Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Doctors' Commons, originally a society of civil and canon lawyers in London, licensed to practise in the ecclesiastical courts of the province of Canterbury. In 1567 the then Dean of Arches, Henry Harvey, purchased a site for them on St. Benet's Hill, near St. Paul's Cathedral. On this were built the Ecclesiastical and Admiralty Courts, as well as houses for the Vicar-General, the Chancellors, for the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London, and the members of the society. This was incorporated by Royal Charter, the president being the Dean of Arches for the time being, and the members all Doctors of Law of Oxford or Cambridge as were licensed to practise in the Ecclesiastical Courts. There were also licentiates, or proctors, licensed to practise.-who may be remembered by readers of David Copperfleld. In 1857 the Corporation was empowered by Act of Parliament to sell its estate, and dissolved; and ecclesiastical practice is now open to all members of the bar. Some of the legal business of the province of Canterbury is still transacted on the old site.