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Crime & Punishment (Anglo Saxon and Medieval England)
Kate Davisonon 30 June 2013
Transcript of Crime & Punishment (Anglo Saxon and Medieval England)
Anglo-Saxon and Medieval England
Anglo Saxon England
(e.g work related)
Alfred the Great -
"If at work, man accidently
lets a tree fall and kill another man, the dead man's family keeps the tree"
King Ethelbert of Kent -
"If anyone steals from a church, they are to pay the church twelve times the value of the object they have stolen"
Trials and Justice
Prisons were holding facilities before trial (folk moot)
The victim brought witnesses
(if the defendant did not attend on trial he could be killed on sight)
The defendant, victim (if alive) and witnesses would recall the events.
Could call oath-helpers (rare)
trial by jury
Judge would decide and deliver punishment
often a village elder or lord
Trial by ordeal sometimes used (during Christian periods)
relied on ordinary people and communities
obligation to raise hue and cry in the tithing
(fines if this was not done, and for those in the community who did not take part in it)
The tithing had responsibility to bring the accused to their trial
Wergilds (blood prices) and compensation
eye = 50 shillings
tooth = 1 shilling
Rebellions against kings and lords and murder of high lords warranted the death penalty
"Price" of a life depended on status e.g form Ethelbert's and Alfred's laws:
slave: 20 shillings
freeman: 100 shillings
nobleman: 300 shillings
similar crimes although due to the unification under one king, more of a focus on treason and acts against the king
hierarchy of crimes
murder, manslaughter, stealing high value items
petty crimes (fighting, drunkenness and small thefts)
Trials and Justice
The manor court, the lord would act as a judge over small crimes committed in a community
jury of 12 determined innocent
Shire courts used in more serious cases (x2 per year)
Trials by ordeals sometimes used (especially if guilt was difficult to determine)
Trial by ordeal fell out of use when Henry II extended the
judicial system appointing honest
lawyers and set up traveling
courts to hear cases. In the 13th
century trial by jury became the
official method of trial in England.
The watch set up in towns and cities
one constable lead each watch (unpaid jobs and often ineffective)
In villages the hue and cry continued to be used
Tithing still used
In 1129 King Henry I fined all members of four villages for failing to catch a murder quick enough
punishments varied according to the crime e.g
high treason = hung, drawn and quartered (beheading was reserved for the nobility)
murder = hanging (men), burning (women)
theft = stocks or pillory, whipping, fines
Punishments in Church courts (given to those who could read a passage from the bible, usually clergy) were lighter