What was law enforcement like in the middle ages?

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  • What was law enforcement like in the middle ages (1450-1750)?
    • The hue and cry
      • Method of policing
        • Villagers had to look for criminals in tithings (groups of ten)
      • effective because villagers knew each other
        • Required a stable community
      • Tithings had to take suspected criminals to court
    • Law and order
      • Trial by Jury was the method used to convict criminals
        • Where both sides gave their accounts of the events
        • The jury was made up of local men
      • You could be found innocent if they swore on oath
        • They needed support from character witnesses
      • Landowners were appointed as justices of the peace
    • Sanctuary
      • where criminals were given 40 days of safety
        • Churches and cathedrals
      • During this time criminals couldn't be convicted or taken to court
    • Sheriff and Posse
      • Job was to track down and imprison accused criminals
      • The posse was any boy over 15 who was summoned to help the Sheriff
    • Coroner
      • inspect dead bodies
      • Enquire into all unnatural deaths
      • With the help of the jury they would give evidence in court
    • Constable
      • Led the hue and cry and organised the tithings
      • Were not regular police but local villagers
    • Ways to avoid the death penalty
      • Buy a pardon
      • Join the army
      • Get pregnant
      • Become a kings approver
      • Claim the benefit of the clergy
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