Market and Court House
It appears our forebears has no misgivings about mixing commerce and the law, if this particular building is anything to go by. Built about 1858, it served both as a market house and a Petty Sessions court.
The building is relatively plain in design. Nevertheless, its serious purpose demanded a certain attention to detail. The right-hand chimney is false, built simply to balance the functional chimney on the other gable. Similarly, the right hand door leads to the courtroom upstairs while the left-hand door opens into the market space on the ground floor.
On market days the ground floor provided covered space for stalls and the building was deliberately set back from the roadway to leave space for stock pens.
The first floor courtroom is plainly furnished with a raised bench for the magistrates. In front are tables and seating for the clerks, solicitors and witnesses. The jury, when one was required, sat on benches facing the magistrates and the accused sat on a chair near the windows.
Below the stairs, on the ground floor, is a small cell for defendants awaiting trial or the guilty awaiting transport to prison. The kinds of cases heard in this court were usually minor infringements of the law. Serious cases would have been heard in the County Court.
Original location: Mill Street, Cushendall, County Antrim
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