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Quarter Sessions Jurors Lists Index, 1811-1831

The Staffordshire Quarter Sessions

The courts of Quarter Sessions were established in 1362 and sat for over 600 years until their abolition in 1971. The court’s initial function was judicial – to hear criminal cases – but over time the court acquired more and more administrative functions. The justices were drawn from the local gentry, who undertook the work free of charge, as a public service. To be selected to serve as a justice of the peace was a mark of standing in the local community.

As its name implies, the court sat every quarter, usually in January, April, July and October. In Staffordshire the sessions were named after religious festivals – Epiphany (January), Easter (April), Translation (July) and Michaelmas (October). Sometimes the amount of business was so great that some had to be adjourned - put off until a later date - in which case extra sessions were held, usually a week or two later.

In 1889 the administrative functions of the courts of Quarter Sessions were transferred to County Councils, but the courts continued to hear criminal cases until their abolition in 1971.

The Jurors List

Every year new lists of those qualified for Quarter Sessions jury service were drawn up by parish officers. The list was then displayed in the parish so that objections could be made. They contained the following information:

  • Surname and forenames
  • Place of residence
  • Parish
  • Hundred
  • Title/Nature of Qualification

Under the Act for Better Regulation of Juries, 1730, jury panels were selected from the jury lists by lot, with the intention of preventing eligible jurors of higher social status from evading their responsibilities through undue influence with local officials.

About This Index

For this index we have concentrated on the period before the first useable census, 1841. The jury lists began in this format in 1811, and we have taken a sample every five years until 1831. This is because there is very considerable overlap of names from one year to the next. We have not indexed 1836 as by that year eligibility for jury service had widened so far as to make the lists very extensive indeed.

The survival of returns can be patchy, as the table shows below:-

Hundred 1811 1816 1821 1826 1831
Cuttlestone EastYesYesYesNoYes
Cuttlestone WestYesYesPartYesYes
Offlow NorthYesYesNoYesYes
Offlow SouthYesYesNoYesYes
Pirehill NorthYesYesYesYesNo
Pirehill SouthYesYesYesYesNo
Seisdon NorthYesYesNoYesNo
Seisdon SouthNoNoNoYesNo
Totmonslow NorthYesYesYesYesYes
Totmonslow SouthYesYesYesNoYes


We are grateful to the Staffordshire Record Office Volunteer Group for their time and hard work, without which this online index would not have been possible.