Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall was the home of English superior courts until they were moved to the Strand in the early 1880s. Construction of the hall began in 1097; the hall is 240 feet long, 671/2 feet wide, and 90 feet high. In addition to holding regular court sessions, the hall was the focal point of medieval political life.

Many famous trials were held in the hall. Sir Thomas More (1478–1535), lord chancellor for Henry VIII (1491–1547), was sentenced to death for refusing to recognize royal supremacy over the church. Charles I (1600–49) was sentenced to death for Treason, and Warren Hastings (1732–1818) was impeached for his handling of the East India Company.

Westminster Hall contained the King's Bench, the Court of Chancery, and the Court of Common Pleas. Until the eighteenth century, it had no partitions or screens to divide the courts from the open hall.

The hall was part of Westminster Palace, which, except for the hall and St. Stephen's Chapel, was destroyed by fire in 1834. The houses of Parliament were constructed next to the hall between 1840 and 1860.

References in classic literature ?
To an Englishman, accustomed to the paraphernalia of Westminster Hall, an American Court of Law is as odd a sight as, I suppose, an English Court of Law would be to an American.
Even our Becky had her weaknesses, and as one often sees how men pride themselves upon excellences which others are slow to perceive: how, for instance, Comus firmly believes that he is the greatest tragic actor in England; how Brown, the famous novelist, longs to be considered, not a man of genius, but a man of fashion; while Robinson, the great lawyer, does not in the least care about his reputation in Westminster Hall, but believes himself incomparable across country and at a five-barred gate--so to be, and to be thought, a respectable woman was Becky's aim in life, and she got up the genteel with amazing assiduity, readiness, and success.
But as that wouldn't do in Westminster Hall, and as it wouldn't look quite professional if they were seen by a client, they decamped.
Westminster Hall itself is a shady solitude where nightingales might sing, and a tenderer class of suitors than is usually found there, walk.
I saw a man examined as a witness in Westminster Hall.
DELYN MP David Hanson has resigned from Labour's front bench after being appointed to chair debates in Westminster Hall.
It will take place on Friday, July 31, at Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster.
The current landmark dates back to 1097 when William Rufus laid the foundation stone for Westminster Hall.
They first journeyed to the Portcullis building for a tour of Portcullis House, walking past MPs in the halls, before continuing to Westminster Hall.
1265: The first English Parliament met at Westminster Hall.
But as this year''s list was announced I learnt that in Parliament's magnificent Westminster Hall - which saw the trials of Thomas More and Charles I, and the laying in state of kings, queens and some former prime ministers - another remarkable honour had been bestowed.
Mr Brennan secured a debate in Westminster Hall and will soon meet with prisons minister Jeremy Wright as part of his push to ensure prisoners are not stopped from playing the steel-strung instruments.
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