King’s Bench Walk, EC4Y

Place Name

This was once, as shown on John Rocque’s 1746 map of London, a shady walk in front of the Office of the Court of King’s Bench, from which it takes its name. The King’s Bench (or Queen’s Bench during the reign of a female monarch) was a court of common law in the English legal system. Created in the late 12th to early 13thCentury from the curia regis (king’s court), the King’s Bench followed the monarch on their travels. Initially it only heard cases that concerned the sovereign or those affecting great persons privileged to be tried before the monarch. It also acted as a prototype court of appeal correcting the errors of all lesser courts. It later went on to include criminal or quasi-criminal cases among those that it heard. In 1318 it joined the Court of Common Pleas and Exchequer of Pleas in Westminster Hall. The buildings burnt down in 1667 and were rebuilt during the 17th and 18th centuries.

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