The Court of Record was established by King Edward VI in 1553. Trials in Stratford were held in English with an emphasis on arbitration and compromise and they were open to the public.

The Court of Record tried cases involving things like debts, thefts and assaults. Bringing a case to court was a common way for local tradesmen and craftsmen to settle their disputes. William Shakespeare’s father, John, presided over the court during his year as bailiff from 1568-1569.

In the late 19th century Stratford-upon-Avon’s fire engines were stored in this area for several decades. Although the large access door has long gone, you can still see the dropped kerb for the fire engines outside the building.