Medieval Crime and Punishment

OCH SHP Medieval Crime and Punishment revision

Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Medieval Crime and Punishment by Mind Map: Medieval Crime and Punishment

1. 1.Crime and Criminals

1.1. 1.1 Types of Crime

1.1.1. Felonies (Serious Crimes) Treason High and Petty after 1351 Counterfeiting Murder High due to poor medicine Theft (under 12d after 1275)

1.1.2. Petty Crimes (Not serious crimes) Theft under 12d Debt Moral Crimes Not attending church, gambling, sex outside marriage Dealt with by the church

1.2. 1.2 Causes of Crime

1.2.1. Violence Lords and Nobles - Had retainers (Private Armies) They had feuds with other nobles Particular problem during War of the Roses 1455-1485 Outlaw gangs (robbers) lived in forests Greatly feared Robbed, murdered etc

1.2.2. Famine / desperation Number of court cases exactly matches the price of wheat i.e. Price goes up court cases go up. Failed harvests in 1315-16 Majority of people peasants - very little money

1.3. 1.3 Changes to Crime

1.3.1. Limited change - crime remained linked to lack of food. Theft was most common crime throughout period

1.3.2. New crimes Scolding Technically verbal abuse Used mainly against women who criticised their husbands Vagrancy Became a problem after the Black Death in 1348-49

2. 2. Enforcement

2.1. 2.1 Enforcers

2.1.1. King In charge of keeping the king's peace Weak King (e.g.. Henry VI during Wars of the Roses meant poor law and order, strong King (e.g Edward i) meant good control Edward 1st 1285 - passed statute of Winchester - tidied up Law and order

2.1.2. Sheriff King's agent in each county A powerful nobleman Not paid but got status from job Property of murders went to king - sheriff got a cut.

2.1.3. Chief Constable of the Hundred Wealthy Farmers Appointed each year Main duty: ensure all men 16-60 armed and ready to fight

2.1.4. Parish constable Arrest suspicious strangers 1363: Ensure all men practice archery on Sundays

2.1.5. The people No police so people rely on people Divided into tithings (groups of 10) if one breaks the law, the others bring him to court Hue and cry Whole village fined if they don't respond

2.1.6. Town Watchmen Edward I's Statue of Winchester (1285) said all towns had to employ them Carried Lamp, patrolled town at night arrested suspicious strangers

2.2. 2.2 The Courts

2.2.1. The Royal courts dealt with most serious crimes Had Jury They knew defendant Had judges Judges also travelled to counties to run courts

2.2.2. Church Courts Much softer punishments Often issued fines or penances (confession or praying to show you were sorry) No death penalty (apart from the crime of heresy Dealt with Moral crime e.g. adultery, not attending church blasphemy etc. Crimes committed by clergy (people who worked for church)

2.2.3. Justices of the Peace (JPs) Introduced in 1361 Very important change - took over from sheriff's courts 3 or 4 JPs per county. Really serious cases passed to assizes After 1388 JPs ran courts 4 times per year - Quarter Sessions

2.2.4. Manor Courts Run by local lord Dealt with petty crime e.g. Thefts, land disputes, fights debt etc Had juries of wealthier peasants They knew the criminal 1250 - took over work of Hundred Courts. By 1500 JPs had taken over from them

2.2.5. Borough Courts Like Manor courts only in towns

3. 3. Punishments

3.1. 3.1 How to avoid punishments

3.1.1. 'Claim the benefit of the clergy' Be / or say you are a member of the church This means you are tried in the church courts You had to read a passage from the Bible to prove you were a priest Punishments were less harsh: No death penalty

3.1.2. Be pregnant Sentence was often changed to a fine Never executed before having a child

3.1.3. Seek Sanctuary Hide in a church and then abjure the realm (Swear an oath to leave the country forever)

3.1.4. Buy a pardon from the king

3.2. 3.2 Why were punishments so harsh?

3.2.1. Very unlikely to be caught No technology e.g forensics no police needed a deterrent

3.2.2. A moral society based on christian ideals

3.3. 3.3 Types of punishment

3.3.1. Capital punishment (Death Penalty) Hanging Slow, painful strangulation Most common method Used for crimes such as: Murder, rape theft over 12d Happened in Public Hanging, drawing and quartering For high treason or counterfeiting gold/silver coins Hanged - but not killed. cut down, testicles/penis cut off and burned. Head cut off. Body cut in 4 - placed around town. Medieval Burning alive Used for heresy or petty treason Bonfire = bonefire Local variations e.g Dover - thrown off the cliffs. Had been gotten rid of by 1350

3.3.2. Fines Handed our for gambling, minor assault, damage to property etc. Imposed by the courts e.g Manor, church etc. If you didn't pay - sent to prison.

3.3.3. Prison Not very common punishment Used for people in debt Non-payment of fines People who refused to plead guilty or innocent Had to pay for food/bedding Was how gaolers (Jailers) made their money as they were unpaid

3.3.4. Public Humiliation middle ages e.g. Stocks, pillory, ducking stool public confession Punishment for minor crimes e.g. selling rotten goods, adultery