PRIOR to the 16th century, all legal trials had been adjudged at the Rector's Court, now the first public building exclusive of the Parish Church was built in the small space between the east and south entrances of the Church. This was the Moot Hall, a representation of which is preserved on the old Borough Seal. Here the Court Leet met and common pleas were tried. When built in the 16th century, it was a work of superior excellence in local architecture, an adornment of the town and a necessity for the transaction of legal affairs.
IN 1618 there was a dispute between the Corporation and the Rector as to the possession of the Moot Hall. The parties went to law and it was eventually referred to the King, who, appointed four Arbiters who found that the use of the Moot Hall should be common to both parties.
IT is interesting to note that during the Civil Wars the town was plundered no less than seven times, and the Treasury (which was situated in the Old Moot Hall) was on one occasion looted to the extent of £20,000 and the whole of the Mayoral Regalia was stolen. The present Maces and Ceremonial Swords date from the Commonwealth, when the stolen articles were replaced with copies.
THE original building was enlarged in the early 17th century, reconstructed in 1829, and finally demolished in 1869. As a point of interest, stones from the building have been erected as an arbour in the gardens of Ince Old Hall and the original key of the Moot Hall is preserved in the Wigan Library.