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The Portreeves role today
Today the Portreeve's position is mainly as a social head for the town, attending the many charitable fund-raising events.

Master Bailiff & Portreeve

Portreeve (Tony Lewis) Master Bailiff (Nick Laity)

The Portreeve
An important part of Ashburton's history is the Office of Portreeve, not least because this ancient Saxon office is still kept alive today. Dating back to 820 AD, the office is the only one now held by Act of Parliament although it exists in eight other towns in England.

The chief duty of a Saxon Portreeve was to represent the King in legal transactions and he was often the only person who could read and write, especially when all legal documents were in Latin.

Today's Portreeve is upholding an ancient tradition and is still appointed with his Bailiff, Ale Tasters, Bread Weighers and other ancient offices each year in St Lawrence Chapel on the fourth Tuesday in November at 4.00pm.

The Court Leet elects the Portreeve, who is then sworn in at this ceremony and makes presentments on matters of local interest. This court is composed of freeholders of the Town and also elects other offices, such as Ale Tasters, Bread Weighers and lesser offices.

The Court Baron is made up of tenants of the town and elects the Viewers of the Market, Viewers of Water Courses, Tree Inspector, Searcher and Sealer of Leather, Scavengers and Pig Drovers.

Master Bailiff, Portreeve & the Deputy Mayor
Portreeve, Master Bailiff & the Town Mayor

Mrs Distin & The Portreeve
Portreeve Tony Lewis & Mrs Lewis

Master Bailiff & Mrs Lewis
Master Bailiff & Mrs Laity


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