From 1602 until 1824, when they sold the town, the Cavendish family, later Dukes of Devonshire, as Lords of the Manor had a court leet, which settled local affairs, appointed the constables, market inspectors, a bell man and pinder responsible for stray animals. The court house was situated in these gardens
Guests at the Swan opposite could use this formal garden which still bears a similar design today. A small building combined the old court room with two rooms adjoining where the Duke’s steward collects rents. There was a dovecote, the ancient prerogative of the Lord of the Manor.