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Imprinted at the Signe of the hand and starre, Richard Tottell and sixtheenth-century legal citation

Citing Statutes

Statutes after the advent of printing were cited as: 34.H.8.26 or c.26 -- that is the thirty-fourth year of the reign of Henry VIII (1542), chapter 26. Pulton's abstract was arranged alphabetically by topic; statute books were arranged chronologically. Below is a detail from Pulton's abstract. This entry summarizes several acts on Wales -- one is on the division of the country into twelve shires. The reference to the actual statutes involved appear at the end of the paragraph: 27.H.8.26, 34.H.8[.26] -- the twentieth-seventh year of the reign of Henry VIII (1537), chapter 26. The act was modified a few years later in the thirty-fourth year of his reign (1544).

Pulton's Abstract, entry on Wales
Ferdinando Pulton. An Abstract of All the Penal Statutes which Be General, in Force and Use. London: Imprinted by Christopher Barker, printer to the Queenes Maiestie, 1579. View whole page.

Below is a detail from another statute book -- in this case four acts of particular significance were published as a book. This is a printing of the entry referred to in Pulton's abstract: 34.H.8.

Detail, Statute of Henry VIII on Wales
Anno tricesimo quarto et quinto Henrici octaui. Imprinted at London in Fletestrete: by Thomas Barthelet printer to the kynges hyghnes, the firste day of Iune, the yere of our lorde, [1543-1547]. View whole page.

Below is a detail from a 1763 edition of the statutes containing the same material.

Statute of Henry VIII on Wales
The Statutes at Large from Magna Charta, to the End of the Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain, anno 1761 [continued to 1806]. Ed. Danby Pickering. Cambridge: Printed by J. Bentham, 1762-1807, vol. 5, p. 166. View whole page.

The marginal notation refers to the original statute from 1537. Note that the citation system did not change in the intervening two hundred years.

Previous statute (27.H.8.26).

Title page.