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  On the 29th July 1857 the Bacup Court House was opened the first petty session there being held on that day. Prior to this date the Bacup Petty sessions were held at the George and Dragon Inn. A rope was stretched from a couple of hooks across the room to separate the sitting Magistrate and the general public. The portion of the room where the Magistrate sat was also slightly raised this it is said was to remind the rank and file that they were face to face with the powers that be. In 1916 the county court of Lancashire was held at Bacup and Rawtenstall with Judge Hugh Sturgess K. C.  Whilst Petty session courts were held at the Bankside court house every Wednesday at 11am. With the Mayor presiding. Prisoners charged with serious crimes in Bacup and Stacksteads would have been held in the lockup or dungeon before being transported to a House of Correction, usually Preston or Strangeways to be remanded there for trial at *Lancaster Castle at the next assizes. The first dungeon said to be in use for holding prisoners in Bacup was situated in the vicinity of Lane Head lane near the old Buck Inn. Entered through an arched doorway, the dungeon was sealed by use of a heavy flag, a later dungeon was shown to be in the vicinity of Hammerton Green near the old health centre and is shown on the map as " The Lockup", what is today’s Wellington Hotel being the first purpose built police station in Bacup.  Rawtenstall’s Police Station was a one roomed cottage situated on Bacup Road. At this time there was very little possibility of the average accused being granted bail and so whether guilty or not you would find yourself locked up in Lancaster Castle, sometimes for several months before your trial. A report in the Bacup Times describes the Bacup Courthouse as being as dark as the black hole of Calcutta.  
James Sutcliffe. Robert Munn magistrate, mill and land owner. Hnery Maden, mayor, magistrate and landowner.
In the year 1195 Richard 1 commissioned certain knights to preserve the peace in unruly areas. They were responsible to the King for ensuring that the law was upheld. They preserved the "King's Peace", and were known as Keepers of the Peace.  The title Justices of the Peace derives from 1361, in the reign of Edward III when a act passed in 1327 referred to Good and Lawful menace to be appointed in every county in the land to Guard the peace.. Many of the local J.P. s / Magistrates were of  course Gentlemen, men of standing in the community. Quite often  landowners  many of them often served on other boards and committees. The first magistrate to preside in Bacup was Mr James Whittaker of Broadclough Hall who qualified as magistrate on April 29th 1824. The first dungeon to be in use for holding prisoners was situated in the vicinity of Lane Head lane near the old Buck Inn. Entered through a arched doorway the dungeon was sealed by use of a heavy flag. A later dungeon was shown to be in the vicinity of Hammerton Green near the old health centre and is shown on the map as " The Lockup". For many years the Stocks stood where the Mechanics Institute stands today  and then moved to the site of the Lockup on Todmorden Road. A wooden sign was displayed in the area of the stocks which read: Any Person Or Persons Found Wandering Or Begging In This Village Or Any Other Part Of The Forest Of Rossendale Will Be Apprehended As A Vagrant Or Vagrants And Prosecuted With The Utmost Vigour Of The Law. The stocks were used as a punishment for brawling, profane swearing, drunkenness and other minor offenses. In some towns the drunkard was made to walk the streets carrying a cask, in which there were holes for the head and arms to pass though and was called the Drunkards Cloak.
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