In the reign of King John, there were three “Chief Folk-Moots” (meetings) a year. Today these have become ‘Common Hall’ meetings – one for election of the Lord Mayor, one for election of the sheriffs – and a Ward Mote (ward meeting). Citizens who failed to attend were subject to the fine of £2 at a time when a workmen often earned only a penny a week.
Ward Motes were originally meetings of the Freemen (now those on the Ward List) and that the democratic and electoral element of the meetings was a later development. This was because they were essentially the same as a Court Leet/Manorial Court with the Freemen making ‘presentments’ of civil issues and criminal matters with the Alderman punishing miscreants according to law and the Beadle ‘attaching’ such persons as the court’s officer. Even today, ward electors can ask general questions at the Ward Motes which the Alderman, Ward Clerk and Common Councilmen attempt to address.
The City of London Corporation official Wardmote information is here – http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/elections-and-wards/Pages/Annual-Wardmotes.aspx
The proceedings of recent Broad Street Ward Motes follow: