Ex libro Francisci Moore Militis servientis ad Legem scripto propria Manu ipsius [Manuscript collection of Law Cases dating from 1533 to 1603].

MOORE Sir Francis 1559-1621 (1625-30])


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Manuscript on paper (Fool's-cap watermark), neatly written in a clear secretary hand with almost no errors. Folio. [Text: 334 x 215 mm]. 306 leaves (main text ends on f. 275). Contemporary limp vellum (edges of the covers chewed in places; spine stained).

[London: circa

Sir Francis Moore (1559-1621) was a lawyer and M.P., practising at the Chancery Bar, promoted to Serjeant in 1614 and knighted in 1617. His collection of interesting / useful "Cases", all in Law French and with the usual contractions and with occasional quotes from legal documents or verbal depositions in English, circulated widely in manuscript and there are five copies in the British Library Add. MSS 25191-2 & 35937, Harley MS 4585 (starting like this one at 24 Henry VI) and Lansdowne MS 1059 and another at Yale Law Library [ex Sir Matthew Hale]. Except for the Harley MS all are described as covering the same period 24 Henry VIII to 44/5 Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and all seem to begin with the same formula stating that they were copied from his own autograph manuscript ("Ex Libro ... scripto propria Manu ipsius").


They were published as Cases collect & report per Sir Francis Moore chivaler, serjeant del ley ... per l'original remainent en les maines de Sir Gefrey Palmer Atturney-General (1663; reprinted 1675 & reissued 1688) with an Exact Abridgement in English by William Hughes (1675). The manuscript differs considerably from the printed text both in the spelling of names (the manuscript appears to be more accurate) but also in the length of entries and the use of contractions and (as can be seen below) a large number of cases (mostly but not exclusively from the reign of James I) included in the printed text are not present in any of the manuscript copies that we have traced. There are more sidenotes in the printed text which is approximately 40-50% longer and extends to 917 pages and comprises 1308 cases reaching into the reign of James I (Year 18 = 1620/1). Moore died in September 1621 aged 62/3 and may still have been collecting reports of interesting cases to the end. In addition, the cases in the printed text are numbered and there are indices of names of plaintiffs and subjects rendering the work much more useful - indeed it is hard to see how the manuscript was usable at all and, in this case at least, there is no sign that it has been used.


The manuscript starts with:

F.1r a short extract from Trinity Term, 24 Henry VI (June to July 1446), Roll 314 [not in the printed text]

F.1r William Chappel v Edward Church [Capell v Church on a judgment in the court at Castle Rising, Norfolk], Michaelmas Term, 1 Henry VII = printed text, p. 1 (Case 1)

F.1r-v William Capel v Prise [Capel v Aprice &c concerning Stortford castle, Hertfordshire]. Michaelmas Term, 3 Henry VIII = p. 1 (Case 2)

F.2r Opinion of Sir Robert Norwich & other judges of the Common Bench on "Challenge", Michaelmas Term, 26 Henry VIII = p. 3 (Case 6)

F.2r Michaelmas Term, 28 Henry VIII concerning "Arbitrement" = p. 3 (Case 8)

F.2r Trinity Term, 28 Henry VIII concerning a "Challenge" = p. 3 (Case 10)

F2r Michaelmas Term, 34 Henry VIII concerning "Arbitrement" = p. 3 (Case 11)

F2v Hillary Term, 28 Henry VIII concerning William Francis "Lunatique et Idiot" = p. 4 (Case 12 "Frances Case")

F2v Trinity Term, 31 Henry VIII = p. 14 (Case 14 "Sir Godfrey Fuliambe's Case")


And ends with:

F.269r-v Michaelmas Term, 45 Elizabeth I, in Chancery, Gerard [William Gerrard of Dorney, Bucks] v the Dean & Chapter of Rochester & Sir Michael Sandes regarding divers manors including Southfleet in Kent =p. 676 (Case 920 "Garrard vers le Dean & Chapter de Rochester & Sir Miles Sandes")

F.270r Hillary Term, 44 Elizabeth I, Pym v Allington concerning "Supersedes)" = p. 677 (Case 921 "Prine vers Allington")

F.270v Michaelmas Term, 44 & 45 Elizabeth I, in the Star Chamber "en le cas de forgery" of Saleway & Wayle = p. 655 (Case 897 "Salway vers Wales")

F.270v Undated, "Inter Pollard et Moreton" in the Star Chamber, concerning "fforcible entry" = p. 656 (Case 899 "Pollard vers Moreton")

F.270v-273 Michaelmas Term, 44 & 45 Elizabeth I, in Chancery, concerning a writ of "audita querela" "per Heydon et Vavasor chevaliers et leur femmes ves Smyth et sa femme executors de Rigg" = p. 661 (Case 906 "Heydon & Vavasor vers Smith & auters")

F273v-274r Michaelmas Term, 44 & 45 Elizabeth I, in Chancery. Robert Bullamy junior v Robert Bullamy senior & Francis Clerke, concerning perjury = p. 656 (Case 900 "Bullen vers Bullen & Clerke")

F.274r-275r: February, 34 Elizabeth I - concerning the Act of Attainder for Treason against Sir Charles Danvers for his role in the Earl of Essex's rebellion = p. 628 (Case 865 "Sir Charles Danvers Case").


Following the main text are 4 blank leaves and then on the final 27 leaves a number of later cases from 1624 and after added in another two hands. These include "Sutor vers Emerton" ["Shoeter against Emet and his wife", King's Bench. Trinity Term, 21 James I ] for libel when the plaintiff, a man-midwife was told "thou art a Witch, thou wert the death of a child, at wch thou wert Midwife" (f. 281r), "Messing et Hickford" [Hickford v Machin, King's Bench, Trinity Term, 22 James I] over a lease of lands taken as collateral for a loan of £500 from a debtor who died intestate (ff. 286v-287v) and, at length, Thomas Borton [Boreton] v Richard Nicholls & John Smyth, for "electione firmae" a very complicated property dispute concerning the heirs Henry Becke in Gloucestershire heard at the Court of Common Bench in Michaelmas Term 4 Charles I [1630] (ff. 288r-304r).


Provenance: No marks of ownership or even of readership though a loose slip of paper has a few notes towards an index and a fragment of a contemporary letter from "your loveing mother" was used as a marker. Old Maggs cost code (pre-1935) "seoo" (£15) and a catalogue description (item 106, £25) loosely inserted; in stock since then.



Stock Code: 223684

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