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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 378



ecclesiastical legislation in Convocation, she exercised her veto, i. e. she granted or withheld the consent which would make it valid, according to her own views of high policy. The rulers of the Church, who were not free from the same humiliating bondage of adulation that influenced all around the great queen, tolerated a system which gave them the substance of power, although in an unpopular and unhistorical shape. Their legislative authority was paralysed, but they could exercise a real authority as the queen's advisers ; and the jurisdiction, which they had difficulties in enforcing through their own courts, they could enforce as members of the High Commission Court. But the ecclesiastical law— how did it fare under the circumstances ? In the first place the forms of the courts were maintained, and were enough to sustain the civilians who worked in them ; the Prerogative Court and the consistory courts lived on the testamentary and matrimonial jurisdiction ; and before the spiritual courts were tried the smaller cases of discipline which were not important enough for the High Commission Court. Doctors' Commons, which had dwelt before in Paternoster Row or at the Queen's Head, under the auspices of Dr. Henry Harvey, built itself a new home, with hall and library and plate and privileges for importing wine. Knowledge of canon and civil law was in parliament, as in 1585, regarded as a special qualification for service in the House of Commons on committees. In the parliaments of 1559 and 1563 were introduced bills to make a University degree necessary for ecclesiastical judges. And the canon law, as drawn up by Lyndwood, and the civilian procedure, subsisted, for the revision which had been completed by Edward's commissioners did not approve itself to Elizabeth or her advisers, and after an abortive attempt to carry it through the parliament of 1559, took its place on the shelf of broken projects. Even the Court of High Commission, novel as its functions were and unfettered as it was


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