History Revision-end of year 9

HideShow resource information

The Saxon Period-causes (500-1066)

  • Roman Empire gone-no law or order
  • Barbarians take over-interested in killing, plunder (getting money)
  • Different kingdoms-different beliefs and laws
  • Poverty
1 of 27

The Saxon Period-crime

Most crime was minor, it includes:

  • Low value theft-money, food and belongings
  • Vioent crimes were a small minority 
2 of 27

The Saxon Period-policing

  • Hue and cry-if you saw someone committing a crime you had to shout loudly and people from your village would come to help you catch the criminal
  • Tithings-a group of 10 men over the age of 12 that were responsible for making sure no one in their group committed a crime
  • No police force
3 of 27

The Saxon Period-trials

Trial by Jury

  • No lawyers
  • Made up of men from the area who knew the accuser and the accused-biased

Trial by Ordeal

  • Trial by cold water-tied up and thrown into a deep pool with water blessed by a priest. If they floated they were guilty and were punished. If they weren't guilty, they would sink, drown and go to heaven.
  • Trial by hot iron
4 of 27

The Saxon Period-punishment

The Blood Feud

  • Saxon kings allowed victims to punish criminals
  • Caused mass killings, creates more violence


  • Later Saxon kings got rid of the blood feud and replaced it with wergilds (fines for crimes)
  • Lost eye-50 shillings
  • Broken arm-6 shillings
  • Broken rib-3 shillings
5 of 27

The Medieval Period-causes (1066-1485)

  • Poverty
  • Famine-no food
  • Warfare
6 of 27

The Medieval Period-crime

The most common crime was theft. This was due to poverty and famine.

Manor Courts (minor crimes)

  • Selling ale without licence
  • Assualt
  • Not attending longbow practice
  • Falsely raising the hue and cry

Royal Courts (serious crimes)

  • Murder
  • Outlaw
  • Theft
7 of 27

The Medieval Period-policing

Some towns set up a watch-a group of people who patrolled the streets each night. 

Constable-this was an unpaid job for one year. They had to lead the hue and cry

Sheriff-their job was to investigate major crimes. They also had to track down and imprison any criminals not caught by the hue and cry

8 of 27

The Medieval Period-trials

Trials by ordeal were stopped in the 13th century (1215)

Trial by combat was introduced-rich people usually asked for it

Church Courts

  • Included bishops, deacons, priests, clerks, monks and nuns
  • Gave out lighter sentences and couldn't sentence death
  • Members of the clergy* could read and write, therefore a literacy test was used to prove that a person worked for the church

*benefit of clergy-as long as anaccused person could recite certain Bible verses, they could be tried by a Church court and recieve more lenient punishments

9 of 27

The Medieval Period-punishment

High treason (a crime against a king or country)-hanging, drawing and quatering

Murder, manslaughter, stealing anything worth a lot of money-men hanged, women usually burned

Smaller crimes like fighting, drunkenness or small thefts-fines, hand cut off, stocks or pillory, whipping

10 of 27

The Tudor Period-causes (1485-1603)


  • Poverty-forced to steal
  • Religion (being a different religion to queen/king)
  • Less jobs-Henry VIII banned all private armies
  • Loss of food and shelter-Henry VIII closed the Monasteries
11 of 27

The Tudor Period-crime

  • Theft
  • Murder
  • Heresy (having and opinion different to the main religion)
  • Treason (betraying your own country e.g. trying to overthrow or murder the king)
  • Begging (being a vagabond)

Vagabonds-poor people who wandered the streets looking for food and shelter. They were a mixture of unemployed soldiers, farmers, women and children, the old and sick. Some of them found it easier to beg and steal instead of getting jobs, buts others weren't fit enough for work.

Counterfeit Crank-they pretended to have violent fits to get money

Tom O' Bedlam-they would pretend to be mad to get money

The Baretop Trickster-she would flash at a man in the street and ask him to buy her a meal. The man would follow the woman to her house, where a gang are waiting to rob him.

