Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016: Q is for Quarter Sessions
The Quarter Sessions were a 'meeting' of the local Justices of the Peace  But they weren't just criminal courts for things like burglary and murder.  You had to conform to the established religion (or get a licence to worship elsewhere); the JPs also managed the upkeep of the roads, administered the Poor Law, and regulated trade and employment.  This continued until 1888, when the local council took over.  However, the criminal court part continued with the Quarter Sessions until 1971.

Not all Quarter Sessions records survive; but some have been published by county and local family history societies, and some remain in the care of the county record offices.  They may include such items of interest (for a genealogist, at least!) as juror lists, pub landlords, land tax assessments, and maps.

© 2016 Ros Haywood. All Rights Reserved


  1. I was first going to use Quarter Sessions for Q, but changed.
    I have an ancestor - my 2x great grandmother's sister, who was very familiar with Quarter Sessions - the criminal part hahaha.

    1. hahaha - I have one particular (female) ancestor who would fall into that category, too. She was let off because of her good character and extenuating circumstances...

  2. Didn't think of these documents so might get added to my list to look at, at my local record office. Q is such a difficult letter but you pulled out a great post, Ros :)
    Stormy’s Sidekicks
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    1. Thanks for the compliment. You might like my 'R is for Recusant Rolls', if you are adding to a lengthening list of sources to look at. Or you might not, seeing as your list is getting longer!

  3. Something I am learning every day. I have not heard of this.

    1. You can learn so much about your ancestors through little snippets. They really do become people rather than just names and dates on a page.



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