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Before 1838, when Bolton was incorporated, the town was governed by a boroughreeve and two constables appointed at the annual court-leet.
The corporation was replaced by two constables chosen annually in the court leet of the manor until 1894, when an urban district council was appointed.
A court leet and view of frankpledge have been held here from time immemorial.
It was governed by a portreeve and bailiff, elected annually at the court leet held by the lord of the manor.
A court-leet and view of frank pledge used to be held half-yearly at Easter and Michaelmas, and a court-baron in May.