Ref noJQS
TitleCourt of Quarter Sessions
Date1595 - 1971
DescriptionClasses and covering dates of this collection are as follows:
Minutes of the courts of General Quarter Sessions JQS/M/1-6 1595-1705
Docket books of courts of Quarter Sessions JQS/D/1-66 1682-1971
Gaol delivery fiats JQS/GD/1-64 1741-1828
Sessions papers JQS/P/1-815 1699-n.d [19th cent]
Sessions bundles JQS/B unnumbered 1824-1971
Recorders' Note Books JQS/NB/1-33 1945-1971
Informations JQS/I/1-15 1821-1843
Jury books JQS/J/1-12 1731-1732, 1905-1972
Oath rolls JQS/O/1-3 1749-1842
Grand Jury books JQS/GJ/1 1880-1928
Convictions and presentments JQS/C/1-3 1676-1728, 1914-1915
Presentments by Grand Juries JQS/Pr/1 1628-1666
Writ books JQS/W/1 1679-1836
Appeals Minutes JQS/Ap/1-7 1871-1883, 1903, 1922-1971
Assault summons JQS/AS/1 1841-1842
Registers of Probationers JQS/Prob/1-3 1945-1971
Registers of licences to alehouse keepers JQS/AK/1-11 1654-1814
Register of innkeepers JQS/IK/1 1802-1811
Horse books JQS/H/1 1735-1758
Registers relating to burials in woollen JQS/BW/1-2 1707-1780
Friendly Societies' Articles of Associations Of Association JQS/Friendly Societies/1-35 1770-1826
Miscellaneous JQS/X/1-2 1941-1957
Administrative historySessions were county courts and derive in Bristol from its erection into a county by the charter of 1373.There were private and public sessions, the former comprising petty and special sessions and the latter comprising General Quarter Sessions and Quarter Sessions. Justices of the Peace held the latter immediately from the crown by a commission under the great seal whose origin goes back to the 14th century. By statute 1 Edw III (1327) the king ordained that certain persons within each county be assigned to keep the peace, and in 1344 it was enacted that this would be by the King's Commission. In 1360 these persons were styled Justices of the Peace for the first time and made complete judges of a court of record. Each justice was appointed by royal commission, by royal letter patent or by act of Parliament.General Quarter Sessions were those held at the four quarters of the year, although these were often adjourned. General Sessions were those held at any other time as need arose. Sessions were to be held before at least two JPs, which in Bristol prior to 1835 meant either the mayor or recorder with one of the aldermen or two of the five senior aldermen with one other alderman. After the 1835 Municipal Corporation Act aldermen were no longer ex officio Justices of the Peace. There were several officers of the court:- the Custos Rotulorum, appointed as the keeper of the rolls by the crown, and usually the Lord Lieutenant;- the Clerk of the Peace, appointed by the Council, and usually the Town Clerk, although a deputy acted as clerk to the Sessions;- the Treasurer;- the Sheriff, to whom a precept had to be issued before a court of Quarter Sessions could be held. The Sheriff or Under-sheriff was always present in court;- jurors;- the Constable;- advocates. By the twentieth century the courts were held before the Recorder in the Guildhall. The Courts of Assizes and Quarter Sessions were abolished by the Courts Act 1971, and replaced with the Crown Court. These records 1972- (case files and indictments) are held by The National Archives under references J309 and J310.
Access statusOpen
SubjectAdministration of justice
Local government
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