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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 9   View pdf image (33K)
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Whether there had been an interruption of the court proceedings before this action of
the Council is not known. We can be sure, however, that the court met only ten days later and
that the place of meeting was Annapolis, for on July 23, the Council, which was then meeting
in "Ann Arundel," notes the following example of the exercise of one of the Governor's
prerogatives, namely, to sit as a judge in the county courts:

This morneing was sworne Of his Lordship Councell Mr Edward Lloyd and from
the Councell went to assist the Governor at the County Court."

From evidence of the same kind we learn that the court was still meeting in Annapolis
or "Severne" in November 1661.7

First Courthouse at The Ridge

Annapolis seems to have continued as the seat of justice until well into the next decade,
when The Ridge for a brief moment became second only to St. Mary's City as a center of
governmental activity of all kind. In 1679/80, for example, this little hamlet which lay a few
miles south of South River, near the present post office of Butlers, was host to meetings of
the General Assembly and to the Council. There is also substantial evidence in the records of
the Provincial Court that the county court met there. One example will suffice:

Att a County Court of the Right Honohl Charles Calvert held att the Ridge in
Anne Arundell County on the Ninth day of March in the ffourth year of his Lord-
ships Dominion and Annoq. Domini 1679/80.......8

The county court meetings at The Ridge were held until late in 1683 at the inn kept by
John Larkin, while the Council met for at least part of the time in the house of Colonel Thomas
Taillor. In the meanwhile, the building of a permanent courthouse, the first in the county,
was undertaken. On September 17, 1681, a "Petition of Ann Arundell County" was before
the General Assembly which set forth: "that they had Expended a great Beale of Tobacco for
Building a Court house which had not been performed by the Undertakers, ......."9

Some solution to the problem was apparently reached, for the courthouse seems to have
been completed and put in use. It looks very much like this courthouse was still in use on
October 2, 1683, for on that day the clerk of the Upper House notes that, "The Members of
the Lower house were called to the Upper house being the Room over the Court Room where
his lordship the Lord Proprietary Declares to them......." 10 It seems entirely unlikely that a
small country inn would have two meeting rooms. In any case, if this was the courthouse,
it had only about a day of life left, for on October 4, 1683:

John Larkin and Richard Broughton sent for by the Doorkeeper to appear before
this house about the Court house here in Ann Arundell County which fell Down They
Appeared and Ordered that the Clerk of the said County Capt Hauslop bring before this
house the Agreement (or the Record of it) made about Building the same ... 11

It has not been possible to follow the peregrinations of the court for a few years following
1683, but since the Governor and Council continued to meet at The Ridge and at Mr. Larkin's
or Colonel Taillor's through 1685, it is a fair assumption that the Anne Arundel County Court
met at the same place and at the same hostelries.

Courthouse at Londontown

We are on sure ground again when we arrive at the year 1689. During that year and for
a few years thereafter the court met at Londontown which was then enjoying a minor real

6Ibid., 352.
7Ibid., 456.
8Provincial Court Judgments, W. C., Part 1, 262, Ms., Hall
of Records.
Unless otherwise noted, reference to Ms. means the
manuscript is located in the Hall of Records.

9

9Arch, of Md., VII, 186.
10 Ibid., 447.
11 Ibid., 449.



 

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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 9   View pdf image (33K)
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