Statutes of the Realm

The ‘Statutes of the Realm’ series was commissioned by the newly unified British and Irish Government in the early 1800s, and is the most authoritative collection of pre-Georgian legislation available. Starting with a charter of Henry 1, 1101, it goes up to the last year of Anne, 1713. It has an extensive introduction, that reviews the many and various sources for statutes, the languages they were written in and translated to, and the methodology for the series. Most of this concerns the earlier legislation; less consideration is given to the later, presumably because record keeping and parliamentary business was more organized and consistent, and so simpler to compile.

If it is edited to a high standard, this is sometimes at the price of readability.The texts are peppered with bracketed words, footnotes, and similar academic infrastructure; and fidelity to the statute rolls preserves their unorthodox spellings and punctuation. Additionally, the first seven volumes use a semi-modern font that dispenses with the long s, but keeps the ‘ct’ ligature with its connecting curl. Consequently, problems are posed of the OCRing and automatic correcting of the texts.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a complete set openly available. Google Books, Internet Archive have incomplete runs of varying quality of digitization; British History Online have just 3 volumes, but being transcribed by hand of a very high quality; Hathi Trust has a complete set, readable online but not freely downloadable. (There are ways to overcome their blockades.) Therefore this bibliography takes a slightly different form to the others, giving as many URLs as exist.

Volume 1: to 1377: Hathi Trust.

Volume 2: 1377 to 1509: Hathi Trust.

Volume 3: 1509 to 1547: Hathi Trust. Google Books.

Volume 4, part 1: 1547 to 1584:  Hathi Trust.

Volume 4, part 2: 1586 to 1625: Hathi Trust. Internet Archive.

Volume 5: 1628 to 1680: Text via British History Online. Hathi Trust. Google Books.

Volume 6: 1685 to 1694. Text via British History Online. Hathi Trust. Internet Archive.

Volume 7: 1695 to 1701. Text via British History Online. Hathi Trust. Internet Archive.

Volume 8: 1702 to 1707. Hathi Trust. Internet Archive.

Volume 9: 1708 to 1713. Hathi Trust. Internet Archive.

Volume 10: Alphabetical Index. Hathi Trust. Internet Archive.

Volume 11: Chronological Index. Hathi Trust. Internet Archive.

Further reading: Statutes of the Realm on Wikipedia.