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Anglo Saxon predecessor
‘Scir-gerefa’ or Shire Reeve & system of tithings and hundred courts (local criminal courts)
Sheriff (combination Shire Reeve + Vice-comte)
Sheriff's tourns (local criminal courts)
Sheriff Nathaniel Wells, 1818
Free resource from National Archives
Nathaniel Wells (1779-1852) was the son of a Welsh slave trader and plantation owner with an enslaved woman. He was educated in London, and on the death of his father inherited his estates. Wells was a magistrate and landowner in Monmouthshire and became Britain’s first black High Sheriff. This is interesting as he would have made judgments on white people at a time when black slaves had no rights in the colonies.
TNA Discovery [Finding archives & court records]
Search tool for finding surviving court records/archives. Try search combing sheriff with the county you are interested in.
Local government & administration
The need to keep the King's Peace, punish criminality, and raise revenue for the crown
Top level subject searches in SOLO
- Don't limit your subject search strings t o those with England in them. Great Britain is the default term for the landmass of the British Isles in search terms. So Justices of the peace -- Great Britain may well include works on the JPs pre 1707 as well as after 1801.
- Try subject searches both with and without history in the string! eg Coroners England History This may be too fine a filter. So try again without History
Justice, Administration of
Criminal Justice, Administration of
Counties -- England -- History;
England -- Administrative and political divisions -- History
Parishes (local government)
Justices of the peace
JPs or Magistrates & coroners
Evolution of office since 1066
Keepers of the Peace 1195
Guardians of the Peace 1327
Justices of the Peace 1361
Lay Magistrates synonym JPs
1813 First paid professional JP
1835 Municipal Corporations Act empowered borough to apply for the provision of a paid or "stipendiary" magistrate
1919 first woman JP Councillor Ada Summers (when also the Mayor of Stalybridge)
Records of Coroners' Inquests (held in cases of sudden unexplained deaths or possible cases of suicide) are a very useful source for social and economic historians. It is worth searching SOLO for Death -- Causes -- History -- Sources - as many have been at least calendared.
Brief overview of history of coroners
Free resource. Part of the website of the Coroners' Society of England and Wales
Everyday Life and Fatal Hazard in Sixteenth-Century England
Tudor England was a dangerous place. There were plagues and wars, perilous childbirths and shocking infant mortality. But what risks did people face as they went about their everyday lives? Steven Gunn of Merton College and Tomasz Gromelski of Wolfson College are investigating this problem using evidence from coroners’ reports preserved in the National Archives. The four-year project entitled ‘Everyday Life and Fatal Hazard in Sixteenth-Century England’ is based in Oxford and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, with support from the Faculty of History and Merton and Wolfson colleges.