Quarter Sessions records relating to West Suffolk can be found at the Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich branches of the Suffolk Record Office. The Order and Minute books and most of the judicial and administrative papers to 1872 are at Ipswich, as are virtually all the Deposited Plans to 1930. [There are lists available at Bury of the main Quarter Sessions records at Ipswich and of the Deposited Plans held there].
Most of the records of the Western Division from 1872 are held at Bury, as are the inclosure awards (1773- ), highway diversions (1777- ), poll books (1830- ) and electoral registers (1833- ) for the West Suffolk area.
A Justices of the Peace: Lists of magistrates; Training of magistrates. B Court in Session: Criminal: Sessions books/record books; Sessions rolls; Indictments; Appeals; Court procedure; Miscellaneous. C Court in Session: Civil: County Licensing Committee; Probation; Public rights of way; Corn rents; Various committees. D Administration: Bridges; Police; Boundaries; County Gaol. F Enrolment, Registration and Deposit: Public utility undertakings; Deposited accounts; Masonic lodges; Parliamentary elections: poll books; Parliamentary elections: electoral registers; Inclosure; Highway diversions; Sudbury Borough Quarter Sessions. G Clerk of the Peace: Acts of Parliament; Correspondence and papers; Miscellaneous.
Some of these records were classified in an old system as Q/; the rest have the classification BA 500: all have been brought together in this catalogue.
J.H. Whitfield: The Evolution of Local Government Authorities and Areas in Suffolk 1555-1894 [Local Studies Library class 40].
Administration of justice
Administrative / biographical background:
The Suffolk Quarter Sessions were organised in four divisions, meeting once a year in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Beccles and Woodbridge. In 1860 the three eastern divisions were amalgamated to form the Eastern Division: the Bury St Edmunds division became the Western Division. It remained the Western Division until a separate Commission of the Peace for West Suffolk was established in 1951. The West Suffolk Court of Quarter Sessions, along with all other Courts of Quarter Sessions, was abolished in 1971 under the provisions of the Courts Act of that year.