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stannaries

stannaries (from the Latin stannum, tin). The region of tin-mining in Cornwall and Devon, which acquired special jurisdiction. Tin- and lead-miners, being isolated communities, had their own customs and conventions. King John's charter of 1201 empowered the lord warden of the stannaries to try all cases except land, life, or limb. The warden appointed stewards to conduct regular trials, with appeals to a vice-warden. The jurisdiction of the warden survived until 1873, that of the vice-warden until 1898. The stannaries also had parliaments for both Devon and Cornwall: each consisted of 24 representatives, nominated by the four stannary towns in each shire. The Cornish parliament met last in 1752. The jurisdiction of the stannary courts was a matter of considerable dispute, since outsiders tried to restrict it to the actions of miners against other miners, while their opponents argued for a wider interpretation.

J. A. Cannon

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