Henley-in-Arden Museum and Heritage Centre

Henley-in-Arden Court Leet & Court Baron

In Mediaeval times the Court Leet, under the direction of the Lord of the Manor, was responsible for law and order in the town, to try by jury and punish crimes committed within the jurisdiction.

Some of its many tasks included checking the weights and measures and the quality of goods offered for sale by the tradesmen in the town, especially the quality and strength of the ale.

The earliest mention of a Manorial Court in Henley comes from an entry in the Warwickshire Feet of Fines dated 1240, when Brice of Henley promised to pay the yearly rent and to do suit at the Court of Henley three times a year. Detailed records of the Court exist from 1546 and edited transcripts of the court rolls from 1546 to 1918 were published in 1919. The names of the High Bailiffs are recorded from 1477.

The Court Leet maintains the traditions and history of the town. Annual re-enactments of the ceremonies of ale-tasting, bread and butter weighing, fish and flesh tasting, brook looking and beating of the manorial bounds take place. The Court represents and promotes the town at many events.

Its officers are elected annually in the Guild Hall by jurors who must have been resident in the town for a period of three years.