Medway Council Heritage Services catalogues
  • Title
    Admiralty court
  • Reference
  • Date
  • Level of description
  • Administrative history / biography
    The waters of the River Medway between Hawkwood and Sheerness lay within the city limits and the Corporation from an early period exercised the right of holding a court of Admiralty. The right was confirmed by a charter of Henry VI in 1446 which granted that the Admiral of England and his deputies should not intrude to exercise their office within the bounds of the city by land or sea. This general jurisdiction later came to be particularly associated with the regulation of the Oyster Fishery and in this respect the court's authority was strengthened by an Act of Parliament in 1728. As to the Floating Fishery, they did not find it necessary to petition Parliament for an Act. By warrant of the mayor, the water bailiff summoned all fishermen and dredgermen to attend the court where a jury was elected and all offences were dealt with. The Local Government Act of 1972 did not put an end to the court of Admiralty. It still meets once a year on the first Saturday in July. For further details, see the records of the Oyster Fishery (RCA/Y).