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Court and Law Day 2021

Updated: Jul 3, 2022

Ashburton's 1201st Portreeve is appointed in a ceremony at St Andrew's Church

Mr Sean Wilson succeeds Cllr John Nutley as Portreeve of Ashburton

At 4pm on the 23rd of November 2021- the representative of the Lord of the Borough of Ashburton, Cllr Jenny Giles, asked the Court Crier to declare the Court open. Due to social distancing requirements, the Court was held at St Andrews Church instead of its usual location at St Lawrence Chapel.

There has been a Portreeve in Ashburton since 820ad

During the ceremony, the Leet and Baron juries make their Presentments, the juries are sworn in and a number of appointments made including that of the new Portreeve and Master Bailiff. The ceremony is important as it ensures the continuity of the Courts in Ashburton, the only town in England where the office of Portreeve is held by an act of Parliament - the office itself was established in 820ad.

Mr Sean Wilson was appointed the 1201st Portreeve of Ashburton, succeeding Cllr John Nutley (1199-1200) who remained in office for two years due to the pandemic. Mrs Karen Turner was appointed Master Bailiff.

"A little goes a long way"

Sean thanked John for his work within the community during the pandemic - referring to his countless small kindnesses saying that "a little goes a long way!". He said he was looking forward to working with Karen and the Courts to uphold the traditions of the Courts and support the community as it rebuilds itself after the last 20 months.

"Buy local and support the businesses that supported us during lockdown"

After the ceremony, guests attended the Portreeve's Dinner at the Dartmoor Lodge. The traditional speeches were made, praising residents of Ashburton for their "Dunkirk spirit" during the pandemic and looking forward to the future - urging us to buy local and support the businesses that supported us during lockdown.

What will the Portreeve and Master Bailiff Do?

During their year in office, the Portreeve and Master Bailiff will go to many events, coffee mornings and meetings. They support organisations in the town with fundraising - they will support the RBL at the Portreeve's Poppy Ball. Their involvement can help to raise the profile of an event.

Together with the members of the Leet and Baron juries they will also raise funds for chosen causes, running their own fundraising events and schemes throughout the year.

They are also involved in a small number of traditional events that take place during their year which help to keep our traditions alive and raise awareness of the Courts and what they do - the best known example being the Ale Tasting & Bread Weighing ceremony.

If you are raising funds for a local cause, and would like the support of the Portreeve, you can get in touch via the contact page on this site.



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