Court Baron and Court Leet

Court Baron

Every manor had a court baron which dealt with the affairs of the manor and was held every three weeks or so, with the timing partially dependent on the size of the manor. All villeins were required to attend. Free tenants would attend about once a year or more often if they were involved in a dispute.

The court would have a jury, sometimes known as the homage, and anyone who was unable to attend (excuses) had to pay a fine, known as an essoin. Jurors were drawn from among the leading tenants and could demand that the lord carry out duties such as repairing the animal pound.

The main functions of the court baron were to:

  • record copyhold land transactions
  • implement the customs of the manor and the charges to be levied, as in the case of merchet
  • resolve disputes over property rights, damage, trespass, debt and defamation
  • regulate local agricultural practices where this was appropriat