Monmouthshire Court of Quarter Sessions Records

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Records of the Monmouthshire Court of Quarter Sessions, 1719-1956, including minute books, 1769-1929; draft minute books, 1805-1814; record books, 1830-1942; draft record book, 1855-1866; records of proceedings, 1779-1780; printed minutes, 1836-1953; papers and reports to Quarter Sessions, 1789-1037; sessions order records, 1787-1830; petitions and memorials to Quarter Sessions, 1811-1922; special pleas, 1789-1790; Chairman's notebooks, 1862-1953; sessions files and bundles, 1937-1955; process records, 1719-1938; records of jury panels, 1809-1920; jury lists, 1824-1893; recognizances, 1790-1936; indictments and presentments, 1780-1949; depositions, 1818-1937; records of convictions, 1831-1872; calendars of prisoners, 1808-1936; estreat rolls, 1797-1874; records of appeals, 1784-1954; probation records, 1907-1936; records relating to insolvent debtors, 1796-1847; sessions rules and standing orders, 1857-1906; records of the Clerk of the Peace, 1796-1951; County Treasurer's records, 1789-1928; records relating to the maintenance of bridges, 1791-1889; records relating to county buildings, 1787-1886; constabulary records, 1802-1951; records relating to diseases of animals, 1865-1891; election records, 1832-1889; county gaol records, 1790-1923; records of the Justices of the Peace, 1795-1935; licensing records, 1810-1955; records relating to militia, 1795-1796; public general statutes, 1792-1827; government reports, 1811-1946; records relating to the appointment of officers, 1803-1952; bastardy returns, 1845-1859; records of charities, 1815-1863; Court of Sewers records, 1722-1894; records relating to parliamentary elections, 1767-1879; enclosure awards and maps, 1808-1870; fisheries records, 1865-1931; deputations to gamekeepers, 1796-1924; records relating to highways, 1787-1888; lunatic returns, 1829-1910; records of public undertakings, 1771-1956; sacrament certificates, 1795-1806; certificates of oaths, 1789-1863; oaths and declarations, 1763-1881; records of societies, 1794-1869; summary jurisdiction returns, 1780-1929; vagrancy and settlement records, 1789-1889; miscellaneous maps, 1824-1933; miscellaneous books, 1884-1928.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Court of Quarter Sessions in Monmouthshire sat four times a year, attended by the Justices of the Peace of the county. Quarter sessions courts began in Wales after the Acts of Union, 1536-1543. The Quarter Sessions played a major role in the local administration of Monmouthshire until the late nineteenth century, when many of its administrative functions were transferred to the County Council. However, 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 into the following: Judicial records, including general, process records, juries, recognizances, presentments, depositions, convictions, calenders of prisoners, estreat rolls, appeals, probation, debtors, session rules and standing orders; Administrative records including general, Clerk of the Peace, County Treasurer, county bridges, county buildings, constabulary, diseases of animals, elections, county gaols, Justices of the Peace, licensing, militia and miscellaneous; Enrolled deposited, registered or returned records, including appointments of officers, bastardy, charities, court of sewers, parliamentary elections, enclosure awards and maps, fisheries, game preservation, highways, jurors, licensing, lunacy, public undertaking, religion, societies, summary jurisdiction returns, vagrancy and settlement and miscellaneous.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

Source not recorded


Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Gwent Record Office, Monmouthshire Court of Quarter Sessions, catalogue; Jones, Gareth Elwyn, Modern Wales: A Concise History, c. 1485-1979 (Cambridge, 1984).

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available in Gwent Record Office.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Gwent Record Office have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Further records of Monmouthshire Court of Quarter Sessions are National Library of Wales, Papists' returns, 17th century-18th century.

Geographical Names