Crown, Community, and Parliament in the Later Middle Ages: Studies in English Constitutional History

Crown, Community, and Parliament in the Later Middle Ages: Studies in English Constitutional History

Crown, Community, and Parliament in the Later Middle Ages: Studies in English Constitutional History

Crown, Community, and Parliament in the Later Middle Ages: Studies in English Constitutional History

Excerpt

This selection of the more outstanding of Gaillard Lapsley's historical articles has been rendered posthumous by his death on August 17, 1949. Ill health had compelled him to entrust the editing of it to other hands, and it is thus possible for us to say some things of his work which might otherwise have gone unsaid here.

English mediaeval studies owe a long debt to G. T. Lapsley. He published only one book, The County Palatine of Durham,1 which, although now half a century old, is still a model for the treatment of the great English franchises of the middle ages; but as a teacher and a contributor to learned reviews he exerted profound influence over the thought of generations of historical students, particularly the inter-war generation between 1919 and 1939.

Lapsley was born in New York City on November 14, 1871. After graduating at Harvard in 1893, he took up the study of law, a discipline which had lasting effects on his thought and technique, but soon abandoned it for history. Here 'his master', as he loved to call him, was Charles Gross, the pioneer historian of mediaeval English boroughs and their gilds, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of English local historical publications is reflected in that bibliography of English mediaeval history which stands as a reproach and a challenge to the scholars of to-day. But when Lapsley came to England in 1904 and settled down to his lifelong work as Tutor of Trinity College, and as Lecturer and later University Reader in Constitutional History at Cambridge, the direction of his interests shifted. This can be attributed partly to his experience as a teacher but also, without doubt, to the stimulus of F. W. Maitland's ideas, the impact of which was heightened by active membership of Maitland's own university. Thenceforward, though he still . . .

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