Gwent Record Office
D.668.71 (bundle of loose folded sheets)
ELSG digital images & transcription
Charge by the Steward to the Jury of the Court Leet and Court Baron
Michaelchurch Escley, Urishay, Peterchurch
Transcription of images 476, 475, 473 & 474
On Courts Leets & Baron
Charge by the Steward to the jury.
Gentlemen of the jury.
You are here assembled to execute as great a trust as can be [reporid?] in any men living which is the jurisdiction of the lord of this Leet over the resiants & inhabitants of this manor. This & all other courts leet are of a very antient institution & where first founded at the time the Saxons inhabited this island. For at that period of time this Kind [ors?] was divided into many different districts [& ?] inhabitants each district having a king of their own who held a court of judicature in which he himself presided as judge & tried & determined all offences from the highest to lowest the reign of her king did not continue many ages before the flame of war was kindled and almost a quite all then different governments monarchs engaged in a war against each other. But at length the constitution of [?vorne] of a governments being in each impaired by a long & tedious war they [? ew] to some of their neighbours with whom they were with peace & implored their aid and assistance by which means many of the states became very powerful & their dominions became very extensive And that period it found practicable for the king who [?stile] [?that] a supreme judge to try & determine erorns?] [?t]he offences than happened within the jurisdiction of this dominion at which it was thought [?adoriable that grants should be made to the most powerful persons within the king’s territories enabling to hold a court Leet & to try & determine offences from the highest to the lowest From that time courts leet were made universal [? t] the kingdom growing more populous & offences still increasing & found necessary to institute [? ] courts of justice to try offences recover debts for which part [on?] the [?affired] general quarter [ ] over this kingdom which continue to this day. And [?Decot] [?alkto] there at not instituted into [?eac] the [?doods] of Leet who were not able to transact the business of their courts many trespases tried at these courts now as were in those days yet the jurisdictions of the court still subsists & possessed with all the priviledges it then enjoyed And a Presentment made by the jury at this court as of same nature & force or an indictment found by the grand jury at the assize or quarter sessions for the presentments being transferred by the steward of the court to the judge at the assize or the justices at the sessions in sufficient to put the party upon [?linishial] the business which is at this period transacted at this court & which it is your duty to inquire particularly into is treason trespass murder burglary robbery & housburning. If any of you have heard any man speak treason against the king or government that would which to seize assassinate the king’s person or that threated to seize the [?tower] and bring in another monarch or know or have heard of any treasonable correspondence carried on against the king or government by any of his subjects to ought to present it in order that the offenders may be seized & brought to justice If there has been any murder trespass burglary robbery or housburning happened within this manor since the last court you ought to oresent them in order that the offenders may be put upon trial for such offences. The jurisdiction of this court does not [?pretend] to statute laws but to custom only except particularly authorised so to do by the statutes themselves. There are two statutes which the lords of leets or their stewards as particularly directed to give in charge to the jury the is statute made & passed in the reign of K [?] [7t ] called the riot act & is indent to prevent riots & unlawful assemblys in which it is enacted that if any persons above the number [? ] assemble together & do not disperse within 1 hour after this act [ ed] it is death by the law the othe is an act made and passed in the year of the reign of his late majesty K [G?] 2nd and is called the [?b]lack act and by this act it is enacted that if any person or persons [ o ] accused in a disguise by having their face blacked or being other disfigured as not to be known this is also Death by the Law. Any [?is] instance of kind has happened since the holding of the last court is a duty to present it as a Capital offence in order that the person so offending might be brought to justice.
ELSG image accession ref. - cwmbran1 476, 475, 473 & 474
Transcription details are based on the work of Dewi Bowen Williams, see http://www.ewyaslacy.org.uk/Michaelchurch-Escley-and-Peterchurch/Manorial-Court-Records-for-the-Manors-of-Clothy-Hopkin-Urishay-Trenant-amp-Wellbrook/1466-1833/tg_mic_0127
For zoomable images see http://www.ewyaslacy.org.uk/docs/rs_ewy_0060_9.pdf