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Alcester Court Leet to allow women to join



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ALCESTER Court Leet made history earlier this month when it was announced its rule which prevented women from joining is to be overturned.

The move was a victory for campaigners who, after staging a silent demonstration, had continued to question why the organisation could not allow women to become members and officers

Lord of the Manor, Lord Hertford, was asked to consider changing the rules for the Court Leet, which organises many community events in Alcester and fundraises for the town.

Protestors at Alcester Court Leet's annual meeting earlier this autumn want their voice heard over women joining the historic all male association. (52182288)
Protestors at Alcester Court Leet's annual meeting earlier this autumn want their voice heard over women joining the historic all male association. (52182288)

And on Monday (8th November) it was announced the men-only rule for the 800-year-old Court Leet will be abolished at the next annual court, which takes place in October 2022.

A statement for Alcester Court Leet said: “In line with other longstanding institutions and in particular the 32 courts named in in the 1977 Act the Lord of the Manor of Alcester Court Leet, the Marquess of Hertford reviewed the court’s functions and membership to ensure they remained relevant, particularly with regard to societal changes.

Members of Alcester Court Leet were in full voice singing carols at Sunday's Christmas lights switch on. Photo: Mark Williamson A69/11/21/8042. (53244134)
Members of Alcester Court Leet were in full voice singing carols at Sunday's Christmas lights switch on. Photo: Mark Williamson A69/11/21/8042. (53244134)

“He has now completed that review and decided that the functions of the Court Leet in serving the community of Alcester will best be promoted by electing jurors to the court irrespective of gender and thereby eligible for election as officers.

“Lord Hertford welcomes this change and hopes that his court will continue to serve Alcester as it has done over past centuries.”

Those who campaigned for change issued a statement to the Herald, saying: “We’re absolutely thrilled and grateful to everyone involved in this decision.

“It's in keeping with the spirit of the town, which has shown such strength of character, generosity and inclusivity in recent times.

“We’re proud of what our Court Leet does for our town and this latest change will allow for important female representation. It will also help the sustainability of the court for many years to come by significantly increasing the number of people eligible to be officers and allowing opportunities for the children of Alcester to learn more about the inclusive court and support its work.”

As well as staging a protest in October, campaigners had collected 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for change.

Following the announcement, more than 30 comments were posted on the Alcester Court Leet social media page welcoming the change.

One said: “Excellent news. Well-done to the Court Leet and Lord of the Manor. This will make the Court Leet stronger.”

Another added: “Fantastic news for Alcester. Great to see this matter has been resolved and the court can now move forward. It is good for our town to be seen as being up-to-date and inclusive.”

READ MORE: Alcester Court Leet says its no-women tradition can only be overturned by Lord of the Manor



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