Magna Carta was the first English statute

Oct 2012
211
J.C. Holt, in his book, asserts that the Magna Carta was "the first English statute" (p. 15). Do you agree? Can anyone point to earlier statutes?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,771
Australia
There were lots of statutes enacted by Alfred the Great centuries earlier. If you are looking for statutes that covered the entirety of England then there were plenty enacted by William the Conqueror.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2015
1,805
England
If a Statute is an Act of Parliament then it may indeed be the first one. As far i know it appears on the Statute books of the English Parliament two years after it was first called; discounting the De Montfort Parliament.

The King and his council signed Charters before then.
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,745
UK
Magna Carta was a treaty at best, but only really had firm legal enforcement after the Model Parliament of Edward Longshanks.

But the first law? Most kings had writs, or edicts, and there are many suriving from the Anglo-Saxon period, Normans, and Angevins up until Magna Carta.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,771
Australia
Agreed. A charter or treaty had to be renewed and ratified by each new monarch. A statute was a permanent law, which remained in force until it was repealed. The Magna Carta was not a statute because it had to be renewed by each monarch.