Doctors’ Commons

The Doctors’ Commons was a group of men from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge who practiced civil law (Baker 180). G.R. Elton claims that this society was formed in 1511 and was modelled after the Inns of Court (Elton 155). Sir John Baker claims that this society was already established in the fifteenth century by the doctors of the Arches (Baker 180). Encyclopaedia Britannica states that the society leased a building near Paternoster Row from 1565 until their dissolution in the nineteenth century; however, most scholars agree that the Doctors’ Commons moved from their Paternoster Row location to a building in Knightrider Street early in Elizabeth I’s reign (Doctors’ Commons, Thornbury, Harben). A motion to dissolve the Doctors’ Commons was put forth in 1858 and by 1865 they had sold both their library and building (Baker 181). Most of the records surviving from the Doctors’ Commons are housed at the Lambeth Palace Library. For an accessible overview, see Wikipedia.