1 Categorisation of different crimes and their punishments did not change very much at all
from the Normans to the Medieval period. the only difference is that breaking the Forest
Laws became a crime which was regarded as a major crime (along with mugging).
2 Medieval Hierachy
188.8.131.52.1 Knights and Vassals
184.108.40.206.1.1 Merchants, Farmers and Craftsmen
220.127.116.11.1.1.1 Peasants and Serfs
3 Medieval Kings (see book for more info about them and
their overmighty noble). During the Middle Ages, the some
of the Kings played a large part in the changes to law
enforcement that occurred after 1154.
3.1 Henry II (1154-1189)
3.2 Richard I (1189-1199)
3.3 Edward I (1272-1307)
3.4 Edward II (1327-1377)
4 Changes to Law Enforcement after 1154
4.1 Use of Juries
4.1.1 Assize of Claredon, 1166 (henry II), made it law to use
'grand juries' to investigate recent crimes. Had
been used previously but Henry II decided to
make them more regular and important part of
legal system. they were not used to decide
guilt/innocence them. assize of Northampton in
1176 gave them power to decide if a case
should be examined further in court.
4.1.2 in Henry II reign, trial by ordeal was still used to decide
guilt/innocence, but he encouraged use of 'petty juries' to do this
4.1.3 in reign of Richard I (1189-1199) and new legal official, Coroner,
was introduced to help investigate suspicious deaths and therefore help the jury
4.1.4 after Henry II, petty juries became more important. by end of 14th century trial by
jury was the normal method of deciding guilt and trial by ordeal was not needed.
4.2 Royal Writs
4.2.1 this is a written instruction from the king. they had been around in Saxon times, but
not always used regularly. from time of Henry II they were used more and more
frequently to inform powerful sheriffs about king's decisions regarding law and authority
4.3 court of king's bench
4.3.1 most serious cases dealt with in this new court. existed from 12th century
onwards (Edward I) and took some cases out of local courts if they were thought
to be serious enough
4.4 county gaols
4.4.1 in 1154 (henry II) counties had own prisons where accused
people were kept before judge arrived to try their case
4.4.2 in 1285, Richard I passed a law
stating all men had duty to form
posse comitatus (force of county) to
help sheriff catch criminals=extension
of traditional tithing method of hue and cry
4.5 church justice
4.5.1 henry II attempted to reduce legal rights and privileges
of church. by 1154 church was so powerful in English
legal system that henry HAD to allow church courts to
continue to exist eg church provided educated men to
record laws, make king's writs and act as judges. also
influenced laws made and how guilty were punished
and so henry had to accept power if he was going to
use them to help him rule
4.5.2 tried to restrict church's power through Constitutions of Claredon, 1164
eg moved property cases from church courts to king's courts. but king
still needed them to arrest, torture and execute heretics eg in early 15th
century John Wyclif and followers (the Lollards) were persecuted and
executed for challenging the beliefs of the Church
4.6 Travelling Justices in Eyre
4.6.1 England divided into six 'Eyres' or circuits under Henry II and judges travelled around to hear cases using English Common Law.
4.6.2 1361 (Edward I) Justices of Peace Act was passed. JP's =
local landowners who were allowed to hear less serious
crimes-held 'Quarter Sessions' 4 times/year. eventually took
over work of sheriff and hundred courts
5 Henry II (1154-1189) and Thomas A Becket
5.1 Henry was son of Queen Maud and Geoffrey of Anjou, a good administrator and short-tempered.
5.2 was a cleric who was Henry's friend and chief administrator. when position of archbishop of Canterbury became
vacant in 1162 Henry convinced him to take the job. henry had assumed that Thomas would be sympathetic to royal
cause in the escalating battle between church and state, but Becket changed completely when he took the role. he
was severe and strict in observing the church law, wore a penitential hair shirt under his vestments and had himself
flogged frequently. he opposed henry over the question of the supremacy of ecclesiastical courts
5.3 at the time, anyone in orders could be tried in church courts. this equated to many people eg levels of lay priests and clerks.
henry tried to assert the power of royal justice by saying "criminous clerks" should be tried in royal courts but becket refused.
5.4 after this, becket fled to france. the pope helped to reconcile him with henry and he returned, but when he did, he excommunicated
bishops who had supported the king whilst he had been in exile. four knights, perhaps hoping to achieve favour with the king, road to
Canterbury cathedral and killed becket in front of the main altar when he refused to relent. this happened on 29th December 1170
5.5 henry was remorseful and so did penance imposed by the pope. he walked to
Canterbury Cathedral in sack cloth and ashes and allowed himself tot be flogged by
the monks there. he also gave way periodically on the question of court authority.
