First female jurors in England sworn in at Bristol Quarter Sessions.

Published 13th June 2016
On the 29th July 1920, the first female jurors in England were sworn in at Bristol Quarter Sessions. Women had been summoned to Colchester Quarter Sessions earlier that year, but this was the first time women actually served on a jury.

The jurors heard evidence in the case against William Henry Ayton, accused of stealing parcels at Weston-Super-Mare station. They also voted for the conviction of a man charged with assault.

The prosecuting counsel was the first to use the words ‘ladies and gentlemen of the jury’ in an English court, which caused a murmur throughout the court, according to a contemporary New York Times article. The counsel also congratulated the women jurors for “at last taking their proper place in the administration of justice in England.”

Two women asked to be excused from further service due to the claim upon them by their children.
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