12 of 27

The Tudor Period-policing

The Tudor Justices of the Peace

  • Investigate crimes and gather information
  • Hold trials (they would hold court sessions four times a year-quarter sessions) 
  • Had to regulate ale houses, look after roads and bridges, deal with vagrants and administer the poor law
  • They often exploited their powere, and didnt always complete jobs because they were too busy
13 of 27

The Tudor Period-trials

During the Tudor period, Manor courts, Royal courts and the benefit of the clergy were still used.

However in 1575 Elizabeth changed the benefit of the clergy, so that they pleaded after conviction but before sentencing. This could affect the sentence for first-time offenders, from hanging to branding and imprisonment. 

14 of 27

The Tudor Period-punishment

The Scottish Boot-a metal boot on the foot.Wood chips were hammered into it which split and broke the foot.

The Juda Cradle-a victim was hung above a cone pyramid and then lowered onto it. The sharp tip of the cone was forced up into the area between the prisoner's legs.

15 of 27

The Tudor Period-rebellions

The Pilgrimage of Grace-1536

  • WHY-King Henry wanted to divorce his wife, but the Catholic Pope wouldn't let him, so he set a up protestant church-1527.
  • WHAT-30,000 people took control of Hull, York and Pontefract. He promised them they would receive royal pardons if they stopped protesting.
  • PUNISHMENT-Henry sent his army to attack the protestors. They took the monks and hanged them from the steeple of their local church. Over 200 leading marchers (including Robert Aske) were executed for heresy and treason.
  • Kett's Rebellion-1549
  • WHY-Landowners enclosed their farmland to keep sheep because fortunes were being made in the wool trade. Sheep farming employed fewer people than crop farming.
  • WHAT-July 1549-protestors ripped down fences and camped outside the cities walls. They sent complaints to Edward VI about the poor standard of living.
  • PUNISHMENT-Robert Kett was taken to Norwich castle as a traitor and hung by chains over the castle walls. His body hung there for a year. Up to 300 were executed, 9 senior leaders were hung, drawn and quartered.
16 of 27

The 17th Century-the gunpowder plot


  • The plotters were planning to blow up King James when he opened parliament on 5th November
  • The King said he hated Catholics and punished them for being that religion
  • Some people believed the government knew about the plot-Why were a group of Catholics allowed to rent a cellae under Parliament? How did the plotters get so much gun powder when the government strictly controlled it?
  • They were dragged through London's streets, hung, castrated, cut open, beheaded and cut into pieces for committing treason
17 of 27

The 17th Century-witch hunts

  • Old women and poor people were mainly accused
  • When bad things happened, they blamed it on a witch
  • They used the swimming test
  • Witchcraft ceased to be a crime in 1736
  • King James I encouraged witch hunts and even wrote a book about catching them
  • Margaret Harkett was executed for her 'crimes'
  • Thousands were killed when 'witch fever' gripped Engalnd in the 1600s
  • During the 17th century 2000 people were hanged as withces
  • Matthew Hopkins called himself the 'witch funder general'-paid £1 per witch
  • The town of Aldeburgh paid Matthew £6 for clearing the town of witches, Stowmarket paid him £23 and King's Lynn paid him £15-the average daily wage was 2 pence
18 of 27

The 17th Century-puritans

They believed that you had to work hard if you wanted to go to heaven, so they banned anything that interfered with work or worship.

They banned (and would fine you for):

  • Walking to the next village on a Sunday
  • Playing football on a Sunday
  • Christmas in 1652 (believed it was a non-christian festival-would go to hell for celebrating it)
  • Selling goods on the Lord's day
  • Walking, dancing or singing for no reason

+ People worked harder and were less distracted

- Restricted people from doing everyday things and having a normal life

Oliver Cromwell (leader of the Puritans and Lord Protector of England) died from Malaria. Charles I came to power and got rid of the Puritan laws.

