The court leet was a court of record, and its duty was not only to view the pledges but to present by jury all crimes that might happen within the jurisdiction, and punish the same.
In a formal fashion courts leet for the view of frankpledge were held in the time of the jurist Selden, and a few of these have survived until the present day.
Date the chief officer in the town had been the chief constable, who was appointed annually at the court leet of the manor.
Exchanged it with Roger de Newburgh, earl of Warwick, whose descendant, William de Beauchamp, in the reign of Edward I., claimed by prescription a court leet with assize of bread and ale and other liberties here, which were allowed him, as it was found that his ancestors had held the same.
The town government during this period was by the bishop's bailiff, and the holders of the burgages composed the juries of the bishop's courts leet and baron.
The court leet began to decline in the 14th century, being superseded by the more modern courts of the justices, but in many cases courts leet were kept up until nearly the middle of the 19th century.
The corporation was replaced by two constables chosen annually in the court leet of the manor until 1894, when an urban district council was appointed.
From the Extenta manerii of the 12th century we get to the Manorial Rolls of the 13th, when also we have Hundred Rolls, records of forest courts, of courts leet and of coroners courts, and ii variety of municipal documents, for which the reader is referred to Dr C. Grosss Bibliography of British Municipal History and to Mrs J.
This arrangement lasted until 1565, when the burgesses put in a claim to their right of election, and it was decided that out of four burgesses nominated by the lord of the manor the jury of the court leet should select the mayor.
A court leet and view of frankpledge have been held here from time immemorial.