Could you get justice in the Middle Ages? Remember – ‘Medieval’ = ‘Middle Ages’ – c.1066 – c. 1485 in England – between the Battle of Hastings and the start of the Tudors 3 rd October, 2007
Town Watch <ul><li>No police force </li></ul><ul><li>The watch was a group of people who patrolled the streets at night – volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Constables were appointed but it was unpopular job – therefore most slept on duty </li></ul><ul><li>Hue and Cry still remained </li></ul><ul><li>Tithings still around too </li></ul><ul><li>Growing towns meant new measures needed </li></ul>
The Courts <ul><li>Most crimes dealt with in Manor Court </li></ul><ul><li>This was held in the landlord’s manor house </li></ul><ul><li>The Lord acted as judge </li></ul><ul><li>Dealt with small crimes, jury of 12 decided verdict </li></ul><ul><li>Serious crimes go to the County or Shire Court </li></ul><ul><li>This acted in the name of the King </li></ul><ul><li>Trial by ordeal still used up to 1215 </li></ul><ul><li>New Trial by Combat introduced </li></ul>
Justices of the Peace (JPs) <ul><li>In 1361 each county had 3 or 4 JPs appointed </li></ul><ul><li>They were all picked from the gentry (rich) </li></ul><ul><li>Travelling courts were held four times a year – called the ‘Quarter Sessions’ </li></ul>
Punishments <ul><li>Could be brutal – death or mutilation </li></ul><ul><li>Criminals punished in public – to warn others </li></ul><ul><li>Humiliating/’showing’ punishments too </li></ul><ul><li>Stocks and pillory used </li></ul>
Examples of Medieval Laws <ul><li>Not allowed to leave the manor without Lord’s permission </li></ul><ul><li>Ask Lord permission to get married </li></ul><ul><li>Give the Lord 12 eggs at Easter </li></ul><ul><li>Lord gets your best animal when you die </li></ul><ul><li>You must work for the Lord for a set number of days per year </li></ul>
Sanctuary <ul><li>Those ‘on the run’ could hide in a church and claim ‘sanctuary’ – 40 days. </li></ul><ul><li>If you confessed after 40 days – you had to leave the country (exiled) </li></ul><ul><li>You had to carry a cross to the nearest port! </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit of Clergy </li></ul><ul><li>If you could read the 51 st Psalm you could claim benefit of clergy – and go to trial at a church court usually reserved for priests. </li></ul><ul><li>Church courts imposed lighter sentences </li></ul><ul><li>This psalm became known as the ‘Neck Verse’ </li></ul>
Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance. O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar. The Neck Verse
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