Bailiff’s Role

The role of Bailiff to the Colyton Chamber of Feoffees today is purely administrative. It includes organising the monthly meetings of the Chamber, preparing a brief for the Chairman on all issues to be dealt with at the meeting, taking the Minutes and writing them up; liaising with tenants, estate agents and trades people in respect of the maintenance of the Feoffees’ various properties; dealing with general correspondence and enquiries and sending out get well and condolence messages on behalf of the Feoffees; the administration and processing of requests to the Chamber for donations and loans, paying bills for services; liaising with the Caretaker and preparing and issuing invoices and terms and conditions for hire and use of the Town Hall.

Historically, the Bailiff’s role was rather more complex with additional responsibilities including organising a court of ‘pie poudre’ (literally ‘dusty feet’) in the town for dispensing on the spot justice and securing the town’s stock of weapons.  At various times there were two Bailiffs working concurrently with one responsible solely for managing the provision of a water supply in the town. In the past the Bailiff also kept a swear box to which Feoffees had to contribute if they swore at meetings – of course our Members don’t swear today! (For further information on the History of the Bailiff’s Role see – TO COME work in progress – still being researched.)

The Chamber’s first lady Bailiff was appointed in 2013. A list of Bailiffs back to Robert Ffollyet the first to be appointed in 1546 is available. (For further information see List of Bailiffs to the Colyton Chamber of Feoffees).