Originally the Quarter Sessions formed the backbone of local government dealing with all manner of things from rights of way to the prosecution of criminals. As the name suggests, the Quarter Sessions were held once a quarter at Epiphany, Easter, Midsummer and Michaelmas. The following pages explain the background to the Quarter Sessions and how they operated.
A Brief History of the Quarter Sessions
How the Quarter Sessions Worked
Quarter Sessions records are important for family, local and social history. Further information about what they contain and how they can be used can be found by following these links:
Quarter Sessions Records - a broad summary of the record series which make up our collections for the Bedford Borough Quarter Sessions and the Bedfordshire Quarter Sessions
Quarter Sessions Minute Books - an explanation of the scope and content of the minute books for the Bedfordshire Quarter Sessions
Quarter Sessions Rolls - an explanation of the working documents of the Quarter Sessions court, which include records of the working of the court and its administrative functions as well as criminal records.
We have also provided a series of pages explaining the four main types of documents found for criminal cases:
In the early 21st century the Paths to Crime project created a catalogue for the 1831-1900 rolls which includes detailed summaries of the depositions for each case.