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Warwick Court Leet, or as it is formally known "The Court Leet of the Worshipful Town Mayor and Chief Burgesses of Warwick" was founded in 1554 and consisted of a Jury of 12 Burgesses (upright citizens) plus 12 assistants, to aid the Steward (the Town Clerk) and the Town Council in the running of the town of Warwick.

CONTACT 

THE COURT HOUSE

JURY STREET

WARWICK

CV34 4EW

T: 01926 411694

E: civicadmin@warwicktowncouncil.org.uk

© 2019 Warwick Court Leet

Offices of The Court Leet

 

The present Court Leet Jury is fixed at twenty -four burgesses. Jury membership of the Court is open to residents of the three Wards of Warwick, or persons having a business connection within Warwick, who over a lengthy period have gained great knowledge of Warwick and have contributed in a significant way to the life of the town. Recommended names of persons to become new Jurors are, if thought fit, submitted by the Court Leet for approval by the Mayor, as representative of the Lords of the Leet. Jurors once elected and sworn in, give evidence under oath. The Court Leet Jurors,, from amongst its members, traditionally appoint officers who report annually. Apart from the Constables, representing each Ward, the Officers are:

 

The Bailiff: Appointed annually and acts as the figurehead and senior officer of the Court with special responsibilities for representing the Court at Civic and neighbouring Court events. The Bailiff chairs the Court meetings, apart from the Annual Court that can be chaired by the Mayor as Lord of the Leet.

 

The Low Bailiff: Appointed annually to support the Bailiff, and to act as successor when the Bailiff steps down.

 

The Foreman: Elected bi-annually. As in the case of a legal Jury the Foreman is elected to act as spokesperson for the Jurors, and ensures that the Jurors are kept up to date with information about Court and Civic business.

 

The Overseer of Pavements, who reports on any 'decay of pavements' either in repair or cleanliness inhibiting the free passage of the town's residents.

 

The Surveyor of Buildings, who reports on buildings at risk within Warwick due to the decline in their condition to the detriment of the town's heritage and environment.

 

The Town Brook Looker, who has to report on any impediment to the free flowing condition of the waterways through and around Warwick (an important function before the installation of modern sewage systems!).

 

The Herald, whose duties are maintenace of the Court diary, to include Civic and Court events and those of adjoining Courts, to seek to publicise the Court's activities and any Juror vacancies. Also to participate in Court events.

 

The Bread and Butter Weigher has the duty of checking that the weight of loaves and butter being offered for sale in the town is correct.

 

The Fish and Flesh tasters, have the task of ensuring that all fish and meat offered for sale in the town is of good qualiity and is not “rotten or rancid”.

 

Last, but not least, there is the town's Ale Taster, whose task is to ensure that the supply of ale throughout Warwick is of sufficient quantity and quality to meet the needs of Warwick's residents.

 

The Court Leet Serjeant at Mace bears the Town Mace, preceding the Mayor when attending Court Leet functions.

 

If the Court Leet's proceedings and terminology used sounds anachronistic in today's terms, the Court's existence is just as important today as it was in its origins. The Court is a non-political, independent advisory body of Jurors collectively with great local knowledge, seeking to improve matters considered amiss for the betterment and good governance of Warwic.

 

The Court meets four times a year, winter, spring, summer and autumn (usually the last Thursdays of January, March, June and October). The March and October meetings are open to the public and are attended by the principal officers of the other local Courts ( Alcester, Bromsgrove and Henley in Arden). The Mayor, as Lord of the Leet, is invited to attend the principal meeting, which is the October Annual Court, at which the Officers for the ensuing year are installed.

Warwick Court Leet

Established 1554