5.6 miraculous cures began to be reported at becket's tomb, and when the
cathedral burned down in 1174, the rebuilding was paid for by sales of
official souvenirs from his shrine. Canterbury became one of the most
visited pilgrimage sites in western Christendom.
5.6.1 becket's martyrdom helped
Canterbury and forced Henry to
moderate his attack on the clergy
6 Constitutions of Clarendon = passed in 1164
6.1 they were issued by King Henry II in January 1164 to define the church-state
relationships in England. he designed them to restrict ecclesiastical privileges and
curb the power of the church courts. he wanted to exert control over the church in England.
6.1.1 they provoked the quarrel between becket and henry
7 Peasants Revolt
7.1 most serious of the few revolts of medieval England. took place in June 1381
7.2 was an exception from the usual situation in which violent
punishments and castles with soldiers positioned there
were enough to put peasants off causing trouble and
guarantee their reasonable behaviour
7.3 army of peasants marched from Kent and Essex to London and did something no-one had done before or has done since, captured the Tower of London
7.4 Archbishop of Canterbury and King's treasurer were killed.
7.4.1 King Richard II was only 14 but agreed to meet peasants at Mile End
7.5 Peasant's Complaints
7.5.1 many lords had given peasants on their estates freedom and payment to work on their land to encourage them to stay on their manor after the Black
Death left them short of workers. nearly 35 years later, they became fearful these privileges may be taken away, and they were prepared to fight for them
7.5.2 many had to work for free on church land, sometimes
up to 2 days a week. this meant they could not work
on their own land and so it was difficult to grow
enough food for their families. peasants wanted this to
stop as it made them poor and the church rich.
18.104.22.168 John Ball, a priest from Kent, supported them in what they wanted
7.5.3 after the long war with France, a Poll Tax was introduced in 1380 by Richard II which made
everyone in the register pay 5p. this was the 3rd time in 4 years such a tax had been used and
by 1381, the peasants had had enough. 5p was a lot of money for them, and if they couldn't pay
in cash, the tax charged them seeds, tools etc, anything that could be vital for their survival.
7.6 May 1381=tax collector went to Fobbing in
Essex to find out why poll tax had not been
paid, but was thrown out by the villagers
7.6.1 in June, soldiers who arrived to establish law and
order were also thrown out and the villagers had
organised themselves and many other local Essex
villages had joined them too.
22.214.171.124 after this, the villagers marched to London to try and get Richard to hear their complaints.
7.7 Wat Tyler from Kent
emerged as the
7.8 as peasants from London had marched from Kent, they had
destroyed tax records and registers and buildings housing
government records were burned down. they got into London,
because the residents of the city opened the gates for them
7.9 discipline of the peasants began to go by mid-June and many got drunk in London and looted. Foreigners were also
murdered. Wat Tyler asked for discipline among those who looked up to him as leader but didn't get it.
7.10 JUNE 15TH-Richard met rebels at Miles End. he gave them what
they asked for and asked them to go home in peace. some did, but
others went back to London and murdered the Archbishop and
Treasurer by cutting of their heads on Tower Hill, by the Tower of
London. Richard hid for the night in fear of his life.
7.11 JUNE 16TH-met rebels again at Smithfield outside city's walls (supposedly at the suggestion
of the Lord Mayor, Sir William Walworthe, who wanted the rebels out of the city).
7.11.1 medieval London was cramped and wooden and any attempt to put down the peasant's could've ended in
fire. they could also have easily vanished once they knew soldiers were after them.
7.11.2 Wat Tyler was killed by the Lord Mayor at this meeting, and
this, and another promise from Richard to give them what
they wanted, was enough to send the peasants home.
7.12 by summer 1381, the revolt was over. John Ball and leaders from both Kent and Essex were hanged. Richard did not keep
any of his promises claiming they were made under threat and therefore not valid in law.
7.13 poll tax was withdrawn and peasants were forced back to their old way of life under the lord of the manor. lords did not have it their way as the Black Death
had caused a shortage of labour and in the following 100 years, they found they could earn more (by their standards) as the lords needed harvests in and the
only people who could do it were the peasants. they asked for more money and the lords gave it
7.14 challenges to law and order made by peasants
and how they should be punished
7.14.1 arson=executed by
burning, drowning or
7.14.2 theft=fine or stocks or
pillory. because large scale
may receive floggings or
7.14.3 murder=executed by hanging,
beheading, burning, drowning or
7.14.4 rebellion (especially against
monarch and church)=executed by
hanging, beheading or burning
126.96.36.199 was treasonous as it was against Richard II
8 ROBIN HOOD (the legend)
8.1 son of nobleman and went to crusades with Richard I
8.2 returned to find had lost his land to
Sheriff of Nottingham and Richard's
brother John was trying to take over throne
8.2.1 most believable because
lots of issue with land
ownerships due to greed
and nobles likely to be
targeted. likely throne
would've been threatened.
