In its initial feeling, the phrase denoted the exemption which was accorded to clergymen from jurisdiction of this secular process of law, or from arrest or accessory on criminal process providing from those process of law in some specific instances. A short while later, it suggested a privilege of exemption through the punishment of demise accorded to these types of people as were clerks, or who could read. This privilege of* exemption from capital punishment ended up being anciently permitted to clergymen only, but afterward to all who had been associated with the chapel, also to its many subordinate officers, at a still later time for you all persons just who could read, (after that called "clerks,") whether ecclesiastics or laymen. It doesn't seem to happen extended to cases of high treason, nor achieved it affect mere misdemeanors. The privilege ended up being advertised after the person's belief, by a species of movement in. arrest of judgment, technically called "praying their clergy." As a method of testing his clerical personality, he had been offered a psalm to read through, (usually, or constantly, the fifty- very first,) and, upon his reading it correctly, he had been turned-over on ecclesiastical courts, become tried because of the bishop or a jury of twelve clerks. These heard him on oath, along with his witnesses and compurgators, which attested their particular belief in his purity. This privilege run significantly to mitigate the severe rigor of the criminal guidelines, but ended up being discovered to involve these types of gross abuses that parliament began to enact that particular crimes should really be felonies "without benefit of clergy," and finally, by St. 7 Geo. IV. c. 28,
sanction by a religious rite
These claimed benefit of clergy and were branded in the hand and released.