Posted By Claire on April 24, 2015
On 24th April 1536, two commissions of oyer and terminer were set up by Sir Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor.
‘Oyer and terminer’ comes from the French ‘to hear and to determine’ and denotes a legal commission formed to investigate and prosecute serious criminal offences, such as treason, committed in a particular county. These particular commissions were for offences committed in the counties of Middlesex and Kent, and covered the crimes of misprision, treason, rebellion, felonies, murder, homicide, rioting, plotting, insurrection, extortion, oppression, contempt, concealment, ignorance, negligence, falsities, deception, conspiracy and being an accessory to these crimes. It is not known whether they were set up specifically to try the men who would later be charged with committing adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn, but they were used for that purpose.
You can read more about the setting up of these commissions in my article 24 April 1536 – The Legal Machinery is Set Up.