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Adapted from the book "Tit-Willow or Glossary and Jottings on Gilbert and Sullivan Operas" by Guy H. and Claude A. Walmisley (Privately Printed, Undated)

Bailey and Middlesex Sessions

Old Bailey

A reference to the Old Bailey, the most famous criminal court in the world.

This Court was formed by an Act of 1834 and tries criminal cases from the London Metropolis, also crime cases on the High Seas and any criminal cases sent to it by the King's Bench Division of the High Court, or by writ of certiorari as when, for instance, owing to strong local feeling it is felt that the prisoner would not get a fair trial before a jury at the County Assizes.

Middlesex Sessions

These Sessions sit in Westminster and correspond to the London Sessions south of the Thames. Both have powers similar to Quarter Sessions in the country, but have a paid presiding judge called the Chairman of the Sessions, like a Recorder who presides in a County Borough.

Burglaree. Should of course be bigamy—a rather poor joke"To marry two at once is burglaree!"

Cologne. Fetch some water from far. Eau de Cologne, a scent originally invented by Johann Maria Farina of Cologne.

Court of Exchequer. Originally a revenue department collecting the King's debts which developed into a Court of Law, the judges of which were known as Barons. See "Introduction" to "Trial by jury".

This Court is referred to in the Lord Chancellor's song "When I went to the Bar as a very young man, (said I to myself-said I,)" in "Iolanthe".

Gurneys. Samuel Gurney (1786-1856). Bill discounter and philanthropist. Born Norwich, 18 October 1786; died Paris, 5 June 1856.

His father and father-in-law left him a large amount of money which resulted in his firm becoming the greatest discounting house in the world; Gurney was known as "The Banker's Banker".

After his death the firm was reorganized as a joint-stock company, and failed in 1866.

Otto. Breathing concentrated. A scent distilled from rose petals and known as "Attar of Roses".

Reversed in Banc. i.e. by two or more judges of the same Court sitting together—this was a "sitting in banc".

Subpoena. A Writ calling upon a person to attend a Court under a penalty (Latin sub poena) for failure. All writs are issued in the name of the King.

a la Watteau. Jean Antoine Watteau, son of a plumber, was born at Valenciennes, 10 October 1684 and died at Nogent-sur-Marne 18 July 1721.

He was considered the most brilliant and most original draughtsman of the 18th century. His oil paintings are remarkable for their illumination and delicate blending of colours. After a very hard struggle in early life he succeeded brilliantly, and his pictures are to be seen in nearly all the principal public galleries of Europe.

Westminster Hall. The Courts of Law sat at Westminster from very early days until the year 1883 when the new Courts of justice at Temple Bar were opened by Queen Victoria. In the main hall of the Courts of justice may be seen a picture of the judges receiving Her Majesty on that occasion.

Originally both the Courts of Kings Bench, and Common Pleas (then called Common Bench) had to "follow the King" and sit where the King was even if, as occasionally happened, he went to France, the unfortunate litigants and their witnesses doing likewise.

This practice was stopped by Magna Carta for the Court of Commons Pleas, and in the reign of William III for the Court of King's Bench. Thereafter these Courts sat at Westminster until the year 1883 when, as stated above, they moved to Temple Bar.

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Page updated 13 November 2004