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HIST3330 Early English Constitutional History

Semester 1 (2019-2020)

Lecture TimeMonday 9:30am-12:15pm



Lecturer CHEUNG Hok Ming Frederick (

Teaching Assistant YI Shuihan

Course Description

This course discusses the historical background, the political, social, and legal development and impact of the early English Constitutional history, from Magna Carta (1215) to the emergence of parliament.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will:

  1. Be able to have a better understanding of the background and development of early English constitution history;
  2. Be able to critically think about related issues of early English Constitutional history;
  3. Be able to gain a basic understanding of the constitutional history of England as a whole.

Sep. 2, 2019      NO CLASS   CUHK Open Ceremony

1. Sep. 9            Introduction [Chester Starr, A History of the Ancient World.  (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1978), pp. 46-48, 472-509, pp. 655-705]

2. Sep. 16          The Western Legal Tradition [Harold Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition.  (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U. Press, 1983), pp. 1 – 115.]

3. Sep. 23          Historical Background: Medieval English History — The Norman Conquest of England, 1066 to Henry I, r. 1100-1135, “the Lion of Justice”  [Warren Hollister, The Making of England to 1399.  (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), pp. 84-171.]

4. Sep. 30          Legal Reforms under Henry II, r. 1154-1189, “Father of the English Common Law” [Hollister, The Making of England, pp. 171-196; W.L. Warren, Henry II.  (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1973), pp. 241-398.]

Oct. 7                 HOLIDAY

5. Oct. 14           King John, r. 1199-1216, — a Review  [Hollister, The Making of England, pp. 197-213; W.L. Warren, King John.  New Haven: Yale U. Press, 1997), pp. 1-50, 206-240.]

6. Oct. 21           Magna Carta, 1215  & Its Role in the Making of the English Constitution  [James C. Holt, Magna Carta.  Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1992), pp. 1-49, 267-405.]

7. Oct. 28           Mid-term Quiz (1 out of 2 essay questions; 25%)

8. Nov. 4            Law under Henry III, r. 1216-1272,  & the Emergence of Parliament [Hollister, The Making of England, 257-285; Kenneth Mackenzie, The English Parliament.  (London: Penguin, 1962), pp. 9-62.]; The Reign of Edward I, r. 1272-1307  [Hollister, The Making of England, pp. 286-303; Michael Prestwich, The Three Edwards: War and State in England, 1272-1377.  (London: Methuen, 1980), pp. 1-78.]

9. Nov. 11         Law under Edward II, r. 1307-1327  [Hollister, The Making of England, pp. 303-320; Michael Prestwich, The Three Edwards: War and State in England, 1272-1377.  (London: Methuen, 1980), pp. 79-164.]; Law under Edward III, r. 1327-1377 & the Decline of the Royal Authority  [Hollister, The Making of England, pp. 321-360; Michael Prestwich, The Three Edwards: War and State in England, 1272-1377.  (London: Methuen, 1980), pp. 165-301.]

10. Nov. 18       The English Parliament in the 14th Century [Kenneth Mackenzie, The English Parliament.  (London: Penguin, 1962), pp. 63-204.] #Submission of the Final Term Papers*

11. Nov. 25      Conclusion: the Impact of the Development of Early English Constitutional History [Thompson, Faith. Magna Carta: Its Role in the Making of the English Constitution, 1300-1629.  New York: Octagon, 1972.]  

Assessment & Assignments

Assessment Method:

  1. Tutorial = 25%
  2. Mid-term Quiz = 25%
  3. Final Term Paper = 50% (10 to 15 pages, A4 size, double spaced)


*Each student must upload before the deadline of submission a soft copy of the completed assignment to the plagiarism detection engine VeriGuide. 

The system will issue a receipt, which also contains a declaration of honesty.

The declaration should be signed, and the receipt stapled to a hard copy of the assignment, which should be handed in to the professor before the deadline of submission.

Assignments without the receipt will not be graded by the teacher.


“Suggested” Tutorial Topics

(students may consult the teacher and choose any relevant topics)

[Students may also opt to submit a written report (800 words) instead (to be submitted on Nov. 18 together with the Final Term Paper]

  1. Legal Reforms under Henry II, r. 1154-1189, Father of the English Common Law
  2. King John, r. 1199-1216, & Magna Carta, 1215
  3. The Emergence of Parliament under Henry III, r. 1216 – 1272
  4. The English Parliament in the 14th Century &/or Law under Edward III, r. 1327 – 1377 &/or the Impact of the development of early English Constitutional history

Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution: The Formation of Western Legal Tradition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U. Press, 1983.

Caenegen, R.C. Van. The Birth of the English Common Law.  2nd ed.  Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1988.

——————–.  An Historical Introduction to Western Constitutional Laws.  Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1995.

——————-. Judges, Legislators and Professors: Chapters in European Legal History.  Cambridge U. Press, 1987.

——————-. Law, History, the Low Countries, and Europe.   London: Hambledon, 1994.

——————-, ed.  English Lawsuits from William I to Richard I.   London: The Selden Society, 1990.

Chrimes, S.B.  English Constitutional History.  4th ed. New York: Oxford U. Press, 1967.

