The borough of BOYLE was incorporated by charter of the 11th of Jas. I. (1613), and a new charter was granted in the 4th of Jas. IL, but as it was never acted on the former is the governing charter. The corporation is styled "the Borough-Master, Free Burgesses, and Commonalty of the Borough of Boyle," and consists of a boroughmaster, twelve other free burgesses, and an indefinite number of commonalty; of which the last-named body is not now recognised in practice. The borough-master is chosen annually from and by the free burgesses, but his duties are very limited, and he exercises little practical power; the free burgesses are also chosen, as vacancies occur, by the members of their own body, and hold office for life, but are removable for misconduct; and the charter empowers the corporation to appoint two Serjeantsat- mace, but at present there is only a town-serjeant.
They have also the power of creating a guild of merchants, of which there is now no trace, and of making by-laws. The borough, of which the limits include the town and a small district immediately surrounding it, returned two members to the Irish parliament, who were elected by the borough-master and free burgesses; and on its disfranchisement at the time of the Union, the £15,000 granted in compensation for the loss of that privilege was paid to Lord Lorton, as executor of his father, the late Earl of Kingston, to whom the borough belonged. The charter granted a court of record to be held every Tuesday, with civil jurisdiction to the amount of five marks, in which the borough-master is judge; but the business done being inconsiderable, it is not usually held oftener than about once in a month. According to practice the jurisdiction is exercised in cases of which the cause of action either arises within the borough, or where it arises without and there are goods of the defendant within the borough: the process is by attachment on oath made by the plaintiff. Quarter sessions are held here every nine months, for the Boyle division of the county, which comprises also the towns of Castlerea and Strokestown, where they are likewise held every nine months; and petty sessions are held by the county magistrates every Monday. A seneschal's court is held in the town, having no jurisdiction within the borough, but over several baronies within the county, extending to the distance of many miles round the town. The new sessions-house, towards the erection of which Lord Lorton contributed £500, is situated on the slope of the hill on the south side of the river fronting the main street, and is built of sandstone. Connected with it is the district bridewell, containing a keeper's house and eight cells upon the improved plan of construction: the entire expense, amounting to £2400, was advanced by government, to be repaid by the county in instalments.