From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
AUDIENCE (from Lat. audire, to hear), the act or state of hearing, the term being therefore transferred to those who hear or listen, as in a theatre, at a concert or meeting. In a more technical sense, the term is applied to the right of access to the sovereign enjoyed by the peers of the realm individually and by the House of Commons collectively. More particularly it means the ceremony of the admission of ambassadors, envoys or others to an interview with a sovereign or an important official for the purpose of presenting their credentials. In France, audience is the term applied to the sitting of a law court for hearing actions. In Spain, audiencia is the name given to certain tribunals which try appeals from minor courts. The Spanish judges were originally known as oidores, hearers, from the Spanish oir, to hear; but they are now called ministros, or magistrados togados, robed judges, as the gown of the Spanish judge is called a toga. The audiencia pretorial, i. e. of the praetor, was a court in Spanish America from which there was no appeal to the viceroy, but only to the council of the Indies in Spain. It is not the custom in Spain to speak of audiencias reales, royal courts, but of the audiencias del Reino, courts of the kingdom.
In England the Audience-court was an ecclesiastical court, held by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, in which they once exercised a considerable part of their jurisdiction, dealing with such matters as they thought fit to reserve for their own hearing. It has been long disused and is now merged in the court of arches.