8.3 joined a group of outlaws living in Sherwood forest. mixture of
townspeople, peasants and priests who were outlaws
because they had been unjustly accused of crimes
8.4 brilliant archer who became leader of outlaws
8.4.1 together fought against Sheriff and king John and anyone else who harmed poor and defenceless
8.5 if the outlaws stole anything, they gave it to the
poor. they attacked rich bishops and priests who
did not lead the simple life expected of churchmen
8.6 outlaws were good friends who stayed together and
suffered no hardships from living in the forest
8.6.1 least believable because
life in forest would've
been hard and do not
think people from such
would get on so well.
8.7 King Richard returned from crusades and rewarded Robin for supporting him
against Prince John. he gave Robin his lands back.
9 ROBIN HOOD (legend vs reality)
9.1 RH=noble Y-had strong leaders who may've been nobles. N-gangs usually made up of priests and peasants outlawed for not going to court
9.2 RH=outlawed for arguing with authorities Y-peasants breaking law became outlaws. N-outlaws also consisted of knights and priests who just wanted money
9.3 RH=lived in Sherwood forest Y-Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire neighboured each other and forest may've overlapped both N-outlaws found in Bedfordshire and Yorkshire too
9.4 RH=stole from rich (nobles and wealthy members of church) Y-churches were favourite targets because of their valuable ornaments N-poor villagers easier targets than knights and noblemen
9.5 RH=gave what he stole to poor Y-n/a N-kept money for themselves
9.6 RH=strong leader Y-typical gang had strong leaders eg Eustace Folville, John Drestes and Nicholas Tailor N-n/a
9.7 RH & men treated victims with respect Y-n/a N-threatened victims with arson or extorting money/goods N-n/a
9.8 RH had loyal band of followers Y-gangs stayed together eg Nicholas Tailor and his gang saved Nicholas' brother from gallows N-money kept for themselves wasn't shared equally
9.9 RH did not work for nobles because he hated them Y-outlaws known to murder unpopular royal officials N-n/a
9.10 RH and men rescued each other in daring raids Y-outlaws rescued each other from gallows (Nicholas Tailor and gang saved his brother) N-n/a
9.11 RH wanted to protect people of England against the King and his Nobles Y-killed unpopular royal officials N-stoles from anyone and found poor villagers easier targets
9.12 RH and men supported by local people Y-local people warned them of danger N-villagers were victims of their robberies
10 Outlaws overview and real examples
10.1 VICTIMS = gangs of outlaws were feared. they stole property and any money they made they kept but didn't necessarily share it equally
10.1.1 E.G.John Drestes testified in court that he and 9 others had robbed a fisherman
named Robin Wyot of cloth and money with a value of 5o shillings. john got 17
shillings, whilst in a three way split of 18 shillings, one man got only 1s 6d.
10.1.2 churches=favourite targets because of ornaments (made of silver
and gold) and money which had been given for the care of the poor.
10.2 METHODS = threatened their victims with arson, extorting money or goods in return for not burning homes down.
10.2.1 serious threat from 1300 onwards when peasants grew richer and employed carpenters and other craftsmen to build their homes
10.2.2 regularly used violence eg holding knife to victims throat and making him
choose money or life. sometimes they just killed the victim staright away.
10.2.2.1 10% of murders carried out in robberies, often by outlaws. typical victim=shepherd
alone in fields later found dead or wounded and often robbed of clothes
10.3 DARING RESCUES = like
legend, gangs often rescued
members from gallows
10.3.1 E.G.Nicolas Tailor and his gang cut down his brother, Henry, from gallows. they took him to church where he
promised to go into exile, leaving the country within 40 days. got there too late once and so killed hangman.
10.3.1.1 outlaws always found ways to avoid hanging eg 38 members of gang
captured in yorkshire were handed over to church for punishment but
all recited the 'neck-verse' - they had learnt it to save their lives.
10.4 TYPICAL GANG = often stayed together for a long time and had a mix of members eg knights
and priests (who were good at writing threatening letters) usually had strong leaders
10.4.1 E.G. Folville gang who existed in Leicester for 20 years. led by Eustace Folville and his brothers whose father was a knight and lord of
a manor in Leicester. They were never captured as without a police force it was impossible to check everywhere and they may have been
protected by wealthy local friends from capture. Local people warned them of danger when they murdered unpopular royal officials.
