Crime and punishment in early Modern England 1500 - 1700 (Which social…
Crime and punishment in early Modern England 1500 - 1700
Which social changes affected crime and punishment?
Theft or begging
There is more people in the country but the same amount of jobs so people struggled to find jobs this created begging and theft.
Social, Political and Economic
Landowners were becoming richer and growing in influence during this period. They encouraged laws that defended their rights, power and property those they regarded as a threat. Increasingly landowners regarded the poor with suspicion.
During the English civil war in which Parliament fought and beat the kings forces. This culminated in the execution of King Charles 1st this created a feeling of insecurity and fear among the people that lasted decades.
England overall was becoming wealthier however most people remained poor. This made them vulnerable to rises in the price of food caused by bad harvests. A fall-off in trade could lead to unemployment for many.
Treason or Heresy
Changing between being protestant or catholic if u were the wrong one you were hanged.
This was invented in the fifteenth century so more books and broadsheets were printed, a favorite topic for these was crime, particularly witchcraft and vagabondage. Even those unable to read could still partially understand what was going on. This
The Tudors started persecuting against them.
Elizabeth laws of prevension
A minor type of witchcraft was using magic or charms (punishment was the stocks).
A major type of witchcraft was trying to raise the dead and this was punishable by death.
Kings and queens were worried about religious opposition to them. Kings like James the 1st believed that witches were plotting against him. Many leaders called for the persecution of witches of passed new laws against them.
People might accuse the other side of using witchcraft because they hated hem or wanted revenge.
(Parliamentarians vs royalists)
The Gunpowder Plot
Guy Fawkes was not the leader of the gunpowder plot, Robert Catesby was the leader but he often went unnoticed.
They believed they were soldiers of christ, the catholic soldiers standing up to James the 1st and his protestant government.
When brought to the king, Guy Fawkes said ‘I wanted to blow you back to the Scottish mountains.’
The method of tourcher used to to make Guy Fawkes confess to the gunpowder plot was the wack which stretched, but this was not a reliable confession as under tourcher people confess to pretty much everyone.
Guy Fawkes was hung, drawn and quartered.
This treason happened based on religious reasons (Catholicism vs Protestantism). Reasons for treason included mainly religion or political views but sometimes it can also be social and economic.
Beggars - Vagabonds
The tudors had a very big hatred of Vagabonds because they became a big problem for the Tudors, because of closing of the Catholic Monasteries which previously helped the poor and the hatred of idleness by the protestant people.
The beggars during the Tudor time were split into 2 categories and this helped the country chose who to help.
The Deserving poor - Were beggars injured or disabled so had no way to work.
Undeserving poor or Sturdy beggars - They were thought to be able to work but were idle and too lazy to do so they were severely punished.
The sturdy beggars had to create ways to make money from begging:
Run around naked and people took your money while you were distracted
Bandages to cover burns and wounds you gave yourself so people would feel sorry for you and give money
Loaded dice which was a weighted dice and would roll the same number if you if it was thrown a specific way, it was used for cheating at gambling
Frothing at the mouth was created by keeping a bar of soap in you mouth and then people would think you had rabies and give you money to move on
Laws to deter begging:
1531 - Henry 8th - Licence to beg for deserving poor, others (Sturdy beggars) were whipped back and sent back to where they came from
1601 - Elizabeth 1st - Local taxes to support poor, poor made to work in house of correction and beggars whipped out of town.
1495 - Henry 8th - Beggars in the stocks for 3 days
1547 - Edward - 6th - Whipped, branded with V for vagabonds and made slaves for 2 years with execution as a threat if they escape