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Crime and Punishment
Through Time:
A revision guide…read more

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Medieval
Church courts Manor courts Royal courts
Dealt with priests, monks and nuns and those who refused to pay a tenth of their
income to the church
Dealt with ordinary villagers in the countryside and made them keep to the rules set by
the ordinary landowners. The most likely to be fined and punished were unfree farmers
called villeins. Though the court did protect them from being made to do too much work
or being fined too much.…read more

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BEFORE: Changes in the economy in the late 14th and 15th century had
increased the numbers of people wandering and looking for work.
SO: Changes in society led to a moral panic with beggars (often healthy) being
thought of as criminals ­ and punished.…read more

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VAGRANCY ACT: Forced beggars to work. It also ordered they should be
whipped and branded. This law, though, was impossible to enforce and was repealed
(abolished), but showed how worried people were.
Despite the laws against begging, it was impossible to stop because it was
brought on by wider social causes (e.g.…read more

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What beliefs affected
attitudes towards crime and
punishment?
Increased unemployment led to beggars wandering from town to town
Causes of different types of crime
Changes in religious beliefs led some to refuse to follow official religious beliefs
The improved quality of roads led to more highwaymen
Attitudes and beliefs
Divine right: It was believed that God gave power to kings and queens
Hierarchy: There was a strong belief that society had strict ordering with some groups
above or below others in terms of power, wealth…read more

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