Fully revised and updated, this classic text provides the authoritative introduction to the history of the English common law. The book traces the development of the principal features of English legal institutions and doctrines from Anglo-Saxon times to the present and, combined with Baker and Milsom's Sources of Legal History, offers invaluable insights into the development of the common law of persons, obligations, and property, and also of criminal and public law. It is an essential reference point for all lawyers, historians and students seeking to understand the evolution of English law over a millennium. The book provides an introduction to the main characteristics, institutions, and doctrines of English law over the longer term - particularly the evolution of the common law before the extensive statutory changes and regulatory regimes of the last two centuries. It explores how legal change was brought about in the common law and how judges and lawyers managed to square evolution with respect for inherited wisdom.