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Early Roman law
This set down what the Romans felt were crimes, and the punishments to be given to those who
committed such crimes.
When Roman was just a small city-state, an Assembly made the laws and conducted trials.
What were the principle o! early Roman "aw#
veryone !i.e. "ings and emperors as well as poor people and slaves# was under the law and had to obey
it or be punished.
The law should be made public so that everyone "new about it.
$aws should be rationally wor"ed out. %nli"e other ancient civilisations, the Romans did not base their
law on religion. This was an important change.
$aws should be enforced in public& as a result, court trials were open to the public.
'eople should receive fair treatment. (n serious matters, they could be tried by their e)uals and, if
sentenced to death, could appeal to the Assembly or the emperor.
The Twel$e Ta%let
(n *+1 ,- the 'lebeian -ouncil got a commission set up to record, in writing, all e.isting laws. These were
inscribed on stone tablets and became the basis for all later Roman law.
(n /0* ,-, it was decided that all new legal decisions had to be published.
$ater codifications of Roman $aw, legal decisions were recorded and summarised by legal e.perts !jurists#.
The most important codifications were those made by Theodosius in */1 and by 2ustinian in the years
How &i& Roman law wor' in practice#
The people who dealt with the operation of the law in the city of Rome itself were the magistrates.
At first, only senators !who came from the upper class# could be magistrates. 2uries were made up of
members of the upper class.
(n the provinces, Roman law was administered by provincial governors.
5inor cases were dealt with by magistrates in small local courts. This system was applied throughout the
Roman mpire, which helped maintain order.
The city had no police force. 6ictims of crime had to catch the criminals themselves, or with the help of
friends or by-standers. The victims of such crimes were also responsible for ta"ing the criminals to court.
5any criminals were never caught or punished.
(n A7 8, the mperor Augustus set up three bodies to help control crime in Rome.
The vigiles - 9000 men whose main duty was to prevent and put out fires.
The urban cohorts - /000 soldiers who were to stop or brea" up riots.
The 'raetorian :uard - an elite body of guards who protected the emperor.

Crime an& p(nihment in the Roman Empire
,urglaries, and street-crimes involving robbery or simple violence, were common.
;ther serious crimes included arson, and stealing from temples and farms.
Riots at games, chariot races and gladiatorial contests also too" place from time to time.
The most serious crime of all, though, was to plot against or attac" the emperor, or to rebel.
The Romans did not record the overall amount of crime committed. <owever, the situation was probably
similar to modern times, with most crimes being minor thefts.
The purpose of punishment in the Roman mpire was to deter other would-be criminals from committing
crimes themselves.
'unishments for serious crimes were harsh and violent, including the amputation of limbs, e.ile, and a
variety of methods for e.ecuting people !e.g. hanging and crucifi.ion#.
$ess serious crimes were usually punished by whipping, beating, the confiscation of property or being
forced to repay the cost of the goods stolen or damaged.
Wa Roman )(tice !air#
The law was applied )uite differently, depending on a person=s ran", status and wealth. (n general, the
distinction made was between the upper ran"s !the honestiores# and the lower ran"s !the humiliores#.
,y A7 313, there were almost two different legal systems operating for the two basic ran"s of citi>ens.
(f you had money, you could avoid or reduce punishments by paying money to the victim or their family.
Roman law only fully applied to Roman citi>ens, not to slaves or those who were simply the subjects of
the Roman mpire.
Roman law always treated women as inferior to men. Women were not allowed to vote, become
magistrates or even appear in court.
-ourt cases were conducted by orators who charged high fees.
2uries could be bribed, as well as magistrates. 'oor people, unli"e the wealthy, could not afford bribes.
5agistrates= legal decisions were influenced by ideas about religion and race, as well as social ran".
The collape o! the Roman Empire an& it le*acy
(n Roman ,ritain, all the Roman laws were introduced, with the governor dealing with the most
important cases, while magistrates dealt with minor cases.
The role of policing the province was underta"en by the Roman legions stationed in ,ritain.
Roman law and legal decisions had been written down, many of their ideas about law were able to
survive the con)uest by what the Romans called the barbarians.
specially important in this was the wor" by 2ustinian who became emperor of the astern mpire. <is
-ode reduced and summarised over 100 volumes of Roman law into just si. volumes.
Roman law is the basis of the legal systems of modern ?cotland, (taly and @rance.
THE MIDD"E A+ES, ,-- ./0,-
An*lo1Sa2on "aw
The Anglo-?a.ons did not want one central government, so ,ritain went from being one province with
one legal system to a collection of many separate "ingdoms.
Anglo-?a.on law became the main foundation of later law in ngland.
(t was a simpler, more traditional and more local system of law than Roman law, based on the family and
the tribe.
The victims of crime had to punish the wrong-doer themselves. The Ablood feud= included the right to "ill
the accused person - or a member of his or her family - in order to settle the wrong which had been done.
;ne of the most important jobs of a "ing was to ensure that the laws were obeyed. 5any of those laws
were also made or changed by the "ing.
