exercise of the revision of the Coutumes, including a list of all the “Prelats, Abbes, Chapitres, Colleges &Persones Ecclesiastiques, Ducs, Comtes, Barons, Chastelains & Seigneurs Iusticers, Les Officiers du Roy, Advocats, Procureurs, Bourgeois” whom the work would concern, providing a form of census. The third is a printing of the ancient unrevised Coustumes. It is most interesting not only in revealing the changes it makes to the quasi feudal ‘Coustumes’, but for providing a detailed account of why and how those changes were made. Christophe de Thou (1508–1582) was an eminent French advocate, and the First President of the Parliament of Paris in 1554. He served as chancellor to the Duke of Anjou and was an advisor successively to Henry II, Charles IX, and Henry III. His son, Jacques Auguste de Thou was the noted French historian and book collector. An entirely original copy of this rare and attractively printed work.
BM STC Fr. C16th p. 399. Répertoire bibliographique des livres imprimes en France au Seizième Siècle. Vol 6 p. 73. Van Praet II 163. Brunet II 163