Influence of the Church

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  • Three Ways the church courts were used in 13th Century
    • Benefit of the clergy
      • In 13 century Church courts were used to try people of accused moral crime e.g premarital sex and not attending church
      • Church courts also tried members of clergy for all crimes. This is known as the benefit of the clergy
        • People proved their right to benefit of the clergy by reading a passage from the bible- priests were the few people who could read
        • Many laymen memories the passage so they could recite it in church and claim benefit of the clergy
          • This was due to church being more lenient than other courts, as their main aim of punishment was reformation
      • An example of the inequality of justice system in Medieval times- prejudiced the poor. Notably it wasn't available for women as they could not be priests
    • Sanctuary
      • Protection from the law offered by churches
        • Church provided alternative justice system therefore significant
      • The priest could report the crime but no one was allowed to arrest the accused.
      • Had to leave in 40 days or would be outlawed
    • Trial by ordeal
      • First used in Anglo Saxon times but was still being used at the start of the 13th Century, where court would decide
        • Trial by hot water
        • By consecrated bread
      • In 1215 was abolished


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