HUSTING (O. Eng. htisting, from Old Norwegian husthing), the " thing " or " ting," i.e. assembly, of the household of personal followers or retainers of a king, earl or chief, contrasted with the " folkmoot," the assembly of the whole people. "Thing" meant an inanimate object, the ordinary meaning at the present day, also a cause or suit, and an assembly; a similar development of meaning is found in the Latin res. The word still appears in the names of the legislative assemblies of Norway, the Storthing and of Iceland, the Althing. " Husting," or more usually in the plural " hustings," was the name of a court of the city of London. This court was formerly the county court for the city and was held before the lord mayor, the sheriffs and aldermen, for pleas of land, common pleas and appeals from the sheriffs. It had probate jurisdiction and wills were registered. All this jurisdiction has long been obsolete, but the court still sits occasionally for registering gifts made to the city. The charter of Canute (1032) contains a reference to " hustings " weights, which points to the early establishment of the court. It is doubtful whether courts of this name were held in other towns, but John Cowell (1554-1611) in his Interpreter (1601) s.v., "Hustings," says that according to Fleta there were such courts at Winchester, York, Lincoln, Sheppey and elsewhere, but the passage from Fleta, as the New English Dictionary points out, does not necessarily imply this (11. Iv. Habet etiam Rex curiam in civitatibus . . . et in locis . . . sicut in Hustingis London, Winton, etc.). The ordinary use of " hustings " at the present day for the platform from which a candidate sneaks at a parliamentary or other election, or more widely for a political candidate's election campaign, is derived from the application of the word, first to the platform in the Guildhall on which the London court was held, and next to that from which the public nomination of candidates for a parliamentary election was formerly made, and from which the candidate addressed the electors. The Ballot Act of 1872 did away with this public declaration of the nomination.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)