Updated 21 Feb 2006
WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900
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This Hall was built by the direction
The High Peak Barmote Court was set up under an Act of 1851, and the Wirksworth Barmote Court by an Act of 1852. They have met in the Moot Hall in Wirksworth since 1814.
Since 1994, the Barmote Courts have met once a year, in April. The Grand Jury is formed of twelve members resident within the jurisdiction of the Court in the High Peak or working within Wirksworth. They sit before a miners' standard dish, made in the reign of Henry VIII, and originally used for testing the miners' wooden dishes against the regulation model. At meetings, bread, cheese, clay pipes and tobacco are still provided.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is now responsible for the appointment of the Steward and the Barmaster on behalf of The Queen in right of her Duchy. The Queen also has the title Lord of the Field and a member of the duchy office attends the court in her place. The Duchy is not involved in the actual running of the Courts.
A county court sits monthly at the Moot Hall, rebuilt in 1814 by the Hon. Charles Bathurst, then chancellor of the duchy. In this hall is preserved the hoppet or standard brass dish of Henry VIII.'s time for measuring the ores, and in it are also held the barmote courts twice a year before the steward of the manor to determine all disputes and offences against the ancient customs as defined and amended by the Derbyshire Mining Customs and Mineral Courts Act, 1852.
The code of laws and customs by which these courts are governed closely resemble those of the stanneries of Cornwall; one custom is, that every person has the privilege of digging and searching for lead ore in any part of the "King's Field", which comprehends the greater part of the wapentake, and should he discover a vein of lead, he has a right to work it, and erect buildings necessary for that purpose, without making any compensation to the owner of the land. A court of requests was established here in 1837 under a special Act of parliament. Two courts baron annually take place at Easter and Michaelmas, and a court leet at Easter for the king's manor, under the lessee of the crown. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are now the impropriators. There is also another manor within the parish, called the Holland or Richmond manor, which has no courts, but was granted in 1553 by Henry VIII. to Ralph Gell.
Plaques from the Old Moot Hall, showing Miner's tools of scales, pick and trough.
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