Traditionally, the recorder was the corporation’s legal advisor. It is probable that the town always had the assistance of a lawyer but in the early medieval period he was not known as a recorder. A “person skilled in law” was appointed by the charter of Edward IV in 1461, and although he was not called a Recorder, he fulfilled the same functions as later holders of the title. The office appears to have been made annual by the same charter. Although the mayor presided over the quarter sessions and other local courts it was the recorder who provided such sessions with trained professional competence.

Further reading:

History of Southampton, by Rev. J. S. Davies, p184-186. (HS/h)


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