The Town Hall and Corporation
Track 9 - Town Hall
Built in 1848 for a cost of £119, the Town Hall was converted from a storehouse belonging to the Cross House opposite that was purchased by the Corporation for £130. The plans were drawn up by John Rogers, one of the sons of James Rogers, a well-known entrepreneur in the town. The Corporation held its first meeting on the first floor in October 1849 as the ground floor was open at the front and used to host a market.
The earliest surviving Charter dates to 1392 and was granted by Richard II, confirmed by Henry VI in 1483. The Charters afforded the town a number of privileges including the right to hold markets and various self-governing and judicial functions. The exterior roundel depicting the distinctive St Clears Boar is based on the Corporation Seal commissioned by Hugh Williams in 1852.
The Corporation comprised burgesses and officers working through a Leet Court, styled “of the Town, Borough and Liberty of St Clears”. The Burgesses, as freemen of the Borough, enjoyed a number of privileges including a share of the profits of the Corporation, dinners, free ale and tobacco for attending the Leet Court, access to certain meadows and rights over the river, wharves and sawpits.
St Clears had three Portreeves, designated by the titles “Trainey March, Trainey Clinton and Trainey Morgan”, that reflected three separate geographical or administrative areas. By 1840, they had become First, Second and Third Portreeve. The Portreeves were elected annually at the Michaelmas Court and were supported by the Recorder, two Common Attorneys and two Petty Constables.
'Hugh Williams Burgess' admission 1834'
‘Corporation Court 1868'