Conversations with Emeritus Professor Stroud Francis Charles (Toby) Milsom: A Journey from Heretic to Giant in English Legal History
14 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016
Date Written: September 14, 2012
Stroud Francis Charles (Toby) Milsom QC BA retired from his chair of Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge in 2000 after a distinguished career as a legal historian at the universities of Oxford, London School of Economics and St John’s College Cambridge. His academic life and contentious theories on the development of the Common Law at the end of the feudal system in England were discussed in a series of interviews at his home in 2009. At the core are aspects of his criticism of the conclusions of the nineteenth century historian Frederick William Maitland, upon which the teaching of the early legal history of England was largely based during much of the 20th century. Also included are insights into his research methods in deciphering the parchment Plea Rolls in the Public Records Office, and anecdotes relating to his tenure as Dean at New College Oxford (1956-64) as well as associations with the Selden Society: he was its Literary Director, and later President during its centenary in 1987. Professor Milsom also briefly talked of his memories of childhood during WWII and his inspirational studies as a student at the University of Pennsylvania (1947-48).
Keywords: Legal History, Maitland, Selden Society, Common Law, Seisin
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