On the 1st of July 1416 Chicheley directed a halfyearly inquisition by archdeacons to hunt out heretics.
It was partly in order to counterpoise the power of archdeacons that bishops created officials (Fournier, p. 8).
Archdeacons in course of time created officials who presided in court in their stead.
The extent of jurisdiction of archdeacons depended much upon local customs. In England the custom was generally in their favour.
In the absence of such consent, the bishop may hear the cause with three assessors, of whom one shall be a barrister of seven years' standing and another the dean of the cathedral, or one of the archdeacons, or the chancellor.