Archive centreWhitehaven
ReferenceDLEC/CR
TitleCoroners for the Liberties of Cockermouth and Egremont
ContextThe right to appoint coroners in the Liberties of Cockermouth and Egremont can be traced in both cases to Quo Warranto proceedings of 1292.

EGREMONT: the jurors in 1292 found that Thomas son of Lambert de Multon had the right to 'do and exercise by his Bailiffs all things which pertain to the office of Coroner and Sheriff throughout the land of Coupeland' (except the Five Towns), and that his ancestors had enjoyed the priviledge from time immemorial. In 1339 the Barony of Egremont was partitioned 3 ways between the sisters and heirs of John de Multon, but the right to elect a Coroner was specifically reserved as a matter for joint action. The last of the elective thirds was reunited with the Percy estate in 1594.

COCKERMOUTH: Isabella de Fortibus and Thomas de Lucy (between whom the Honour stood divided in 1292) enjoyed the right to appoint at their own pleasure a Coroner within the Liberty, as their common ancestors had done since the time of William son of Duncan. The jury added that the Coroner should be the Constable of Cockermouth Castle for the time being (appointed by Thomas), and that his assessor should be Isabella's steward. Among the rights granted to Anthony de Lucy by Edward II in 1323 were 'all other Royal liberties' in the Honour, and the Coroner's priviledges were specifid by Inquisition of 1394 in much the same words as they appear below.

The privileges are defined in the Estate's 'Domesday Book', the Percy Survey of 1578, as follows:

"Egremounte: [Survey folios 86r-87v]
..the Lordes of the saide Signorie and lordshipe have and alwayes have used (as hath been allowed by Judgement in quo warranto etc) ...of auncient Custome to doe and exercise all those thinges which doe apperteyne to the office of Coroner and Sheriff by their Bailiffe thoroughe all the Lande of Coupland (except the Lordeshipe of the Fyve Townes)...."

"Honor of Cockermouth: [Survey folios folio 147v]
To have within the foresaid Limittes one Coroner by the nominacion and constitution of the lorde of the said Castell Honor Lordshippes and mannors aforesaid, The same Coroner to doe and execute all thinges and whatsoever to the said office of a Coroner is belonginge within the liberties aforesaide in as large and ample manner and forme in all and everythinge as anie Coroner or Coroners within the body of the shire heertoforee have donne or maie doe, And alsoe to doe and execute all and whatsoever to the said office belongeth for and concerninge all attachmentes of the crowne and likewise of all attachmentes of the Crowne and likewise of all felonies Burglaries theftes murthers manslaughters Robberies and of all other felonies whatsoever..."

JURISDICTION OF THE HONOUR OF COCKERMOUTH
- The Borough and Manor of Cockermouth
- The Lordship of Derwentfells, including Borrowdale, Brackenthwaites, Braithwaite, Buttermere, Coledale, Embleton, Lorton, Newlands (Rogersett), Portinscale, Setmurthy, Thornthwaite
- The Lordship of Five Towns, consisting of Brigham, Clifton, Dean, Eaglesfield, Greysouthen, and including Blindbothel, Branthwaite, Mooreside, Pardshaw, Stainburn, Ullock, Whinfell.

JURISDICTION OF THE LIBERTY OF EGREMONT
- The Borough and Manor of Egremont, including St John Beckermet parish
- The Lordship of Egremont, including Bolton (Gosforth), Calder and Beckermet, Cleator, Distington, and Rottington, Drigg and Carleton, Frizington and Arlecdon, Gosforth, Haile, Irton and Santon, Kelton, Lamplugh, Moresby (with Parton), Muncaster, Newton and Ponsonby, Wilton and Braystones, Workington and Winscales. Parts of St Bees parish in the Coulderton area are also included.
- The manor of Harrington
- The manor of Eskdale, Miterdale and Wasdalehead
- The manor of Kennyside
- The manor of Netherwasdale

Inquests will also be found for places outisde the Liberties, where the estate Coroner acted for the County Coroner, the most distant example being Upper Denton.

RECORD SURVIVAL: The records of the Coroners of the 2 liberties, whose offices were united from the 17th century to 1875, survive in fairly good series from 1693 until early 1875, when Dr Bell resigned. Thereafter some information about the office can be found in 5 bundles in the Estate Office cupboards (numbered 1356-1360). Part of the area of the Egremont liberty was lost to the County Coroner in 1888 when the Borough of Workington was incorporated, and a further small part in 1894 with the incorporation of the Borough of Whitehaven. The right to appoint coroners was conveyed to Cumberland County Council in 1910.

No coroners' records survive between 1875 and 1907.
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