Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Being in chancery presented a real threat to financial well-being. For an explanation of "in chancery" and its continuance into the 19th Century see this BBC link.http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/beyond/factsheet...
See also Charles Dickens's novel 'Bleak House' and John Galsworthy's 'In Chancery' (1920), part of the Forsyte Saga series, looking at the personal toll such legal action can take on the individual.
Another interesting reference is from dictionary.com, quoting Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary,
As recorded by Samuel Johnson: " chancery n.s. [from chancellor; probably chancellery; then shortened]
The court of equity and concience,moderating the vigour of other courts, that are tied to the letter of the law; whereof the lord chancellor of England is the chief judge, or the lord keeper of the great seal Cowel" a quote: " The contumacy and contempt of the party must signified in the court of the chancery, by the bishops letters under the seal episcopal. " Ayliffe's Parergon
The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness (or "inequity") of the common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including trusts, land law, the administration of the estates of lunatics and the guardianship of infants. Its initial role was somewhat different though; as an extension of the Lord Chancellor's role as Keeper of the King's Conscience, the Court was an administrative body primarily concerned with conscientious law. Thus the Court of Chancery had a far greater remit than the common law courts, whose decisions it had the jurisdiction to overrule for much of its existence, and was far more flexible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_of_Chancery
"The Court of Chancery ...to avoid the slow pace of change ...and was far more flexible."
Jarndyce and Jarndyce, etc.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarndyce_and_Jarndyce
CHANCERY, a Court of Equity and Conscience, moderating the Severity of other Courts that are more strictly tied to the Rigour of the Law ---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.
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