Professor Chris Brooks

Professor David Sugarman has just informed this blog of the sad death of Professor Chris (C.W.) Brooks aged only 65. A native of Maryland, with a first degree from Princeton, and a doctorate from Oxford, Chris joined the Department of History at Durham University in 1980 as a lecturer, rising to the rank of professor. His wide-ranging research interests in the history of early-modern England included a particular focus on the law and its social and cultural implications.

This Blog has a strong interest in the history of the legal professions, and Chris is best known for his exemplary and original monographs in this area in which he opened up new areas of research. The first was Pettyfoggers and Vipers of the Commonwealth. The Lower Branch of the Legal Profession in Early Modern England, (Cambridge University Press, 1986), followed by Lawyers, Litigation and English Society since 1450, (Hambledon, 1998) and Law, Politics and Society in Early Modern England, (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He also produced co-edited collections, (co-edited with J. Barry) The Middling Sort of People. Culture, Society and Politics in England 1550-1800, (Macmillan, 1994) and (co-edited with M.J. Lobban) Communities and Courts in Britain 1150-1900, (Hambledon, 1997). He was a founder-member of the Board of Editors of the Law and History Review and a member of council of the Selden Society. At the time of his death he was preparing the 1625-1689 volume of the Oxford History of the Laws of England.

An event to celebrate Chris’ life will take place on Saturday 30th August 2014 at 1:00pm in the Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan’s College, Durham University, Windmill Hill, Durham DH1 3LJ, England. All are welcome.

Donations in Chris’ memory can be made to Linacre College, Oxford, or to The National Humanities Centre, PO Box 12256, 7 Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, NC 27709-2256, U.S.A.