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The miners of tin and other metals in Cornwall and Devon lived in a unique, isolated world of their own, and their system of law governed not only mining operations and transactions, but all aspects of their lives. This law differed in origin and content from the common law of England that ruled all other industries; it was enforced by special local courts—which functioned to some extent until 1896.
This is a full and final assessment of an amazing piece of social and legal history. The story is told for the general reader, but will also satisfy the lawyer or legal historian interested in comparing and contrasting stannary law with England’s common law. The mining institutions are examined, the customary rights of miners to work for tin under bounds, the form and effect of mining setts or leases, the special form of company elaborated to carry on mining (the cost book company), and the rules concerning the refining of tin and the coinage taxation imposed on it.
Robert R. Pennington is Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Birmingham. This book is based on his extensive research into stannary court records and legal documents at the Duchy of Cornwall office and at the Royal Institute of Cornwall Museum, as well as at the Public Record Office and Cornwall County Record Office.