skip to content
Monday, 29 February 2016

milsom_news.jpgA longstanding member of the Faculty of Law, Professor SFC "Toby" Milsom, died last week. He was a dominant voice in English legal historiography through the second half of the twentieth century, and has been described as the greatest legal historian of our time. While not a prolific writer, practically everything he published had a major influence. His early work on the history of trespass overturned several centuries of scholarship and revolutionised thinking on the subject; and his work on the the law of real property in the twelfth century made all legal historians completely rethink the foundations of the subject. It was with the latter work that he came head to head with his great hero, F W Maitland, whose basic assumptions about the nature of medieval law Milsom was to question. He always described himself as an unapologetic heretic, though some of his heresies have long since slipped into orthodoxy. He had the most important quality of the truly great scholar, the ability to ask important new questions of familiar materials.

Information about Professor Milsom's life and work can be found in the Eminent Scholars' Archive maintained by the Squire Law Library.