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Crime and Punishment in Tudor Britain

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1 Crime and Punishment in Tudor Britain
By Adam

2 Introduction There were no police during the Tudor times. However, laws were harsh and wrongdoing was severely punished. In Tudor times the punishments were very, very cruel. People believed if a criminal’s punishment was severe and painful enough, the act would not be repeated and others would deter from crime as well. Punishment methods: Capital Punishment states that if someone commits murder then they shall be executed and the family and friends of the victim will watch the killer die. Public execution was considered entertainment. You’d be killed in a public area for all to watch.

3 Methods of Public Execution:
Hanging – You’d be suffocated and suspended by a rope on a device called a gallow. Burning – Women who commit serious crimes would be burnt to death on the stakes. Beheading – Your head would be cut off by a special executioner with an axe. Being crushed/pressed to death – You would be crushed to death by two wooden planks. Boiled alive – If you commit a murder (other than capital punishment) you could be boiled to death in hot water. Public Executions were normally used on serious criminals.

4 If you commit a small crime you may be punished with:
Being tied to a post and whipped. This is for anything as mild as stealing a loaf of bread. Branding: Hot irons were used to burn letters onto the skin of offenders hand, arm or cheek. A murderer would be branded with the letter 'M', vagrants with the letter 'V', and thieves with the letter "T". The Pillory: The criminal would be put in a T shaped Stock that restrains his head and hands and be put in the marketplace to be mocked by passers-by.

5 If you commit a small crime you may be punished with:
The ducking stool:A see-saw like mechanism would be set up by a pond or lake with a seat to it (this punishment is mainly for women who steal). The criminal would be dunked in the lake multiple times a day for the rest of their sentence. The brank was a punishment enacted on women who gossiped or spoke too freely. It was a large iron framework placed on the head of the offender, forming a type of cage. There was a metal strip on the brank that fit into the mouth and was either sharpened to a point or covered with spikes so that any movement of the tongue was certain to cause severe injuries to the mouth.

6 If you commit a small crime you may be punished with:
The stocks (sitting):Stocks were used in the same way as the pillory, except that with stocks, the feet were bound. The stocks were a block of wood with two holes for your feet to go in. Local people threw rubbish and rotten eggs at people in the stocks. Amputation: People who stole from shops and markets would have their hands cut off. The Drunkards Cloak: People who were caught drunk would be stripped down then have an ale barrel put on them with holes for the head and hands. This served as a heavy painful shirt.

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