Doctors Commons

Doctors Commons formerly the college of the doctors of civil law in London, wherein the Court of Admiralty and the principal ecclesiastical courts were held. It was founded by Dr. Henry Harvey, dean of the Arches, previous to which time the doctors had lived in Paternoster Row. The original building was burned in the great fire in 1666, when the doctors removed for a time to Exeter House. After some time the Commons was rebuilt, and the doctors returned to their former quarters. The courts which have been wont to hold their sittings at Doctors Commons are the Court of Arches, the Archdeacon's Court, the Prerogative Court, the Faculty Court, the Court of Delegates, and the Court of Admiralty. The Prerogative Court is now amalgamated in the Probate Court (q.v.), and the Court of Delegates (q.v.) is transferred to the judicial committee of the privy council. At the time when these courts were all in full operation, their times of session were regulated by terms, as in the courts of equity and common law, a certain day in the week being assigned to each court for hearing its causes. The Court of Arches, the Archdeacon's Court, the Faculty Court, and the Court of Admiralty, are now the only courts which continue to exercise their functions in this once famous spot. The Court of Arches (so called from having sat in Arcubus, or under the arches or bows of Bow Church, Cheapside) is the court of-appeal belonging to the archbishop of Canterbury. The judge in this court is styled Dean of the Arches, and he has jurisdiction, as the archbishop's principal official, in all ecclesiastical causes within the province of Canterbury.

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