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24 September 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > About Cornwall > About Cornwall > A Cornish Crime

The Judge in the Courtroom Experience

A Cornish Crime

It's the Cornish trial that people still talk about today - the murder of Charlotte Dymond. A Courtroom experience dedicated to the trial of Matthew Weeks is growing in popularity. Find out how you could become a volunteer and step back in time...

On the exact site of the Charlotte Dymond murder trial stands an experience dedicated to this infamous news event.

Bodmin Moor

Charlotte Dymond died on Bodmin Moor

The Courtroom Experience is based at Bodmin's Shire Hall, where, in August 1844,  Matthew Weeks was tried for the murder of Charlotte Dymond. Charlotte's death and Matthew's trial have become part of the folklore of Bodmin Moor.

More than 160 years after the tragedy, the murder of the Cornish girl is still a much talked about occasion. The Courtroom Experience in the Shire Hall is a re-enactment of Matthew's gruelling 10 hour trial.

BBC Cornwall's Matt Shepherd went along to the courtroom to follow the 19th century court proceedings. Click on the link below to hear his report:

See a gallery of pictures from the Shire Hall in Bodmin:

As soon as you enter the building you leave behind all thoughts of 2007. You're transported back to August 1844 and about to witness the trial that saw Matthew Weeks tried for his life for a crime he may, or may not have committed.    

Matthew Weeks

Matthew Weeks was found guilty

In the very same building that the trial took place in 1844, the 'time traveller' from 2007 gets to hear the conflicting evidence of the nine key witnesses. These individuals all appear to be hostile towards Matthew Weeks.

In 1844 on the windswept slopes of Bodmin Moor the body of Charlotte Dymond was discovered. Matthew Weeks was accused of the murder, but was he guilty or innocent? Today on the site of the original trial at the Shire Hall in Bodmin, the courtroom drama is played out, and the public become the jury.

Shire Hall, built in 1837, was the County Assize Courts and remained so until 1988 when the new courts opened in Truro. Bodmin Town Council purchased the building in 1994 for the benefit of the town and as part of the Bodmin Regeneration Scheme.

Shire Hall, Bodmin

Shire Hall, home of the Courtroom Experience

Part of that programme was the refurbishment of the courts, creating a multi-experience building housing the Visitor Information Centre; gallery; book and craft shop and the Courtroom Experience, an all-weather visitor attraction.

The building is open all year round, and has proved to be popular with people visiting Bodmin. Now more volunteer ushers are needed for Shire Hall Court Room Experience.

If you enjoy meeting people, love a good mystery and find yourself intrigued by local history, then contact Stephanie or Patricia on (01208) 79896 to find out more about becoming a volunteer usher. You will be required to leave 2007 on a daily basis, and play an active role in the court proceedings of 1844.

Other Essential Information

Venue:  Shire Hall, Mount Folly, Bodmin

Courtroom:  On the hour from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

Days:  Monday to Saturday (Easter to October 31)
Monday to Friday (November to Easter)

Prices:  Adult £3.75, Child £2.25, Concessions £2.75,
Family (2 + 3) £10.00, Groups (10+) £1.50, Schools £1.50

last updated: 03/12/07

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