Roman Canon Law in the Medieval English Church: Stubbs vs. Maitland Re-examined After 75 Years in the Light of Some Records from the Church Courts

The Right Reverend William Stubbs, D.D. (1825-1901), was the Anglican Bishop of Oxford, sometime Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, and a scholar of considerable repute. His Constitutional History of England was, until quite recently, the standard work in the field, and his editions of texts for the Rolls Series leave no doubt that he spent long hours ·with basic source material. Frederic William Maitland, M.A. (1850-1906), was an agnostic, the Downing Professor of the Laws of England at Cambridge, and a scholar whose reputation during his life was perhaps not so wide as Stubbs’ but whose work commanded the instant respect of those who knew it. Maitland’s History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I is still, in many ways, the standard work in the field, and his editions of texts for the Selden Society leave no doubt that he, too, was a man who knew the basic source material, Believing churchman vs. agnostic lawyer, constitutional and ecclesiastical historian vs. legal and constitutional historian, editor of chronicles vs. editor of legal documents, professor at Oxford vs. professor at Cambridge–what more fitting pair to debate the question of the authority of the “Roman canon law” in medieval England?