In 1844 there was an “Association for the Prosecution of Felons” for each of the eight hundreds in Suffolk. This was established at the same time as the new Poor Law Commissioners in 1834. Vestry meetings at each church in the hundred nominated both and the members of the association were presumably approved by the Lord Chancellor of the time.
In 1844 the president of the Mutford and Lothingland Hundred association was Sit Thomas Gooch Bt. of Benacre Hall. At this time there was also an Assize court which toured East Anglia dispensing justice at various locations throughout the area including Norwich, Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge, Peterborough and Lowestoft. This system continued until 1885 when Lowestoft Borough Council, Mutford and Lothingland Rural District Council and Wainford Rural District Council were formed.
It seems probable that the first county bench was formed in 1885 with East Suffolk having two. The Northern bench probably went down as far as Henham and as far west as the area around Bungay and covered the area of the Mutford and Lothingland RDC and the Wainford RDC as well as Lowestoft Borough Council. In this area, Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold had their own benches as well as Ipswich and various other market towns in East Suffolk. Lowestoft got its own bench in 1893.
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