But by the Supreme Court Ordinance of 1893 that court possesses (inter alia) all the authorities, powers and functions belonging to or incident to a superior court of record in England, which appears to include the power to issue the writ of habeas corpus.
The chief officer of this, as of other forests, was the justice in eyre who held the justice seat, the highest forest court and the only court of record capable of entering and executing judgments on offenders; the lower courts were the Swainmote and Wodemote, the former of which is still held, in a modified form, in the Verderers' Hall of the King's House at Lyndhurst.
In 1607, at the petition of the inhabitants of Ashford, gave Sir John Smith, Kt., the right of holding a court of record in the town on every third Tuesday.
In 1618 the borough received its first charter of incorporation from James I., instituting a governing body of a mayor, 12 chief burgesses, and 12 assistant burgesses, with a recorder, deputy-recorder, townclerk and two serjeants-at-mace; a court of record every fortnight on Tuesday; and fairs at Michaelmas and on the second Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, which were kept up until within the last fifty years.
To remedy this defect, a statute (called the Statute of Enrolments) was passed in the same year, which provided that every conveyance by bargain and sale of freehold lands should be enrolled in a court of record or with the custos rotulorum of the county within six months of its date.
No person holding a lucrative office under the state or the United States, no salaried officer of a railroad company, and no officer of any court of record is eligible for membership in either house.