Courts of the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries

The courts of the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries, commonly known as the stannary courts, were English courts in Cornwall and Devon that enforced the stannary law between the High Middle Ages and their abolition by the Stannaries Court (Abolition) Act 1896 (59 & 60 Vict. c. 45). From 1201, tin miners in Devon and Cornwall were exempt from the jurisdiction of all English courts other than that of the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries. The jurisdiction of the Cornwall stannary institutions covered the whole of the duchy, while the stannary courts of Devon had a reputation for harsh justice,[1] and once jailed a Westminster MP (Richard Strode).[2]

Stannaries Court Act 1640
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act against divers Incroachments and Oppressions in the Stannary Courts.
Citation16 Cha. 1. c. 15
Royal assent7 August 1641
Other legislation
Repealed byStannaries Court (Abolition) Act 1896
Status: Repealed
Stannaries Act 1855
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to amend and extend the Jurisdiction of the Stannary Court.
Citation18 & 19 Vict. c. 32
Royal assent15 June 1855
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Stannaries Act 1855 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from
Stannaries Court (Abolition) Act 1896
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act for abolishing the Court of the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries.
Citation59 & 60 Vict. c. 45
Royal assent14 August 1896

According to Thomas Pitt, judgements from the court could be appealed to the Vice-Warden of the Stanneries, then to the Warden, then finally to the Prince in Council.[3]


  1. ^ "Lydford Law". Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  2. ^[dead link]
  3. ^ Thomas Pitt (1751). A state of the proceedings of the convocation, or, parliament for the Stannaries of the County of Cornwall, held at Lestwithiel, on Tuesday the 28th day of August 1750, and at Helstone by Prorogation on Saturday the 20th of October following: and also the point in dispute between the Lord Warden, and the House of Stanators, impartially stated, and fairly discussed. London: R. Baldwin, at the Rose, in Pater-Noster-Row. p. 3. Retrieved 3 February 2022 – via Bodleian Libraries.

See also