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BENCH (an O.E. and Eng. form of a wor...

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Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 716 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BENCH (an O.E. and Eng. form of a word common to Teutonic languages, cf. Ger. Bank, Dan. baenk and the Eng. doublet " bank "), a long narrow wooden seat for several persons, with or without a back. While the chair was yet a seat of state or dignity the bench was ordinarily used by the commonalty. It is still extensively employed for other than domestic purposes, as in schools, churches and places of amusement. Bench or Banc, in law, originally was the seat occupied by judges in court; hence the term is used of a tribunal of justice itself, as the King's Bench, the Common Bench, and is now applied to judges or magistrates collectively as the " judicial bench," " bench of magistrates." The word is also applied to any seat where a number of people sit in an official capacity, or as equivalent to the dignity itself, as " the civic bench," the " bench of aldermen," the " episcopal bench," the " front bench," i.e. that reserved for the leaders of either party in the British House of Commons. King's Bench 716 (q.v.) was one of the three superior courts of common law at Westminster, the others being the common pleas and the ex-chequer. Under the Judicature Act 1873, the court of king's bench became the king's bench division of the High Court of Justice. The court of common pleas was sometimes called the common bench. Sittings in banc were formerly the sittings of one of the superior courts of Westminster for the hearing of motions, special cases, &c., as opposed to the nisi Arius sittings for trial of facts, where usually only a single judge presided. By the Judicature Act 1873 the business of courts sitting in banc was transferred to divisional courts. BENCH-MARK, a surveyor's mark cut in stone or some durable material, to indicate a point in a line of levels for the determination of altitudes over a given district. The name is taken from the " angle-iron " which is inserted in the horizontal incision as a " bench " or support for the levelling staff. The mark of the " broad-arrow " is generally incised with the bench-mark so that the horizontal bar passes through its apex.
End of Article: BENCH (an O.E. and Eng. form of a word common to Teutonic languages, cf. Ger. Bank, Dan. baenk and the Eng. doublet " bank ")
JOHN BENBOW (1653-17o2)
BENCH TABLE (Fr. bane; Ital. sedile; Ger. Bank)

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