Document referenceQAX(C)
TitleRecords of the exempt jurisdiction of Craike : North Riding Quarter Sessions
DescriptionThis sub-series consists of records relating to the exempt jurisdiction of Craike, including:

- case for counsel's opinion relating to the levying of county rates at Craike [n.d. c.1746-8]

- letters, legal papers and other papers relating to the dispute over the question whether Craike was liable to pay county rates [1811-1821]

- letter enclosing a memorial and Sessions order relating to the inclusion of Craike in the wapentake of Bulmer for special and petty sessional purposes following the Act of 1844 (7 & 8 Victoria, cap. 61) [1844].
Catalogue statusCatalogued
Administrative historyCraike was a possession of the Bishops of Durham from at least the late 10th and early 11th centuries and possibly even earlier. There is evidence (probably legendary) of a charter of 685 AD granting Craike and the country three miles around to St Cuthbert and his successors for a house for him to rest in on his journeys to and from York. In the centuries that followed Craike was considered part of Durham, though far removed from the county boundary. There is evidence, however, that both the Durham and North Riding Justices exercised criminal and civil jurisdiction there in the 17th and 189th centuries, the period for which records are extant. The inhabitants of Craike claimed exemption from paying rates to the North Riding in 1737 and again in 1811. This gave rise to legal actions on the part of the Justices in both cases. Following a report by the Chief Constable of Bulmer wapentake in April 1737 that Craike had refused to pay their rates, the Justices made an order for counsel's opinion. The inhabitants of Craike still had not paid in April 1742 and distraint on their foods was ordered. Orders for the levying of the rates were again made in July 1745 and April 1747. Craike capitulated after the commencement of a law-suit against them for the recovery of the outstanding rates and agreed to pay in July 1747. They again refused to pay their rates to the North Riding in 1811 and this gave rise to lengthy legal proceedings lasting until 1821. This refusal arose after Craike had contributed to a rate for a new Gaol and Sessions House in Durham following an Act of 1809 (49 George III cap. 139). The first record of the matter was in April 1811 when the refusal to pay rates was reported to Quarter Sessions. Craike was still in arrears with its rates in 1814 and 1815 when orders to adopt the same proceedings as in 1746 and to take the counsel's opinion and to distrain for payment on the constables' goods were made. This distraint forced the issue and gave rise to the law-suit which was for trespass and tried at Newcastle Assizes. The matter seems to have dragged on and the ultimate result is not very clear. The issue, however, seems to have been decided in favour of the North Riding Justices. They made an order in April 1822 that the Chief Constable (of Bulmer wapentake) was not to enforce payment of arrears of the county rate until the following Lady Day (25 March 1823). The anomalous position of Craike was resolved in 1845 when the Justices ordered that it should be annexed to the wapentake of Bulmer from 1 April 1845, following an Act of 1844 (7 & 8 Victoria cap. 61).
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