Following on from our discussion at this earlier post… well, I remembered an article from one of the Welsh local history journals, Montgomeryshire Collections, which as far as I know is not available online anywhere. (Not sure it has any kind of web presence at all.)
The article is by Murray Llewelyn Chapman, and describes the proceedings in a 16th-century felony trial. This was recorded, most unusually, because of a subsequent prosecution (of the jury) for perjury. The story: Two brothers, Robert and Thomas ap Morris ap David, of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa in Montgomeryshire, were tried for stealing sheep belonging to Morris ap John in 1571 (and acquitted).
Morris ap John gave evidence (in Welsh, translated for the English-speaking judge):
that the sheep in question had his mark but “he wold not take it upon his oth and concience that the same were his proper goods”…
The question of the ownership of the sheep was to be decided by the jury “upon viewe of the said iiie [three] sheep togeather with iiiior [four] other sheep of the said Morris ap John which were broughte to the same Sessions”. One of the prosecution witnesses, the wife of one Savage, viewed the sheep which were brought into the court and declared that the ewe was one of the lambs that her husband had sold to David, the brother of the two suspects…
Chapman adds in a footnote that
The bringing of livestock to be viewed by a trial jury was apparently a common feature of trials in the Courts of Great Sessions. In a letter from the Council in the Marches in Wales, dated 24 August 1575, to Thomas Revell JP of co. Pembroke he was ordered to bind Ieuan Ygo and Thomas Peter of co. Pembroke to appear at the next great sessions of co. Montgomery to answer for stealing a mare and to bring the mare in question to that session.
Murray Ll. Chapman, ‘A sixteenth-century trial for felony in the court of Great Sessions for Montgomeryshire’, Montgomeryshire Collections, 78 (1990), pp.167-70. (From NLW Wales 4/127/3)