By John Briggs, Mr John Briggs, Christopher Harrison, Angus McInnes, David Vincent
This survey of crime in ENgland from the medieval interval to the current day synthesizes case-study and local-level fabric and standardizes the debates and matters for the scholar reader.
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Additional info for Crime And Punishment In England: An Introductory History
All they could do was question witnesses and make what answer they could to the charges brought against them. The trial jury then retired to consider its verdict. The verdicts were then given in open court. Sentence was pronounced by the judge at the end of the day. 1, giving figures for Elizabethan Essex, offers a rough indication of the serious offences, that is felonies, that predominated—whether heard at the assizes or quarter sessions. 1 Kinds of felonies in Essex 1559–1602 (ten sample years—data mainly from assize records).
These were called courts leet. A similar process took place with boroughs. In their criminal jurisdiction, borough courts and manor courts were very similar. It is the criminal jurisdiction of these courts with which we are concerned, but a vast number of civil and administrative actions were also undertaken at these courts. In this they replicated the business of quarter sessions and assizes. The sharp divisions between civil, criminal and administrative law had yet to be made. In the fourteenth century the peasants rebelled against excessive seigneurial demands, demands that were enforced in the manor courts.
Most acts could count as treason. In May 1555, a youth was carted and whipped through London for claiming to be Edward VI. ) Ten months later, the same boy was convicted of the same offence. This time he was executed. The fate of the Marian martyrs is too well known to need retelling, but Mary was not the only Tudor to burn heretics. An old man suffered that punishment for heresy in 1500. Nor was burning necessarily the cruellest punishment for the religiously deviant. In 1535 a number of Carthusian monks were convicted of treason for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy.