What We Do Today

The Court is still active today and its officers are regularly on official duty in the Town. Some of the very real activities that get done day to day by the Court include:

    • visiting North Meadow on a daily basis whilst cattle or horses are grazing, to inspect the fences and report any issues to the grazier
    • organising guided/educational walks at specific times of year
    • undertaking special projects from time to time (e.g. the installation of pasture pumps on North Meadow)

In addition the Court carries out ceremonial duties; the members aim to help the local community maintain its historic traditions. One tradition is for the High Bailiff to send a loyal greeting on behalf of the townsfolk to the Sovereign on National occasions. Another is the Beating of the Bounds Ceremony.

The High Bailiff replaces the ceremonial role of the Town Mayor and here in Cricklade the Chairman of the Town Council, together with other elected members of the Council, hold the legal duties and powers given to them under a wide range of statutory provisions. It is often the case that both the High Bailiff and the Chairman of the Town Council will be present at important public events.

North Meadow National Nature Reserve (NNR) is of international importance as one of the finest examples of a lowland hay meadow in Europe. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Court continues to play an important role in the management of the Meadow, and is responsible for an Environmental Stewardship scheme, which preserves the traditional methods of grazing.

A key duty of the Court is also to appoint the Freemen of Cricklade. A Freeman in medieval times could work for himself and was no longer obliged to work for the Lord of the Manor, unlike serfs and villeins. Today this award is given to members of the community in recognition of significant voluntary work.