Changes made to Crime and Punishment between the eras (c.Ad 50- c.1350)

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Changes made in Norman era compared to Anglo-Saxon

The King's Peace or 'mund'- Continuity

Shires and Sheriffs- Changed /Continuity(Shires changed to counties but both eras relied on Sheriffs to keep the law and order)

The role of GodContinuity (in order to keep the Church happy and added onto e.g. Church Courts) 

Hundreds and tithings-  Continuity

The hue and cry-  Changed/Continuity if someone killed a Norman then the hue and cry would track down the criminal.

Controlling the forestsChanged as new laws were introduced to increace the Kings power 

WergildChanged as all the payments went to the king

The Court SystemContinuity (with the addition of Church Courts)

Trial by OrdealContinuity (with the addition of Trial by Combat)

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Changes made in Norman era compared to Anglo-Saxon

Police- Change (added to keep the forest laws in place) 

Punishments and prisons- Changed as they involved more harsher punishments to do with death. 

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Crime and punishment between Norman and Roman.


Beliefs and attitudes about crime and punishment reflected those of people in power e.g. Roman hierarchy (Christans were killed as they challenged power) 

Theft was the most common crime

Punishment was all about revenge and deterrence e.g. crustification, eaten by lions, trial by ordeal and forest laws. 

Individuals were held to be responsible for their criminal activities

Women were treated unequally by the law 

Punishments had to be effective and cheap e.g. both used effective punishments (Romans killed for entertainment and both didn't have prisons) 

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Crime and punishment between Norman and Roman.


The Anglo-Saxon concept of wergild fell out of favour during Norman times e.g. Wergild went to the King

The Normans developed the Anglo-Saxon idea of trial by ordeal by introducing trail by combat

The influence of the Christian Church meant punishments were slightly less brutal after the Anglo-Saxons

Restitution rather than retribution became more important as a result of Church influence. 

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Changes introduced by Henry II

Reduced power of the over-mighty barons

Created the basis for English common law which is still used together (drew together by using Anglo-Saxon, royal and Norman law into the Constitutions of Clarendon)

Reduced the power of the King in English law

Made sure all his orders were written down before they were sent to the sheriffs (when the law started to be written down)

A new Court of King's Bench was set up to deal with the most serious crimes.

Judges travelled around circuits rather than cases going to the judges. 

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