[MAGNA CARTA]. Secunda pars Veterum Statutorum.

London, in edibus Thome Bertheleti regii impressoris, anno dom. 1532. mense Ianuar[ii]


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. [iv], 76. A⁴ ²B-K⁸ ²L⁴. Black letter, some Roman and Italic. Title within woodcut border, woodcut historiated initials, “The Law is the life of the common wealth” in an early hand on verso of title. Title a little dusty, final 4 ff. loose and a little dogeared, occasional minor foxing to margins, occasional mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean with excellent margins, disbound and wrapped in an early black letter psalm leaf, loose in contemporary stiff vellum wallet with cuts for cords, a little soiled, small tears at head and tail of spine.

Rare first edition of the ‘Secunda Pars Veterum Stautorum’, a collection of early statutes, often found with a first part, the Magna Carta, though issued and saleable and often reprinted separately. It contains many important early statutes such as the ‘Statuta Valliae’, which provided the constitutional basis for the government of the Principality of Wales from 1284, superseded only three years after this printing in 1535 when Henry VIII made Wales unequivocally part of the “realm of England”.

“The small edition of the ‘Antiqua Statuta’, first printed by Pynson in 1508, and afterwards frequently reprinted, contains Magna Charta, Charta de Foresta, the Statues of Merton, Marlbridge, Westminster, 1 and 2, and other statutes previous to 1 Edw. III. in Latin and French respectively. These are the earliest printed copies now know of those statutes. … In 1531 Berthelet printed an edition of the ‘Antiqua Statuta’, similar to the editions by Pynson, with some additions. In 1532 Berthelet also printed a collection of the statutes previous to 1 Edw. III. not included in the ‘Antiqua Statuta’. This collection he intituled ‘Secunda Pars Veterum Statutorum’, and it is always so distinguished. It was frequently reprinted. The statutes contained in it are in French and Latin respectively. Neither in the ‘Antiqua Statuta’ or in the ‘Secunda Pars Veterum Statutorum’, were the contents arranged with any chronological accuracy. In the Antiqua Statuta the Two Charters, and the Statutes of Merton, and Marlbridge, and Westminster 1 and 2, are placed first, and the other matters follow in a very confused manner. No better order is preserved in the ‘Secunda Pars’. Charles Purton Cooper ‘An Account of the Most Important Public Records of Great Britain.’

The binding is an interesting and extremely rare survival; the block is wrapped in an early printed leaf which it seems from the same work as the leaf used for the stubs within the book, suggesting that the leaf was originally intended for use in the binding as pastedowns. The Vellum wallet cover has cuts in place for the binding cords also suggesting that the book was being prepared for a binding that was never completed. It has remained in such an unfinished state probably since the sixteenth century.

An exceptionally rare and important first edition of these early statutes.

ESTC S101049. STC 9271. Beale, J.H. Engl. law, S9, 21.
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