Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


William Lyndwood, Constitutiones provinciales ecclesiae Anglicanae ([London]: Richard Pynson, [before 9 Oct. 1499])

Constitutiones provinciales ecclesiae Anglicanae

IIIF Drag-n-dropIIIF Manifest

This is a representative work by the English canonist William Lyndwood (c. 1375-1466). It is held that Lyndwood wrote this book while serving as a judge in the Court of Arches. It contains commentaries on the major ecclesiastical decrees enacted in English provincial councils under the presidency of the Archbishops of Canterbury, from the Oxford Council in 1222 to the incumbency of Henry Chichele (c. 1362-1443). The book has five parts, each with a heading, and includes a subject index and commentaries compiled by Lyndwood for the reader's reference.

This work met with significant contemporary demand, and survives in fifty-five manuscripts. From the records of medieval wills and inventories, it seems clear that the book was mainly owned by provincial ecclesiastics, scholars and ecclesiastical lawyers. The first edition was printed in Oxford around 1483, followed by almost fifteen editions up until the mid-16th century. The places of publication include not only London, but also Paris and Antwerp. In 1534 Robert Redman published the English version, but after that it was not published again until the second half of the 17th century.

The Keio copy is an edition printed at the end of the 15th century by Richard Pynson, who was at the forefront of the early English printing market together with Wynkyn de Worde, a foreman of William Caxton (see IKUL 006, 038). Both Pynson and de Worde published a number of English books, but whereas the majority of de Worde's publications were religious texts, Pynson is known for his emphasis on grammar and law books. The Keio copy lacks the last leaf, with Pynson's printer's mark, but it is very rare nonetheless, because there are few extant copies of this edition; this is also the case with the two other books bound in this Sammelband.

  Helmholz, R. H., 'The Canon Law', The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, ed. by D. F. McKenzie, David McKitterick and I. R. Willison, 7 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999– ), III: 1400–1557, ed. by Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (1999), pp. 387-98
---, 'William Lyndwood', in DNB, pp. 892-95



Lyndewode, Guilielmus [William Lyndwood]
Place of Publication
Richard Pynson


Date of Publication
[before 1499-10-09]

19th-century brown sheep, blind-stamped border, gilt lettering on spine, gilt edges.

Bibliographical Notes

171 of 172 leaves, lacking the last leaf with Pynson's device.

H H10359=H 5655?
Acquisition Year

Ownership inscription (sig. B3v)