Authorized Form of NameProvince of Canterbury; Court of Arches
Corporate NameProvince of Canterbury
SubordinateCourt of Arches
OtherFormsOfNameCourt of Canterbury (curia Cantuariensis); curia de arcubus
DatesAndPlacesThe court first appears in the surviving records in the mid 13th century. The court was held at the church of St Mary-le-Bow (at Cheapside in the City of London) from at least the late 13th century until the church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London (1666). The court sat from 1672 at Doctors' Commons until the dissolution of that society in 1857 under the Court of Probate Act.
ActivityCourt of Appeal for the Province of Canterbury, deriving its name from the church of St Mary-le-Bow (St Mary de Arcubus - deriving its name from its stone arches) in the city of London - a peculiar of the Archbishop. Heard appeals from the consistory and peculiar courts within the Province of Canterbury. Although much of its original jurisdiction has been transferred, the court survives to the present day.
RelationshipsSimilar to the Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York (for the Province of York). Appeal from the Court of Arches was to Rome before the Reformation, the Court of Delegates subsequently, and after 1832 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The other courts of the Archbishop of Canterbury were the Consistory Court of Canterbury, presided over by a commissary general; the Archdeacon's Court (the archdeaconry being coterminous with the Diocese of Canterbury: Brian L. Woodcock, 'Medieval Ecclesiastical Courts in the Diocese of Canterbury', Oxford, 1952); and two other non-diocesan courts, the Court of Audience, and the Court of Prerogative. See also Audrey M. Erskine, "Ecclesiastical Courts in the Province of Canterbury", 'Archives' vol. III (1957), pp. 8-17.
InternalStructuresPresided over by the judge or Official Principal known as the Dean of the Arches (from his lesser office as judge of the court of the peculiar of the Arches).
SourceF. Donald Logan, 'The Medieval Court of Arches'; I. Churchill, 'Canterbury Administration', i, 424-469.

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