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The Story of Crime and Punishment

The Story of Crime and Punishment

The Story of Crime and Punishment
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This special issue examines law and disorder over the centuries, and re-examines some infamous crimes, from dandy highwaymen to Jack the Ripper. From the medieval period to the 20 the century, the British justice system changed in line with society and its values. Expert historians examine its effect on the lives of ordinary people. Inside you will find: • An account of Britain's first terrorist • What it was like to be sent to the stocks • Why we are fascinated with murder • A glimpse into smuggling's heyday

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
$16.41(Incl. tax)

in this issue

1 min.

From murderers and rebels, to thieves and smugglers, law breakers have existed in every form of human society. What has changed through history, however, is how criminals are caught, tried, and punished. In this special edition, we look at how crime and justice have evolved in Britain since the medieval period – from crimes of passion to coldblooded murder. We take a closer look at 19th-century executions – grisly public events that attracted huge crowds of spectators. And we meet criminals such as Jack the Ripper, an individual whose identity is still heavily debated but whose bloody crimes terrorised Victorian London. Plus, we explore the harsh and very public punishments of the medieval era, as well as what it meant to be declared an outlaw. A 300-year-old miscarriage of justice, which saw…

10 min.
justice through the ages

1166 Improvements made to criminal law Henry II re-establishes the system by which royal justices perambulate the country hearing royal pleas and ensuring royal justice is administered. The Assize of Clarendon establishes that sheriffs and county justices have to investigate murders, robberies and thefts. District and village representatives sit on local juries to identify suspects and testify that crimes have occurred. 1194 Coroners are established The Articles of Eyre act establish coroners in England. With a jury, they inquire into sudden or unnatural deaths but could be called upon, by Royal Warrant, to become involved in broader legal practices. 1200 1215 Trial by jury emerges The church withdraws from involvement in trial by ordeal, which essentially ceases in England. Trial by jury emerges more strongly, with local men who were likely to know the circumstances of the crime deciding…

10 min.
medieval justice

In 1417, a case came before a royal commission concerning a figure who called himself Friar Tuk and “other evildoers and breakers of the peace”. These men had apparently broken into parks and hunting grounds in Suffolk and Surrey and engaged in intensive poaching, arson and violent threats towards gamekeepers. This is not a story proving the veracity of the Robin Hood legends; the case postdates the first recorded versions by over a century. But it does indicate the popularity of the stories and the ways in which they could be used as a kind of common currency to make points about law, order and punishment. The man behind this Friar Tuk was Robert Stafford, chaplain of Lindfield in Suffolk. He was pardoned for his crimes in 1429. He knew, I would…

7 min.
the real robin hoods

The king’s government used outlawry to enforce the exile of individuals found guilty of robbery, theft, or murder In January 1213 Robert fitz Walter, Lord of Dunmow in Essex and Baynard’s Castle in London, was outlawed in the shire court of Essex. So, too, were nine of his men and accomplices, including a canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Gervase of Howbridge. We know this because an inquest into the outlawry was ordered by King John in the summer of 1213 and the return was copied on to the close roll (a record of the king’s correspondence). The return recites the king’s writ ordering the shire court to summon Robert fitz Walter to answer charges of plotting the king’s death and betrayal. It also names the knights who delivered the judgement of outlawry…

2 min.
the outlawry of fulk fitz warin

Fulk fitz Warin, a Shropshire baron, was outlawed by King John prior to April 1201 and he was finally pardoned in November 1203. The cause of his outlawry was very likely prompted by his failure to secure the castle of Whittington in Shropshire and may have been precipitated by an act of violence against the other (briefly successful) claimant, Maurice of Powys. The adventures of Fulk and his men during their outlawry are narrated in great detail by the 14th-century prose romance, Fouke le fitz Waryn, which seems to have drawn upon a late 13thcentury verse epic. These adventures combine historically verifiable points of detail (names of individuals, topographical information) with exploits of a more literary and fanciful nature (the defeat of a giant, the rescue of seven beautiful ‘damoiseles’, the abduction…

8 min.
smuggling’s heyday

Dr Evan Jones visits Bristol to explore the city’s thriving trade in illicit goods during the 16th century and reveals a very different type of smuggler to the 19th-century stereotype “The Ashton Court estate is a testament to Bristol’s lucrative smuggling activities”DR EVAN JONES Standing on the banks of the river Avon near Hung Road in Shirehampton, watching the occasional pleasure boat chugging by, it is hard to imagine that what is now a tranquil stretch of water was once a bustling hub of Bristol’s trade in illegal goods. But, says Evan Jones, senior lecturer in economic and social history at the University of Bristol, the city was a major focus for smuggling during the 16th century, and its profits lined the pockets of some of Bristol’s best-known merchants. Bristol’s location – some…