Court Leets & Court Barons

  • 26 Oct 2020
  • Crime and Legal
  • Back

The difference between a Court Leet and a Court Baron was that the Court Leet was a criminal court and a View of Frankpledge, the Court Baron was a court for trying civil actions. The Court Leet was a Court of Record, held once a year in every manor before the Steward of the Leet, who was judge, the jury being composed of freemen within the jurisdiction of the peace, and the chastisement of divers minute offences.

The Court Baron was a court incident to every Manor in the Kingdom. It had the double character of (1) dealing with estates of copyholders, their transfer by surrender etc. and (2) a court of Common Law. The Baron's Court determined the rights or wrongs of all controversies relating to rights of land, and also for personal action where debts or damages damages did not amount to more than 40 shillings. The County Courts Acts of 1867 abolished the Common Law side.

The Court Baron was involved especially when a copyhold tenant had died interstate and his heir was desirous of taking his father's place as Copyholder. He was called a attend a Court Baron. His father's representative surrendered into the hands of the Lord of his Manor the property held by the late tenant, and handed in the rod or glove, to the Steward as a symbol of such surrender. The Steward, thereupon the prayer of the heir to be admitted tenant, hands the latter the rod or glove and his name and a record of the proceedings are entered on a Roll of the Manor by the Steward. These Rolls were usually large, strong bound volumes.