City Court; [? 13th century]-1835; Norwich, Norfolk

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City Court; [? 13th century]-1835; Norwich, Norfolk

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Dates of existence

[? 13th century]-1835


The full court of the City. Held at the Tolhouse before the city bailiffs in the Marketplace in Norwich until the bailiffs were replaced (in 1403) by a mayor and two sheriffs and the Tolhouse replaced with the newly-erected Guildhall in c 1415. Dealt with pleas of all kinds (apart from those involving murder or accidental death), tried issues, heard appeals from complainants and enrolled deeds and wills acknowledged before the court.
The City Court was a court of record, described in the early rolls as being, '... the full court of the City', and appears to have been, at first, held before the city bailiffs in the Marketplace Tolhouse. From 1403 onwards, the bailiffs were replaced by a mayor and two sheriffs, and it was these officers who together presided over the court thereafter. Soon after this, the Tolhouse was itself replaced by the newly erected Guildhall, and this court, and all others, met in this larger, purpose-built building. The Court itself, having been established at an unknown date (but see NCR 4a/52/13-14, among others, for grants annotated as having been read before the court in the 44th year of Henry III's reign, i.e. 1260), sat to hear pleas of any sort (except for those concerning murder or accidental death-these cases were reserved for the coroners' hearings), to try issues, to hear appeals from injured complainants and for all other business. It is, however, the acknowledgement of deeds and of those wills relating to the devising of lay properties within the city walls and suburbs that is recorded in the rolls of NCR 1. The surviving City archive does not include any compendium series of records for the government or administration of the city, such as, for example the borough court rolls of Great Yarmouth. There, we have a series of rolls surviving from the mid-13th century forming the core record of the borough's administrative and judicial functions for several centuries, and which only from the later 17th century onwards declined into merely rolls of deed acknowledgments. In Norwich's case, the full Court of the City (representing the ultimate authority in Norwich) is represented by several distinct, though sometimes unacknowledged (as such), series of records, each representing a different function of the court.


Norwich, Norfolk

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Created on: 31/03/2016 by Drott




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