Oyer and Terminer is in Legal Terms.
Oyer and Terminer. Literally "to hear and to determine". The Law French name for one of the commissions by which a judge of assize sat.
In Feb 1365 John Savile of Shelley and Golcar 1325-1399 (40) was a Commissioner of oyer and terminer of disorder at Wortley.
In Feb 1370 John Savile of Shelley and Golcar 1325-1399 (45) was a Commissioner of oyer and terminer of poaching at Halifax.
By 27 Jul 1453, says Griffiths, the situation in the north had deteriorated so badly that the crown effectively abrogated its authority in the region, by writing directly to the two earls [Note Henry Percy 2nd Earl of Northumberland 1393-1455 (60) and Richard Neville 5th Earl Salisbury 1400-1460 (53)], laying responsibility for ending the dispute on them, and instructing them to keep their sons in order. It was at this point too, that the commission of oyer and terminer of 12 July was re-issued.
John Evelyn's Diary 11 October 1660. 11 Oct 1660. The regicides who sat on the life of our late King, were brought to trial in the Old Bailey, before a commission of oyer and terminer.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 17 March 1663. 17 Mar 1663. Up betimes and to my office a while, and then home and to Sir W. Batten (62), with whom by coach to St. Margaret's Hill in Southwark, where the judge of the Admiralty came, and the rest of the Doctors of the Civill law, and some other Commissioners, whose Commission of oyer and terminer was read, and then the charge, given by Dr. Exton, which methought was somewhat dull, though he would seem to intend it to be very rhetoricall, saying that justice had two wings, one of which spread itself over the land, and the other over the water, which was this Admiralty Court.
That being done, and the jury called, they broke up, and to dinner to a tavern hard by, where a great dinner, and I with them; but I perceive that this Court is yet but in its infancy (as to its rising again), and their design and consultation was, I could overhear them, how to proceed with the most solemnity, and spend time, there being only two businesses to do, which of themselves could not spend much time. In the afternoon to the court again, where, first, Abraham, the boatswain of the King's pleasure boat, was tried for drowning a man; and next, Turpin, accused by our wicked rogue Field, for stealing the King's timber; but after full examination, they were both acquitted, and as I was glad of the first, for the saving the man's life, so I did take the other as a very good fortune to us; for if Turpin had been found guilty, it would have sounded very ill in the ears of all the world, in the business between Field and us.
So home with my mind at very great ease, over the water to the Tower, and thence, there being nobody at the office, we being absent, and so no office could be kept. Sir W. Batten (62) and I to my Lord Mayor's, where we found my Lord with Colonel Strangways and Sir Richard Floyd, Parliament-men, in the cellar drinking, where we sat with them, and then up; and by and by comes in Sir Richard Ford. In our drinking, which was always going, we had many discourses, but from all of them I do find Sir R. Ford (49) a very able man of his brains and tongue, and a scholler. But my Lord Mayor (48) I find to be a talking, bragging Bufflehead, a fellow that would be thought to have led all the City in the great business of bringing in the King (32), and that nobody understood his plots, and the dark lanthorn he walked by; but led them and plowed with them as oxen and asses (his own words) to do what he had a mind when in every discourse I observe him to be as very a coxcomb as I could have thought had been in the City. But he is resolved to do great matters in pulling down the shops quite through the City, as he hath done in many places, and will make a thorough passage quite through the City, through Canning-street, which indeed will be very fine. And then his precept, which he, in vain-glory, said he had drawn up himself, and hath printed it, against coachmen and carrmen affronting of the gentry in the street; it is drawn so like a fool, and some faults were openly found in it, that I believe he will have so much wit as not to proceed upon it though it be printed.
Here we staid talking till eleven at night, Sir R. Ford (49) breaking to my Lord our business of our patent to be justices of the Peace in the City, which he stuck at mightily; but, however, Sir R. Ford (49) knows him to be a fool, and so in his discourse he made him appear, and cajoled him into a consent to it: but so as I believe when he comes to his right mind tomorrow he will be of another opinion; and though Sir R. Ford (49) moved it very weightily and neatly, yet I had rather it had been spared now. But to see how he do rant, and pretend to sway all the City in the Court of Aldermen, and says plainly that they cannot do, nor will he suffer them to do, any thing but what he pleases; nor is there any officer of the City but of his putting in; nor any man that could have kept the City for the King (32) thus well and long but him. And if the country can be preserved, he will undertake that the City shall not dare to stir again. When I am confident there is no man almost in the City cares a turd for him, nor hath he brains to outwit any ordinary tradesman.
So home and wrote a letter to Commissioner Pett (52) to Chatham by all means to compose the business between Major Holmes (41) and Cooper his master, and so to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 24 October 1663. 24 Oct 1663. Up and to my office, where busy all the morning about Mr. Gauden's account, and at noon to dinner with him at the Dolphin, where mighty merry by pleasant stories of Mr. Coventry's (35) and Sir J. Minnes's (64), which I have put down some of in my book of tales.
Just as I was going out my uncle Thomas came to the with a draught of a bond for him and his sons to sign to me about the payment of the £20 legacy, which I agreed to, but he would fain have had from me the copy of the deed, which he had forged and did bring me yesterday, but I would not give him it. Says (he) I perceive then you will keep it to defame me with, and desired me not to speak of it, for he did it innocently. Now I confess I do not find any great hurt in the thing, but only to keep from me a sight of the true original deed, wherein perhaps there was something else that may touch this business of the legacy which he would keep from me, or it may be, it is really lost as he says it is. But then he need not have used such a slight, but confess it without danger.
Thence by coach with Mr. Coventry (35) to the Temple, and thence I to the Six Clerks' office, and discoursed with my Attorney and Solicitor, and he and I to Mr. Turner, who puts me in great fear that I shall not get retayned again against Tom Trice; which troubles me.
Thence, it being night, homewards, and called at Wotton's and tried some shoes, but he had none to fit me. He tells me that by the Duke of York's (30) persuasion Harris is come again to Sir W. Davenant (57) upon his terms that he demanded, which will make him very high and proud.
Thence to another shop, and there bought me a pair of shoes, and so walked home and to my office, and dispatch letters by the post, and so home to supper and to bed, where to my trouble I find my wife begin to talk of her being alone all day, which is nothing but her lack of something to do, for while she was busy she never, or seldom, complained.... !The Queen (24) is in a good way of recovery; and Sir Francis Pridgeon hath got great honour by it, it being all imputed to his cordiall, which in her dispaire did give her rest and brought her to some hopes of recovery.
It seems that, after the much talk of troubles and a plot, something is found in the North that a party was to rise, and some persons that were to command it are found, as I find in a letter that Mr. Coventry (35) read to-day about it from those parts1.
Note 1. This refers to a rising in the West Riding of Yorkshire, which took place on October 12th, and was known as the Farneley Wood Plot. The rising was easily put down, and several prisoners were taken. A special commission of oyer and terminer was sent down to York to try the prisoners in January, 1663-64, when twenty-one were convicted and executed. (See Whitaker's "Loidis and Elmete", 1816.).