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Henry of Bracton

Henry of Bracton was an English jurist, born in Devon around 1210, and famous for his writings on law. His work within and influence on the medieval legal system, together with his Exeter connections, made him a very fitting historical figure to lend his name to our research centre.‌ Find out more.

Law and Arms: The English Medieval Court of Chivalry

This interdisciplinary project is providing exceptional insights into medieval cultural values and language use. Read more.

An illuminated initial from a medieval legal treatise portraying its author, a judge.

If you have a query about our research, or you would like to present a proposal for potential collaborative work, please contact us.

Bracton Centre for Legal History Research (BCLHR)

About us

Established as a beacon for internationally excellent legal history scholarship spanning the Middle Ages to the modern period, our research encompasses many areas of specialist expertise.

Our projects shed light on the legal past, from the lives of Tudor lawyers, to the foundations of legal protection for the property of the mentally ill. As a Centre we provide insights and valuable resources for students, the judiciary, historians and others.

The Bracton Centre for Legal History Research is:

  • A beacon for internationally excellent, original and rigorous legal history scholarship spanning the Middle Ages to the modern period and employing both doctrinal and interdisciplinary approaches.
  • A hive for major funded research projects.
  • A centre for postgraduate study encouraging use of the excellent facilities for legal history research in Exeter and South West England.
  • A forum for public lectures, conferences and seminars open to all sharing an interest in legal history.
  • A resource for scholars, members of the legal profession, judiciary and local historians with an interest in the discipline
  • A conduit for information about legal history events and scholarship.
  • A platform for engaging the local community in the knowledge and relevance of legal history.

Areas of legal history expertise

  • Administration of Justice
  • Business Association
  • Comparative Legal History
  • Criminal Justice
  • European Courts and Legal System
  • Legal Profession
  • Legal Methodologies
  • Medico-legal History
  • Property and Trusts
  • Social History of the Law
  • Tax
  • Tribunals and Arbitration
  • Visual Representations of Justice


Professor Chantal Stebbings LLB PhD FRHistS FTII

Professor Stebbings’ research is into the doctrinal and social legal history of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, specialising in the law and practice of taxation and property. She aims to place modern doctrine in its historical context and examine its development to initiate social or economic change. She is particularly interested in doctrinal analysis at the interface of other disciplines in the nineteenth century, notably, tax, dispute resolution and property. Her particular area of research is medico-legal, addressing the interface of law and the medical profession and institutions.



Dr Nigel Ramsay

Dr Ramsay joined the School of Law as a senior research fellow in April 2013, to work with Professor Musson on the research project 'Law and Arms: the English Medieval Court of Chivalry'.

Dr Frederick Rolland

Dr Rolland's research interests lie in Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Legal Theory with a particular focus on the theory and practice of French Constitutional and Administrative Law in a historical context and comparative perspective.


Law and Arms: The English Medieval Court of Chivalry

Anthony Musson
Leverhulme Trust
2013 - 2016

Tax and Quacks

Chantal Stebbings
Wellcome Trust
2011 - 2013

Lawyers in Society 1258 - 1558

Anthony Musson
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
2007 - 2009

Law and Image in Medieval Europe

Anthony Musson
British Academy
2006 - 2006

The Legal Protection of Taxpayers' Rights 1780-1914

Chantal Stebbings
Leverhulme Trust
2004 - 2007

The Victorian Taxpayer and the Law

Chantal Stebbings
Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship
2004 - 2007

Law and Image in Medieval England - An Historical Iconography of Law, 1200-1500

Anthony Musson
British Academy Larger Research Grant Project
2002 - 2005

Studying with us

As a postgraduate student attached to the Bracton Centre for Legal History Research, you will be a student of with the University's Law School which attracts academics, visiting lecturers and students from all over the world.

The Law School is part of the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, which has a dedicated Graduate Research School for its students, who undertake research in Arab and Islamic studies, education, politics, sociology, philosophy, anthropology and security, as well as law; here you will find a diverse and dynamic international community, excellent facilities and a friendly and supportive environment in which to study. Students are supported by the Doctoral College which offers institution-wide support, training, and administration for all of our postgraduate and early career researchers.

Our postgraduate students gain excellent employment prospects and the Law School benefits from extremely good relations with members of the legal profession regionally, nationally and internationally. We retain strong links with our alumni, many of whom occupy senior positions in the legal field in the UK and overseas.

Further information

  • Search the University database for currently available funding awards.


For non-media enquiries relating to the Centre and its work please contact us as follows:

Professor Chantal Stebbings, Centre Director

Senior administrator
+44 (0)1392 726438

Bracton Centre for Legal History Research
Law School - Amory Building
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive


Media enquiries are also welcome - please contact:

Telephone: +44 (0)1392 722307