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Repository Cheshire Record Office
Level Collection (Fonds)
Reference ZQ
Title Chester Quarter Sessions
Access Conditions Access to records containing personal information is subject to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Administrative History In many counties, quarter sessions under justices of the peace were established late in the fourteenth century for the trial of all but the most serious crimes. In Chester, presentments of crimes by juries similar to the grand juries at quarter sessions were made before the sheriffs or the mayor from the late fourteenth century: in the late fifteenth century, these are recorded in the sheriffs' books (SB). Quarter sessions were formally established in Chester by the 'Great Charter' of 1506 (ZCH/32) which empowered the mayor and aldermen who had been mayor to act as justices of the peace and created the new office of recorder. Cheshire did not obtain justices of the peace until 1536. Later in the sixteenth century, quarter sessions began to acquire administrative as well as judicial powers, especially with regard to the poor law. Under the Municipal Corporations Act, 1835, Chester Corporation petitioned to retain its separate quarter sessions and this was granted in William IV's charter of 1836 (ZCH/43). Under the Courts Act, 1971, quarter sessions were replaced by Crown courts and the last sitting of Chester city quarter sessions was held on 23 November 1971.
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