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Court of High Commission in United Kingdom

Introduction to Court of High Commission

Court of High Commission, court established in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to enforce the views of the government in church matters. By the Act of Supremacy of 1559, an ecclesiastical commission was established to deal with all crimes and offenses pertaining to the church. This commission developed into the Court of High Commission. It derived its powers in part from an act of Parliament and in part from the queen’s self-appointed role as supreme governor of the Church of England.

After John Whitgift became archbishop of Canterbury in 1583, a new commission of 44 members was created that exercised far more vigorous authority than its predecessors. During the 16th century the court’s punishments were directed mostly against Puritans(see Puritanism). Under the early Stuart monarchs, when Puritans and Sectaries became much more numerous and commanded more sympathy, the court’s activities aroused bitter criticism. In 1641 the Court of High Commission was abolished by the Long Parliament. In 1686 a Court of Ecclesiastical Commission was set up by English king James II, only to be declared illegal by the English Bill of Rights in 1689, during the reign of English monarchs William and Mary.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about Court of High Commission in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Court of High Commission

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    Courts, Court of Common Pleas, Court of High Commission, Court of Star Chamber, English Court System Developments, Criminal Courts Structure and Civil Courts Structure.

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: Court of High Commission
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: Introduction to Court of High Commission Court of High Commission, court established in England during the reign of Queen [...]

    This entry was last updated: August 24, 2014


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