The Court of Great Sessions in Wales was the main court for the prosecution of felonies and serious misdemeanours in Wales between the second Laws in Wales Act of 1542 and the court's abolition in 1830. It had the same powers in civil law as the King's Bench in England, (it also had equity jurisdiction) and its criminal jurisdiction was equivalent to the English county assizes.
The Court was established under the 1542 Act which formally incorporated Wales within the English legal system. Of the 13 Welsh counties, 12 – that is, all except the County of Monmouth – formed new court circuits. These were Chester (comprising the counties of Flint, Denbigh and Montgomery); North Wales (Anglesea and the counties of Caernarvon and Merioneth); Brecon (the counties of Brecon, Glamorgan, and Radnor); and Carmarthen (the counties of Kayermarthen, Cardigan, and Pembroke).Monmouthshire was added to the Oxford circuit of the English Assizes. The Sessions met twice a year in each county, administering English law in the English language: of the 217 judges who sat on its benches in its 288 years of existence, only 30 were Welshmen and it is unlikely that more than a handful of the latter – members of the higher gentry – actually spoke Welsh.
According to historian John Davies, the treatment of Monmouthshire in this arrangement was the cause of the "notion" that "the county had been annexed by England" and was no longer part of Wales.The National Library of Wales holds the surviving historical records of the Court of Great Sessions.
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.
The Welsh Marches is an imprecisely defined area along the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods.
The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 were parliamentary measures by which Wales was annexed to the Kingdom of England, the legal system of England was extended to Wales and the norms of English administration were introduced. The intention was to create a single state and legal jurisdiction. The Acts were passed during the reign of King Henry VIII of England, who came from the Welsh Tudor dynasty.
The Courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales.
England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.
The historic counties of Wales are sub-divisions of Wales. They were used for various functions for several hundred years, but have been largely superseded by contemporary sub-national divisions, some of which bear some limited similarity to the historic entities in name and extent. They are alternatively known as ancient counties.
Brecknockshire, also known as the County of Brecknock, Breconshire, or the County of Brecon is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, and a former administrative county. Named after its county town of Brecon, the county is mountainous and primarily rural.
Monmouthshire, also known as the County of Monmouth, is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales and a former administrative county. It corresponds approximately to the present principal areas of Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Torfaen, and those parts of Caerphilly and Cardiff east of the Rhymney River.
The courts of quarter sessions or quarter sessions were local courts traditionally held at four set times each year in the Kingdom of England from 1388 until the end of the kingdom, then in 18th-century Great Britain, in the later United Kingdom, and in other dominions of the British Empire.
South Wales is a loosely defined region of Wales bordered by England to the east and mid Wales to the north. It has a population of around 2.2 million, almost three-quarters of the whole of Wales, including 400,000 in Cardiff, 250,000 in Swansea and 150,000 in Newport. Generally considered to include the historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, South Wales extends westwards to include Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. In the western extent, from Swansea westwards, local people would probably recognise that they lived in both south Wales and west Wales. The Brecon Beacons National Park covers about a third of South Wales, containing Pen y Fan, the highest British mountain south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia.
Politics in Wales forms a distinctive polity in the wider politics of the United Kingdom, with Wales as one of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom (UK).
The Court of the Council in the Dominion and Principality of Wales, and the Marches of the same, commonly called the Council of Wales and the Marches was a regional administrative body based in Ludlow Castle within the Kingdom of England between the 15th and 17th centuries, similar to the Council of the North. Its area of responsibility varied but generally covered all of modern Wales and the Welsh Marches of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire/Bristol.
Welsh law is the primary and secondary legislation generated by the Senedd, using devolved authority granted in the Government of Wales Act 2006 and in effect since May 2007. Each piece of Welsh legislation is known as an Act of the Senedd. The first Welsh legislation to be proposed was the NHS Redress (Wales) Measure 2008. This was the first time in almost 500 years that Wales has had its own laws, since Cyfraith Hywel, a version of Celtic law, was abolished and replaced by English law through the Laws in Wales Acts, enacted between 1535 and 1542 during the reign of King Henry VIII.
The Justice of Chester was the chief judicial authority for the county palatine of Chester, from the establishment of the county until the abolition of the Great Sessions in Wales and the palatine judicature in 1830.
The history of the Welsh language spans over 1400 years, encompassing the stages of the language known as Primitive Welsh, Old Welsh, Middle Welsh, and Modern Welsh.
Brecon was a parliamentary constituency in Wales which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and its predecessors, from 1542 until it was abolished for the 1885 general election.
The England–Wales border, sometimes referred to as the Wales–England border or the Anglo-Welsh border, is the border between England and Wales, two constituent countries of the United Kingdom. It runs for 160 miles (260 km) from the Dee estuary, in the north, to the Severn estuary in the south. It has followed broadly the same line since the 8th century, and in part that of Offa's Dyke; the modern boundary was fixed in 1536, when the former marcher lordships which occupied the border area were abolished and new county boundaries were created.
The courts of assize, or assizes, were periodic courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the quarter sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. The assizes exercised both civil and criminal jurisdiction, though most of their work was on the criminal side. The assizes heard the most serious cases, which were committed to it by the quarter sessions, while the more minor offences were dealt with summarily by justices of the peace in petty sessions.
The modern history of Wales starts in the 19th century when South Wales became heavily industrialised with ironworks; this, along with the spread of coal mining to the Cynon and Rhondda valleys from the 1840s, led to an increase in population. The social effects of industrialisation resulted in armed uprisings against the mainly English owners. Socialism developed in South Wales in the latter part of the century, accompanied by the increasing politicisation of religious Nonconformism. The first Labour Party MP, Keir Hardie, was elected as junior member for the Welsh constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare in 1900.
The Lost Lands of Wales, a minor political idea of the mid 1960s, called into question the status of areas along the east side of the England–Wales border which its proponents regarded as Welsh. The idea was propounded by the Lost Lands Liberation League, and related to parts of the counties of Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.