By: Anne Tarver
Church Courts have existed since the Middle Ages, summoning vast numbers of ordinary people to appear before the representatives of the bishop or archdeacon for the ‘reformation of their souls and the correction of their manners’. The courts were also used by ordinary people to bring causes against each other. Proceedings were carefully recorded, producing a prolific quantity of act books and copious documents. The many that survive provide a veritable treasure trove of information for local and family historians.