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Who is The Lord of The Borough?

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

No one individual is the Lord of the Borough of Ashburton - so who is it

John Dunning (left, 18 October 1731 – 18 August 1783) was created 1st Baron Ashburton in 1782
John Dunning (left) was created 1st Baron Ashburton in 1782

Historically the title "Lord of the Borough of Ashburton" passed from father to son like any other property, at some periods it was shared between families and then reference was made to the "Lords of the Borough".

In 1927 the title passed from the last private individual to the Ashburton Urban District Council, which had been formed in 1898 and this council became Lord of the Borough as a corporate body. It also became owner of the Town Hall and "Lord of the Manor" at the same time.

In 1974 the ownership of the Town Hall was transferred to Teignbridge District Council and the newly formed Ashburton Town Council became "Lord of the Borough of Ashburton" and "Lord of the Manor of Ashburton". The present Court of the Leet and Baron Juries is a Borough Court, the Manor Court has not met since 1908, and so members of the Leet and Baron Juries refer to the "Lord of the Borough of Ashburton".

It is incorrect for the Town Council to be referred to as "Lords of the Borough" as the word "Lords" implies that individual councillors are Lords of the Borough. It is also incorrect to consider that the Town Mayor is the "Lord of the Borough". The Town Council holds the title in a corporate sense, and it is in that capacity that it Appoints a Steward to conduct all Court proceedings and assumes responsibility for ensuring that the presentments made by the Juries are passed on to the correct authority.

Usually the Mayor attends Courts events as "The Representative of the Lord of the Borough"

It is the custom in Ashburton for the Lord of the Borough to be present at the Annual Court and Law Day and to open and close the proceedings. Since the title is held by a corporate body, it is represented by one of their number, usually the Mayor, who is referred to in proceedings as "the Representative of the Lord of the Borough."

Leaflet - Courts Information
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