Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fleta

FLETA, though sometimes loosely used as if it were the name of a person, is really the name of a Latin text-book of English law, which, from internal evidence, seems to have been written in 1290 or thereabouts. It was printed with a dissertation by Selden in 1647, and again in 1685. The one old manuscript in which it is found (Cotton MS. Julius, B. viii., fourteenth century) bears on its frontispiece the title ‘Fleta,’ and in the preface there is a statement to the effect that ‘this book may well be called Fleta, for it was composed in Fleta.’ This seems to mean that it was written in the Fleet prison, and the conjecture has been made that it was the work of one of the corrupt judges whom Edward I imprisoned.

[The manuscript; Selden's Dissertation; Nichols's Introduction to edition of Britton (1865).]

F. W. M.