Gray, D. (2012) “Concealing my want of power”: social relations and the magistracy in Northamptonshire in the long eighteenth century. Invited Presentation presented to: North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS) 2012, Montreal, Canada, 09-11 November 2012.
This paper analyses the notebook of an eighteenth-century magistrate, Philip Ward. As Ward was especially diligent in recording the rationale behind his decision-making, it offers a unique insight into the summary process. The paper considers the nature of the business that Ward dealt with and the amount of discretion he exercised in making his decisions. Importantly, since Ward was operating before Richard Burn published the first edition of his guide for JPs this particular magistrate drew upon his own legal experience and his father’s extensive law library. So while Ward was not making up the law as he went along he was working out how to apply it to the hearings that came before him.
Conference or Workshop Item (Invited Presentation)
justices of the peace, magistrates, crime, justice, discretion