The town, though frequently the centre for medieval assizes and inquisitions, never became a municipal or parliamentary borough, but was governed by two constables, elected in the manorial court.
For the establishment of this new form of Inquisition; and as the result of a long intrigue, in 1479 a papal bull authorized the appointment by the Spanish sovereigns of two inquisitors at Seville, under whom the Dominican inquisitions already established elsewhere might serve.
The letter was condemned by the Inquisitions of Spain and Portugal; and it tasked all the skill and learning of Bellarmine as its apologist, together with the whole influence of the Society, to avert what seemed to be a probable condemnation at Rome.
The archbishops appear to have had almost royal power throughout the liberty, including the rights of trying all pleas of the crown in their court, of taking inquisitions and of taxation.
After the death of the latter Adrian was appointed, on the 14th of March 1518, general of the reunited inquisitions of Castile and Aragon, in which capacity he acted till his departure from Tarragona for Rome on the 4th of August 1522: he was, however, too weak and confiding to cope with abuses which Jimenes had been able in some degree to check.
Four inquisitions during the 13th century supported the abbot's claims, yet in 1343 the townsmen declared in a chancery bill of complaint that Cirencester was a borough distinct from the manor, belonging to the king but usurped by the abbot, who since 1308 had abated their court of provostry..
In 1403 gave the townsmen a gild merchant, although two inquisitions reiterated the abbot's rights.