10.4.1.1 1326 = Eustace Folville, his two brothers and a gang of 50 murdered Roger Bellers (gov official) in Leicester and were declared as oulaws but not caught
10.4.1.1.1 1327 = Folvile's crimes and many others pardoned when Edward II became king
10.4.1.1.1.1 1327-29 = involved in at least 3 murders, a rape and 3 robberies
10.4.1.1.1.1.1 1329 = crimes pardoned for fighting against rebellious earl of lancaster
10.4.1.1.188.8.131.52 1331 = monks of abbey paid £20 for them to destroy watermill belonging to rival
10.4.1.1.184.108.40.206.1 1332 = captured one of kings judges, held him to ransom and were outlawed
10.4.1.1.220.127.116.11.1.1 1333 = pardoned in return for good services to scottish war. Eustace was soldier for several years but then did more crime.
10.4.1.1.18.104.22.168.1.1.1 1345 = Eustace died peacefully and monk recorded his death because of his bravery, daring and fame
10.5 HARD TO CATCH = 1) lived in forests with may
hiding places 2)supported and protected by wealthy
nobles who back them up and conceal hiding places
3) gang ,members saved each other from punishment
11 MURDER AND AVOIDING EXECUTION
11.1 if found guilty of murder, punishment
was execution. Saxon system of
werguilds had been replaced by violent
maethods of execution of mutilations.
execution was also used, not only for
murder and other serious crimes, but
also minor crimes such as stealing
goods worth more than one shilling.
11.2 there were 5 ways to avoid the death penalty in the late middle ages
11.2.1 1) C:AIM BENEFiT OF CLERGY
22.214.171.124 this was most common way as clergy couldn't be punished
in King's courts. they were handed over to local bishop for
punishment and church did not execute people for crimes.
to prove you were a churchman, you had to recite a
passage from the bible called the 'Neck-verse' so called
because it saved many people's necks from hanging. the
theory was that only churchmen could read but criminals
often learnt the verse by heart. ON:Y men could take
advantage of benefit of clergy as women could not become
priests. it did not get you off punishment completely. the
church preferred mutilation to execution so the convict
11.2.2 2) JOIN THE ARMY
126.96.36.199 sometimes during war the criminal could be spared execution if they joined the army
11.2.3 3) BUY A PARDON
188.8.131.52 rich people could buy a pardon because the king was usually desperate for money
11.2.4 4) GET PREGNANT
184.108.40.206 a women who was pregnant could not be hanged. if they claimed they were
pregnant, they were examined, and if found to be pregnant, their punishment
was postponed and often commuted (exchanged for something else)
11.2.5 5) BECOME A KING'S APPROVER
220.127.116.11 you could escape punishment by becoming a king's approver
and giving evidence that would convict other criminals
12 ROLE OF LOCAL PEOPLE in keeping the peace, catching criminals and bringing justice
12.1 HUE AND CRY still existed. anyone witnessing a crime
had to shout and alert others. if anyone ignored the hue
and cry then the whole village would be charged a large
sum of money. a criminal could escape the hue and cry if
they could run fast enough or find a good hiding place
12.2 THE CONSTABLE was first appointed in the 1250's. they were not regular policemen,
but instead normal people who had a normal job and tried to keep the peace in their
spare time. they were not paid and only held the position for a year at a time
12.2.1 THE SHERIFF's job was to track down and imprison any criminals. if the hue and cry did not catch the criminal then the
sheriff and his posse comitatus (force of the county) would take up the pursuit. any male over 15 could be summoned to
join the posse and catch criminals or stop riots. the sheriff also investigated all other major crimes eg robberies.
12.3 THE COUNTY CORONER was first appointed in the 1190's.
was a local person employed to look into all unnatural deaths
with the help or a jry. the coroner reported to the sheriff and both
of these officials worked for the king.
12.4 JURIES were local people (men) who served on juries to help identify criminals
12.5 LOCAL JUDGES local landowners acted as Justices of the Peace in Quarter sessions and as judges in manor courts and private courts.
13 KEY DATES AND FACTS
13.1 Constable was introduced to lead hue and cry in 1250
13.2 corner was introduced in 1190 to investigate all unnatural deaths
13.2.1 by Richard I
13.3 in 1160's Henry II introduced royal judges to visit each county and hear cases in quarter sessions/royal courts
13.4 from 1361, local gentry and nobles acted as judges in the quarter sessions
13.5 Henry II introduced Justices in the Eyre
13.6 constitutions of Clarendon was the name given to the laws
used to try and extend power over the church from 1164
13.7 Court of Kings Bench introduced by Edward I
13.8 Edward I introduced law about posse comitatus
13.9 Justices of Peace introduced in period 1361-1363