Jury Ballot Box

Contributed by The Judges Lodging

This jury ballot box was presented to the County of Radnor in 1730 for use in selecting those to sit on trial juries at the assize courts. Radnorshire, which is now the central part of Powys, held its Assize and Magistrate courts at their Shire Hall, the late Georgian version of which is now The Judge's Lodging Museum. Names of potential jurors, taken from the Grand Jury (usually 24 men) were put into the box, where the required 12 were randomly sorted to the drawer below.

This highlights a time when jury selection was taken only from the respectable, usually wealthy, residents of the surrounding area and often, especially in the case of rural areas such as this, the jury members were likely to know the accused. The Radnorshire juries won a reputation for a reluctance to convict. In 1834 a Quarter Sessions Jury was fined for tossing a coin to decided their verdict - the difficult decision being made impossible by one of them being the prisoner's brother in law.

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