Crime and punishment in the middle
The Stocks held peoples ankles whereas the pillory held their heads and wrists. All crimes apart from serious crimes were dealt by the manorial court.
Fire Offenders were made to hold a hot iron bar and walk three steps, their hands bandaged after this. Hangings and Public torture would be announced by the kings men, people would come from far and wide often bring children with them, this was encouraged by rulers thinking it was a deterrent from committing crime, bringing fear to the towns people.
If the wound was beginning to heal they were innocent but if the wound showed no sign of healing then they were pronounced Guilty.
It was mostly done when one party was accused by the other, but there were no witnesses or confessions. Often it led to further crimes in vengeance of the initial murder.
Each tithing had to make sure that no member of their group broke the law. Ordeal by Combat Noblemen would fight usually to the death in combat with their accuser.
William responded brutally, executing rebels and destroying farmland and animals- it is estimated thatpeople died of starvation from the food shortages. Further, anyone on the run from the law could claim "sanctuary" by going into a church.
Check out this funny video of what might have happened to you if you were rude!
How did the church influence crime and punishment
By today's standards people may think this was harsh however crime was not as widespread as in today's society. Often they would spread to many parts of the country and be difficult to put down. Buildings were mostly made of wood and fire could spread easily. Roman and Greek law stated that only slaves were allowed to be tortured, eventually the laws changed and free men were tortured and imprisoned for committing crimes. Ordeal by Fire The accused had to pick up a red hot iron bar and hold it while they walked three or four paces. This led to great changes in society and in crime and punishment. In fact, poetic statements or paintings could carry significant potentials against those who deliberately transgressed moral and ethical norms, or who even targeted themselves. Medieval officials lacked the resources or money to build suitable jails and people often died from illness before there trial. Crimes such as treason or arson which were viewed seriously as they damaged the land and property of the ruling classes were punished by execution, usually hanging. The accused had to face trial by ordeal to decide whether they were guilty or not guilty. There was a jury that consisted of twelve men chosen by the villagers. Suffocating people in water was a common practice. Those receiving the punishment would be made to stay in the stocks outdoors for several days, exposed to bad weather and members of the public shouting abuse or throwing rubbish at them. They were so harsh as they were meant to deter others from committing the same offence.
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