Davies, R.G. and Denton, J.H., eds. The English Parliament in the Middle Ages.

            Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Press, 1987.   

Davis, G.R.C. Magna Carta.  London: British Museum, 1963.

Douglas, David C., ed. English Historical Documents.   2nd ed.  London: Methuen, 1979.

Downer, L.J., ed. Leges Henrici Primi.  (The Laws of Henry I, in Latin & English).  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.

Gough, J.W. Fundamental Law in English Constitutional History. Littleton, Colo.: Rothman, 1985.

Holdsworth, W.S. A History of English Law. 10 Vols. London: Methuen, 1903-72.

Hollister, C. Warren. “King John and the Historians,” Journal of British Studies, 1961, pp. 1-19.

—————–.  “London’s First Charter of Liberties: Is it Genuine?”  Journal of Medieval History,  6(1980), pp. 289-306.

—————–. Magna Carta. Lyndon Baines Johnson Distinguished Lecture, U. of Southwestern Texas, 1983

—————-. The Making of England, 55 B.C. to 1399.    7th ed. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1996.

Holt, James C. Magna Carta. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1992.

—————–. Magna Carta and Medieval Government. London: Hambledon, 1985.

—————–. “The  Barons and the Great Charter,” English Historical Review.

            Jan, 1955, pp. 1-24.

—————–.  “The Making of Magna Carta,”  English Historical Review. July, 1957, pp. 401-22.

—————–, ed. Magna Carta and the Idea of Liberty. New York: Wiley, 1972.      

Hudson, John. The Formation of the English Common Law: Law and Society in England from the Norman Conquest to Magna Carta.  London: Longman, 1996.

—————–, ed. The History of English Law: Centenary Essays on ‘Pollock and Maitland’.  Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1996.

Jolliffe, J.E.A. The Constitutional History of Medieval England from the English Settlement to 1485.  4th ed.     New York: Norton, 1967.

Jones, J.A. P. King John and Magna Carta. London: Longman, 1971.

Kuttner, Stephen. Gratian and the Schools of Law, 1140-1234. London: Variorum, 1983.

Lyon, Bryce D. A Constitutional and Legal History of Medieval England.  2nd ed.  New York: Norton, 1980.

——————. Studies of Western European Medieval Institutions.  London: Variorum, 1978.

Milsom, S.F.C. Historical Foundations of the Common Law.  2nd ed.  London: Butterworths, 1981.

——————. Studies in the History of the Common Law.  London: Hambledon, 1985.

——————. The Legal Framework of English Feudalism: the Maitland Lectures given in 1972.     Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1976.

——————, and Baker, J.H., eds. Sources of English Legal History: Private Law to 1750.   London: Butterworths, 1986.

Painter, Sidney. The Reign of King John.  Baltimore, 1949.

Pollock, Frederick. The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I.  2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1968.

Richardson, H.G. Law and Legislation from Aethelbert to Magna Carta. Edinburgh: Edinburgh U. Press, 1966.

——————— and Sayles, G.O.  The Governance of Medieval England from the Conquest to Magna Carta.    Edinburgh: Edinburgh U. Press, 1963.

Sandoz, Ellis, ed. The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta, Ancient Constitution, and the Anglo-American Tradition of Rule of Law. Columbia: U. of Missouri Press, 1993.

Stenton, Doris M. After Runneymede: Magna Carta: Its Role in the Middle Ages.  Charlotteville: U. of Virginia Press, 1965.

———————. English Justice between the Norman Conquest and the Great Charter, 1066-1215.    Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Press, 1964.

Stephenson, Carl. Sources of English Constitutional History. Ed. & tr. by Carl Stephenson and Frederick G. Marcham. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Stubbs, William. Lectures on Early English History. Ed. by Arthur Hassall.

            London: Longman, 1906.

——————-, ed. Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History from the Earliest Times to the Reign of Edward the First.  9th rev. ed. by H.W.C. Davis. Oxford: Clarendon, 1913.

——————–. The Constitutional History of England in Its Origin and Development.  6th ed.  New York: Barnes & Noble, 1967.      

Taylor, Hannis. The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution: an Historical Treatise in which is Drawn out, by the Light of the Most Recent Researches, the Gradual Development of the English Constitutional System, and the Growth out of that System of the Federal. Littleton, Colo.: Rothman, 1992.

Thompson, Faith. Magna Carta: Its Role in the Making of the English Constitution, 1300-1629. New York: Octagon, 1972.

Turner, Ralph V. The English Judiciary in the Age of Glanvill and Bracton, c. 1176-1239. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1985.

——————–. Judges, Administrators and the Common Law in Angevin England.  London: Hambledon, 1994.

——————–. King John.  London: Longman, 1994.

——————–. The Reign of Richard Lionheart: Ruler of the Angevin Empire, 1189-99.  New York: Longman, 2000.  

Warren, W.L.  King John. 2nd ed.  New Haven: Yale U. Press, 1997.

—————-. Henry II.  Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1973.

—————-. The Governance of Norman and Angevin England, 1086-1272.  London: Edward Arnold, 1987.

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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