Presentation on theme: "The Norman Conquest - 1066. England was united under the leadership of Alfred the Great. He managed to defeat most of the Viking raiders. By the 1000s."— Presentation transcript:
The Norman Conquest
England was united under the leadership of Alfred the Great. He managed to defeat most of the Viking raiders. By the 1000s England was one united country with one single set of laws.
Having defeated the vikings Anglo Saxons were soon given a new challenge. In 1066 a duke from Normandy in France invaded and killed Harold Godwinson the Saxon King. His name was William the Conqueror.
As with Saxon times, the Tithings were still used. The Shire reeve was also still used but he became known as the Sheriff.
The Posse was similar to a tithing. They were a groiup of men that the sheriff would use to help him track down an outlaw. Each village elected a Constable for one year. This was a normal member of the village who had to also sort out law and order for one year. Most of the well respected men in a village would do a spell as a constable.
In was in the later middle ages that Coroners were first used. Their main role was to investigate the cause of death and organise criminals who were in sanctuary. They had no medical training and did not dissect bodies but they may investigate by questioning. It wasn’t until the Early Modern period that coroners used medical dissection to help them.
By the later Middle Ages, the Sheriffs job bacame that of the Justice of the Peace. Each village had one. It was often the most wealthy man in the village.
After the Norman Conquest William declared all forests as Royal Forests. These Forest Laws made it a crime to hunt or even chop down trees in the forest.
Rebellion was common after the Battle of Hastings as many of the Saxons in Britain refused to accept the new Norman rulers. Hereward the Wake
An Outlaw was someone who had escaped capture and was wanted for a crime. If caught they could be executed. The most famous outlaw was Robin Hood. If he did exist, he was a man who fought with the Sheriff of Nottingham. He did not rob the rich to feed the poor.
An example of a real Outlaw gang would be the Folville Gang. They were a gang of thieves who stole and murdered for a living. They were eventually pardoned by joining the king’s army and fighting for him. The Folville cross marks the point where the gang killed Roger Bellere
Because of paying tto much tax, the peasants of Kent marched to London in They campaigned to the king to reduce the tax. There was a scuffle in which the king’s adviser was killed. The king ordered the rebels to go home, which they did. They were later rounded up and the ring leaders were executed.
In order to reduce crime and prevent rebellion William used public execution as a deterrant. He also used more public punishments like whipping and stocks.
There were a number of ways to avoid execution. Read the Neck Verse Get pregnant Join the Army Become King’s Approver (Snitch) Buy a pardon
The Fines system was different from the Wergild. During Saxon times your fine went to the person that you had hurt. After the Norman Conquest, your fine went to king.
You may have had you eyes gouged out if you killed a stag as the king’s considered them to be their property.
The Dunking Stool was saved for women who were Scolds
Being tied to a cart (Carting), whipped, stocks and pillory became much more common. They were punishments given out for a variety of crimes. Petty theft, vagrancy, selling mouldy produce, fighting in the street whilts drunk. The point of it being in public was to humiliate and so deter.
The Normans introduced the custom of Peine Fort et Dure. This was being crushed to death by having weights put on your chest. If you refused to speak or defend yourself in court it would be an option. Although you obviously died, you died an innocent man and so you family got to keep your belongings.
Kings were responsible for making the law throughout the Middle Ages. They would enforce the King’s Peace. Most of the old Saxon Laws remained unchanged into the Norman period. The Normans simply changed and adapted a few to suit their needs. Juries became more commonly used as did evidence.
Trial by Ordeal was replaced by Trial by Combat but the principle was the same. It was used in cases where guilt could not be decided as they believed that God would not let an innocent man suffer.
Norman law was unfair as it favoured Normans over Saxons. It also sometimes favoured the rich.
Prison tended to be used for those awaiting trial. If there was a castle nearby it would be the dungeon. Other than that it would be a secure building that was actually quite easy to escape from. It would be the Tithings responsibility to guard the building but it was sometimes cheaper to allow the criminal to escape a pay the fine instead of missing days of work.
Royal Courts held by kings for very important cases stayed as Royal Courts Shire Courts held twice a year by King’s officials, dealt with serious cases became Quarter Sessions held 4 times a year Hundred Courts held once a month to sort minor crimes and organise the tithing. Didn’t meet as often Manor courts held by lords to sort out their workers remained Manor Courts The court system remained virtually the same. They just changed the name of some of the courts.
Some King’s such as Henry II took care to sort out the Law Other King’s like Richard I spent the majority of his reign fighting abroad and paid little attention to Law and Order During the reign of Henry VI there was a break down in Law and Order. Henry gave too much freedom to his favourite and some them got away with very poor behaviour