This is Ashton under Lyne's Court Leet Chair. It was on display on Saturday during the Tameside Heritage Fair at Albion Church. It is the first time it has been on public display.
A Court Leet was a manorial court dealing with feudal issues that came under the jurisdiction of the Lord of the Manor. It generally dealt with civil matters but could sometimes deal with petty criminal offences.
This was the official chair in which the steward would sit to preside over the court. This particular chair dates from the early nineteenth century and bears the coat of arms of the Earl of Stamford.
Ashton's Court Leet met twice a year until the 1880s in the Court Leet House which stood in the old market place in St Michaels Square. It then continued to meet annually until the 1950s.
The chair was recently bought at auction by the Tameside Local History Forum for the people of Tameside. The forum is glad to have been able to retain a part of our local heritage but would welcome donations toward the cost of buying it! It is hoped that a place can be found where it will be on permanent public display.