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Choosing assize judges

Assize judges were the vital links between central and local government. They rode their circuits of counties twice a year, dispensing royal justice, reporting on the local justices of the peace, and publicising government policy to the people. They were carefully chosen: a man needed to be learned in the law, rich (so as not too tempted by bribes), well-connected, sound in religion (Protestant at this time) and preferably not from the area he was responsible for (so as not to show favour to friends).

Candidates were discussed and opinions sought by the Privy Council. This document is a response from a member of the Council in the Marches of Wales, giving candid opinions of likely candidates for Welsh judgeships, in 1576. English justices were assessed in the same way, at the highest levels.

Catalogue reference: SP 12/107 no. 13 (part only; date: 1576)

Choosing assize judges. Cat ref: SP 12/107
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