F. W. Maitland manuscripts

Scope and Content

Manuscripts (including bound manuscript of Bracton and his Notebook, 1885-7), lecture notes and research notes (14 files) and a scrapbook of presscuttings relating to Maitland (1895-1920), probably compiled by his daughter Fredegond Shove.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frederic William Maitland (1850-1906), son of John Gorham Maitland, was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied moral sciences (B.A., 1873; M.A., 1876). He was called to the bar in 1876, and became reader in English law at Cambridge in 1884, and Downing Professor of the Laws of England, 1888-1906. Maitland was a founder of the Selden Society, which sought to encourage the study of the history of English law, and served as its literary director in 1895. He became Ford's lecturer at Oxford in 1897, and Rede lecturer at Cambridge in 1901. He was also an honorary fellow of Trinity College. He lived in West Lodge at Downing College with his wife Florence (later Darwin) and their two daughters and was host to the composer Tchaikovsky there when he visited Cambridge to receive his honorary degree in 1892. Professor Maitland suffered from ill health in his final years and died in 1906 in Gran Canaria, where he was buried.

Access Information

Open to researchers by appointment.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from Rare Books and Special Collections, Downing College, November 2000.

Other Finding Aids


Related Material

Collection of letters from Maitland to Prof. Courtney Stanhope Kenny at Downing College (DCPP/KEN/4/3b)
Papers at Cambridge University Library (GBR/0012/MS Add.6987-7009)


The Collected Papers of Frederic William Maitland, edited in three volumes by H.A.L. Fisher (Cambridge 1911)