19 of 27

The 18th Century-crime

Highway Robbery

  • Greedy, cruel and violent
  • Went up to people on the highway and robbed them
  • Some of them cut people's tongues off so they couldn't say anything about them

Dick Turpin

  • Broke into houses, stole cattle and tortured people before stealing all of their money
  • He was arrested in 1739 for horse stealing, but the authorities didn't know who he was. He wrote to his brother, but his old teacher recognised his handwriting and informed local magistrates
  • He was hanged in York in May 1739, aged 34

Jonathan Wild-'thief taker'

  • People paid him to get back their stolen property
  • His existence proves there was a lack of police, because he usually organised the robbery then got paid to give their property back 
20 of 27

The 18th Century-highway robbery factors

Factors That Cause Highway Robbery

  • Guns became easier and cheaper to get]There was lots of open land around towns which highwaymen could operate
  • No police
  • Horses became cheaper to buy
  • Coaching became big business, a lot of people travelled by coach every day

Factors That Stopped Highway Robbery

  • Taverns (pubs) that were used by highwaymen were closed down
  • As time went on there was less open land around towns as it was built on
  • High rewards were offered for the capture of highwaymen
  • Road patrols were set up around big cities
  • People used banks more and didn't carry so much cash around with them
21 of 27

The 18th Century-smuggling

Smuggling started because the government introduced taxes on goods (import duties)

  • Smuggled goods included tobacco, alcohol and cloth
  • 3 million pounds of tea was smuggled into Britain each year-3x amount legally imported
  • In 1748, over 70% of the 103 people officially wanted for smuggling, were farm workers who made nearly 10 times as much in one night from smuggling than they could working for a week in the fields
  • Many ordinary citizens became involved in smuggling

In the 1780s, Prime Minister William Pitt lowered the taxes on imported food (preventd smuggling)

Poaching-stealing wild creatures, live birds or fish from those who own the land or water in which they live 

22 of 27

The 18th Century-transportation

Alternative to hanging, convicts sent to Australia instead of being punished in Britain

+ Having convicts at Australia meant no other countries could try and take the land

+ Transportation deterred crime and made space in Britain

- Britain took the land from the aboriginees

- May not survive the boat trip

23 of 27

The Industrial Revolution-changes (1750-1900)


  • Factories and new machines introduced
  • Population increased and people started to live in crowded towns and cities-disease spread
  • Main purpose of punishment was to inform the criminal
24 of 27

The Industrial Revolution-prisons

Britains Prisons In The Early 1800s

+ A place to reofrm people instead of killing them, deters crime

- Richer people were treated better

-They must pay a jailers fee to leave prison-poorer people couldn't afford this 

-Were chained up and had to live in horrible conditions

-Didn't get enough food, water, toilets or light

25 of 27

The Industrial Revolution-Elizabeth Fry

  • Taught children in prisons
  • Changed every prison in the country
  • Is on money

Imprisonment became the normal method of punishment and the main aim was to reform people. Government inspectors payed more attention.

Elizabeth Fry saw the prison conditions at Newgate and educatedthe prisoners.

The Jail Act happened because of Elizabeth Fry. The milder treatment led to fewer people returning to the prison.

26 of 27

The Industrial Revolution-punishment


Involved a prisoner doing a boring task in complete silence. They were forced to walk around treadmills like hamsters in a cage, unravel old rope or turn handles that scooped up and emptied cups of sand. The idea was to allow a prisoner time to reflect on their crime and not allow them to corrupt each other.


This was solitary confinement in the prisoner's own cell. After weeks of non-contact, the prison chaplain would persuade the prisoner to lead a better, godlier life. Suicide rates were high because of lonliness. There was no evidence of reform and the method was very expensive. Over time it became an extra punishment. Pentonville prison opened in 1842 as a model 'separate prison' and by 1850, there were 50 others using the system.

27 of 27




Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Crime and punishment through time (OCR History A) resources »