Antiquarianism and Legal History

Michael Stuckey

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    The object of this paper is to explore how far the necessity for the legal historian’s active and contemplative self-consciousness is amplified when the task at hand involves not only the interpretation of historical events but also the interpretation of a threshold for the writing of legal history itself. It argues that the emergence of history as a discipline in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries highlights the fact that we are occupied in the exploration of the history of ideas about the past held by those who are now the objects of our own enquiry. The paper aims to investigate some of the fundamental historiographical and methodological issues raised by the surfacing of legal history as a branch of learning in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the first section, it examines the field of English Antiquarianism and its connections with embryonic historical genres and with the legal profession. From this point the paper explores the relationship of legal and historical studies, and the hybrid discipline of legal history. The final section turns to a consideration of prosopographical methodology as an example of a specific technique that may, in the appropriate circumstances, be usefully employed in the study of legal history.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationN/A
    Publication statusUnpublished - 1 Jan 1990
    Event 19th British Legal History Conference - University of Exeter
    Duration: 8 Jul 20098 Jul 2009


    Conference 19th British Legal History Conference


    • legal history
    • antiquarianism


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