Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Lydford Law

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Lydford Law
is, punish first and try afterwards. Lydford, in the county of Devon, was a fortified town, in which was an ancient castle, where were held the courts of the Duchy of Cornwall. Offenders against the stannary laws were confined before trial in a dungeon so loathsome and dreary that it gave rise to the proverb referred to. The castle was destroyed by the Danes. (See CUPAR JUSTICE, COWPER’S LAW.)   1
“I oft have heard of Lydford law,
How in the morn they hang and draw,
And sit in judgment later.”
A Devonshire Poet.



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