There were also laws to protect all people from violence - though even in this aspect of law enforcement,
the wealthy and those who were freemen were given more protection than poor people and slaves.
The blood-feud was replaced by the wergeld or wirgild !from the words for man and money#.
This was a system based on the payment of money compensationB wergeld was paid if someone was
"illed or murdered& a boteld !botgild# was payable for injuries.
The -hristian -hurch became a powerful body and began to influence education and the law.
?ome Anglo-?a.on "ings - such as thelbert of Cent, (ne of Wesse., ;ffa of 5ercia and Alfred the :reat
of Wesse. - drew up and issued codes of law.
,ut most Anglo-?a.on law was customary and unwritten, and differed from "ingdom to "ingdom.
,y about 1000, the "ings of Wesse. were ruling the whole of ngland - apart from the area "nown as the
This allowed a more unified system of law to develop in ngland for the first time since the end of the
Roman occupation.
(n 1018, -nut became "ing of all of ngland, but a single code did not appear until after the Dorman
-on)uest in 1088.
How &i& An*lo1Sa2on law operate in practice#
Anglo-?a.on law was based on the local community, with the "ing presiding over the operation of the
law, and was centred on the ideas of peace and the "ing=s peace.
The Anglo-?a.ons believed that every man was entitled to peace, while the "ing=s peace applied to the
roads and all their users.
The "ing had his own court - the Witan - for dealing with cases involving the nobility and the most
serious crimes.
ngland was divided into shires - controlled by a royal official "nown as the shire-reeve !sheriff#.
?hires were divided up into hundreds. The hundred courts dealt with minor cases, while the shire court
dealt with more serious crime. The sheriff had to act on writs sent by the "ing.
(n towns there were also special burgh !borough# courts.
The free inhabitants of each small community had to belong to a thithing. The Anglo-?a.ons had no
police force, so it was the duty of all thithings to arrest criminals by raising the hue and cry.
How were cae )(&*e&#
Trial by the communityB this involved using a jury !made up of local men who "new the people
The accused tried to prove his innocence by swearing he was not guilty, using oath helpers or
Trial by ordealB if the accused was a suspicious character and had often been accused of crimes, or had
ever been found guilty of perjury !lying under oath#, or the jury simply could not agree, the defendant had
to undergo trial by ordeal.
There were three types of ordealB cold water, hot water, and hot iron.
An*lo1Sa2on p(nihment
The most common form of punishment was the payment of compensation and fines.
5ore serious crimes !treason, betrayal of your lord, murder, arson and house-brea"ing# were punished by
death and the confiscation of all the criminal=s goods and property.
The most common form of e.ecution was death by hanging. <owever, the church favoured the avoidance
of the death penalty and the use instead of harsh physical punishments.
"aw a!ter the Norman Con3(et
How m(ch contin(ity wa there#
Dorman law was based on the idea of the mund - this was an area of land around every man=s home in
which peace and order should be allowed to e.ist.
After 1088, because the "ing owned the whole country, his mund covered everybody. William ( was
responsible for law and order throughout his "ingdom.
The importance of the "ing in ma"ing law and in enforcing it on the whole country - law under the
Dormans was similar to that which had become established in Anglo-?a.on ngland.
?hire courts and sheriffs continued, although the Dormans used the term county instead of shire.
<undreds also continued almost unchanged for many years. Thithings, the system of hue and cry, the use
of compurgators and trial by ordeal, all continued.
What chan*e &i& Norman law %rin*#
@orest $aws. As well as covering large areas of woodlands, the @orest $aws also included farms and
villages, and many of the more remote places of ngland. 'unishments for brea"ing these laws were very
Trial by battle. Although this was not a common method of settling disputes, it outlasted the other ordeals
and was not abolished until 1314.
The Dormans also made $atin the official language of the court records, while Dorman-@rench became
the language for all court proceedings. This lasted until the 18+0s.
De$elopment in local law
$ocal manor courts settled small disputes. There were also honour courts which dealt with cases arising
in any of the villages and manors belonging to the same lord.
'roceedings were run by the reeve or the steward.
These courts came to be replaced by what were called courts leet. A court leet was a manor court in which
the lord had e.tra rights and powers.
Towns also came under the "ing=s mund. To set up a new town, people had to get a charter from the "ing,
which allowed them to have their own borough court.
Royal law an& Ch(rch law
(n 11+*, <enry (( became "ing and he decided to help restore peace by updating and codifying the laws of
ngland. <enry (( laid the basis of what became nglish -ommon $aw.
The 4in*5 Peace
(n 118*, <enry issued the -onstitutions of -larendon, which summarised the e.isting law and legal
(n 1188, at the Assi>e of -larendon, <enry introduced several changes and additions to the -onstitutions.
The main changes he made were, travelling justices !justices in eyre#, juries of presentment, county gaols
and church justice.
The importance of the -hurch continued under the Dormans, as both the ta"ing of oaths and trial by
ordeal continued as the main methods of deciding guilt or innocence.
