The History of Prescot Town Council

For most of the 13th Century the D’Acre family owned Prescot Manor, but in 1319 it was sold to John of Gaunt, on his death the manor was inherited by his son who subsequently became King Henry IV.

In 1447 King Henry VI (grandson of Henry IV) established the University College of Saint Mary and Saint Nicolas in Cambridge, which later became known as King’s College. Among the gifts he gave to fund the new University College was the Manor and Rectory of Prescot.

As the Lord of the Manor was so far away in Cambridge, the running of the town was left to the Steward, who was the Earl of Derby. As he was also often absent Prescot was assigned to a unique early town government, known as the Court Leet or Manor Court. The day-to-day running of the town was the responsibility of the local deputy steward. With their own form of self-government ‘Prescotians’ enjoyed rights denied to those outside if the town, a rare privilege enjoyed as the tenants of King’s College. The Arms of King’s College, Cambridge was adopted as the Coat of Arms of Prescot and can now be seen above the entrance of 8 Vicarage Place.

The townspeople elected and provided the jury and officers of the court who regulated the day to day life of the town. There where many different types of town officer, each with their own special responsibilities. The most important of these were the Four Men, the Constable, the Coroner, the Aletasters, the Burleymen and the Streetlookers.

The Manor Court was finally superseded by what is today recognized as Local Government, In 1867 the Prescot Local Government was formed which eventually became Prescot Urban District Council in 1895. As a result, the importance of the Court Leet or Manor Court as a Public Administrative Body sharply declined.

The Town Council has existed in its current form since the Local Elections of May 1983.

 

Information kindly provided by Vicky Griffiths of Knowsley Leisure and Cultural Development