Merionethshire Quarter Sessions Records

Scope and Content

Records of the Merionethshire Court of Quarter Sessions, 1776-1914, consisting mainly of administrative records, including writs, 1776-1879; nomina ministrorum, 1776-1914; jury records, 1776-1914; constables' records, 1776-1914; surveyor's records, 1800-1914; treasurers' records, 1776-1879; coroner's records, 1776-1843; gaol and prisoner records, 1776-1914; sacrament certificates, 1776-1822; records relating to the maintenance of bridges and roads, 1776-1877; records relating to the appointment of Justices of the Peace, 1776-1914; records relating to the appointment of Lieutenants, 1778-1842; records relating to the Clerks of the Court, 1783-1872; records relating to militia, 1778-1878; police records, 1866-1914; records relating to poor relief, 1777-1879; records relating to asylums, 1824-1914; records relating to criminal and civil cases, 1777-1914, including letters, 1777-1914; presentments, 1776-1879; recognizances and related records, 1776-1879; conviction records, 1784-1914; warrants, 1781-1879; orders, 1777-1911; bills, 1777-1914; notices of appeal, 1776-1878; depositions, 1786-1879; petitions, 1788-1914; oaths, 1787-1914; instructions, 1787-1879; notices, 1784-1879; examinations, 1782-1879; summons, 1840-1869; schedules of estate, 1778-1814; marriage records, 1782-1808; licensing records, 1782-1914; Land Tax assessments, 1784; County Rate records, 1819-1914; game certificates and appointment of gamekeepers, 1785-1874; records relating to nonconformist meeting houses and preachers, 1792-1847; and newspapers, 1843-1874.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Court of Quarter Sessions in Merionethshire sat four times a year, attended by the Justices of the Peace of the county. Quarter Sessions courts were etsablished in Wales after the Acts of Union, 1536-1543. As well as its judicial functions, the Quarter Sessions played a major role in the local administration of Merionethshire until the late nineteenth century, when many of its administrative functions were transferred to the County Council. The judicial role of the Courts continued until their abolition in 1971. The Court of Quarter Sessions heard a broad range of cases including burglary, assault, drunkenness, poaching, vagrancy, rioting, unlawful cutting of timber, and encroachment. Forms of punishment handed down by the justices were fines, flogging, imprisonment and transportation. The Court also heard disputes between individuals, such as non-payment of debts, and was responsible for the administration of the Poor Laws. There were numerous administrative matters overseen by the courts, including licensing alehouses, determining wage-levels and controlling registration of charities and nonconformist meeting houses. In addition, the Court had responsibility for overseeing the upkeep of bridges, gaols and houses of correction.


Arranged by year and session

Access Information

No restrictions


Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Archifdy Meirionnydd Archives, Llysoedd Chwarter Meirionnydd/ Merioneth Quarter Sessions, catalogues; Jones, Gareth Elwyn, Modern Wales: A Concise History c.1485-1979 (Cambridge, 1984).

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogues are available in Meirionnydd Archives and the National Library of Wales. A number of the catalogues are available online.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Meirionnydd Archives have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Related records are Meirionnydd Archives, Quarter Sessions Administration, Z/QA, Quarter Sessions Miscellaneous Papers, Z/AS, Z/L, Z/QF, Z/QS/P, Quarter Sessions Enrolments, Registration, Deposits and Returns, Z/QR; Merioneth Constabulary Records, Z/H; Merioneth County Gaol, Dolgellau, Records, Z/QA/G.

Geographical Names