Skip to main content

courts leet

courts leet were originally held as a form of franchise by the lord of the manor. Unlike the seigneurial (feudal) courts, the jurisdiction of the leet did not belong to the lord by right but had to be granted to him by the king. However such a grant entitled the lord to hold the hundred court, dealing with all minor criminal matters within the district, and to receive the fines paid to the court. This passing of hundred courts into private hands was widespread and although Edward I by his ‘quo warranto’ inquiry clamped down on the holders of franchises, he eventually allowed a lord to hold the court if he could show a specific grant from the crown or that he had held the court from the date of the accession of Richard I (1189). Courts leet declined with the advent of the justices of the peace but many remained and some became the kernel of a new local government for the growing boroughs which incorporated an existing manor. Courts leet were sometimes combined in one gathering with the court customary (the ‘halmote’ or ‘hallmoot’), presided over by the lord's steward or bailiff.

Maureen Mulholland

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"courts leet." The Oxford Companion to British History. . 19 Feb. 2019 <>.

"courts leet." The Oxford Companion to British History. . (February 19, 2019).

"courts leet." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved February 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.