THE HISTORY of Warwick’s Court House will be brought to life on Bank Holiday Monday (May 5).
With a history stretching back across the centuries Jury Street building is one of Warwick’s hidden treasures.
In 1571 Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, gifted the original building, then called the Cross Tavern, to the Corporation of Warwick as part of a compensation package for giving him its Guild Hall.
After being damaged by the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694, the building was replaced in the 1720s with the elegant sandstone building of today.
It was also used as the Magistrates’ Court, dispensing justice to the residents of Warwick until 1970 when Petty Sessions in the town ended.
The grade 1 listed building has recently undergone extensive renovation, funded in part by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and continues to be used by Warwick Town Council for meetings and as a Visitor Centre.
Townspeople and visitors will have an opportunity to visit the newly refurbished Court House and learn about its history on Bank Holiday Monday.
There will be free guided tours at 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm, are followed by reinactments – based on the Town archives – of a Petty Magistrates Session of 1851.
Egged on by a rowdy crowd of spectators, a motley crew of drunkards, vandals, thieves, and workhouse absconders receive summary justice from Charles Redfern Esq, Chairman of the Bench and Warwick Mayor.
For these petty offenders, punishments ranged from fines, time in the stocks, flogging, to confinement with hard labour in the local ‘House of Correction’. More serious crimes were dealt with in the County Courts housed in the Shire Hall.
* TOURS of the Old Warwick Courts in Northgate Street, including the courtroom, cells and dungeon, take place later this month.
Tours will take place on Friday May 16 at 3pm, 4.15pm and 5.30pm.
Tickets cost £5 and places must be booked. Call Warwickshire County Record Office on 01926 738959.