The -hurch also claimed the right to try any churchman accused of a crime in its own courts. (n fact,
William ( had allowed the church to set them up after 1088. This was called benefit of clergy.
6y the time o! Henry II, there were th( e$eral ytem o! law operatin* in En*lan&7
Anglo-?a.on law which operated at the local level.
Dorman law as e.ercised by barons in their manor courts
Royal law which tried to bring greater e)uity or fairness to the operation of the law.
-hurch law which began to use punishment to achieve the repentance and even rehabilitation or reform
of the individual.
De$elopment in the later Mi&&le A*e
<enry=s 2ustices in eyre had three main duties, carrying out a general chec" on crime and law
enforcement in the area, dealing with serious and violent crimes in their Aassi>e= courts in the counties and
dealing with civil cases.
(n 1191, <enry (( set up the -ourt of -ommon 'leas in $ondon to deal with important civil cases. $ater,
he set up the -ourt of Cing=s ,ench to deal with the most serious criminal cases.
-lear and standard written instructions !writs# were issued to sheriffs and had to be returned to show that
they had been carried out. This process was overseen by the -ourt of the .che)uer and by the 2usticiar.
Approvers !informers# who had committed an offence could offer evidence against wrongdoers in return
for a lighter sentence. Dew petty juries were increasingly used to decide on the guilt or innocence of
accused people.
What happene& a!ter Henry II#
%nder Richard (, a new legal official was introduced - this was the Acoroner, who had to deal with all
suspicious deaths.
After 131+ the system of trial by jury was e.tended during the thirteenth century.
(n 131+, 5agna -arta !The :reat -harter# added to the legal system and the laws to be enforced.
(n 139+, the first ?tatute of Westminster imposed the punishment peine forte et dure !strong and severe#
on those who refused a trial by jury.
(n 131+, dward ( passed a new law which said that men had to help form a posse comitatus !force of the
county#, which was to help the sheriff to chase and catch criminals.
7uring the fourteenth century, trial by jury became the normal method of deciding guilt. 7ecisions should
be unanimous and that no one should serve as a juror if the accused objected to them.
(n 1/81, the 2ustices of the 'eace Act appointed three or four 2. '. s in each county to help run the local
justice system.
Type o! crime
The most common types of crime dealt with in the 5iddle Ages were theft and murder. Almost 10E of
all cases dealt with theft or the handling of stolen property.
About 11E of cases dealt with murder. -ases dealing with rape and other crimes !such as arson and
treason# were much rarer.
<owever, the court rolls only record crimes which were reported& even today, many crimes are not
reported. The number of unreported crimes is "nown as the Adar" figure=.
Reitance to a(thority
The @orest $aws introduced by William ( continued to cause resentment. 'artly as a result of such factors,
some people became outlaws. The rich carried weapons or were protected by servants, but robbing poor
people was much less ris"y.
;utlaws could live in the more remote parts of ngland, without much fear of being hunted down.
The Peaant5 Re$olt, /89/
(n 1/11, a revolt too" place which was the result of a combination of many factors. ?ome of them were
long-term, such as increasing dissatisfaction with aspects of the feudal system and the impact of the
,lac" 7eath.
The spar" for the Revolt, though, was provided by Richard ((=s imposition of a poll ta. to pay for the
<undred Fears= War.
ventually, the protestors marched on $ondon itself, in order to present a petition to the "ing. The main
leaders were Walter !Wat# Tyler and a radical priest called 2ohn ,all.
Richard (( promised pardons but, once the rebels had returned to their villages, the pardons were used to
identify those who had ta"en part. 5any rebels were hanged for their involvement.
Herey an& heretic
<eresy was the holding of religious beliefs which were different from those taught by the church.
Anyone accused of heresy could be arrested and tortured and, if found guilty, could be e.ecuted.
Women an& the law
Dorman law was even harder on women than Anglo-?a.on law had been, especially as regards property.
;nce a woman married, all her possessions became the property of her husband. Women could also not
inherit property when their fathers died.
There were also special punishments for women, which did not apply to men. A woman could be accused
by a neighbour or even her husband of being a scold or nag. The punishment, if found guilty, was the
duc"ing stool.
EAR": MODERN 6RITAIN, /0,- 1/;,-
Why &i& attit(&e to crime an& p(nihment chan*e#
:rowth of population and townsB over the ne.t /00 years, ngland=s population - especially in towns -
increased greatly.
?ocial and economic developmentsB @rom the si.teenth century, the larger landowners and wealthy
merchants became e.tremely rich.
'roperty and powerB as the wealth of landowners and merchants increased, they began to want a bigger
say in the running of the country. They were also concerned to control crime and protect their property
from the poor.
The spread of ideasB ideas about politics and religion were able to spread more )uic"ly. The invention of
printing, and an increase in the numbers of people who could read, meant important ideas reached down
to the lower classes as well as those who traditionally e.ercised power.
(mprovements in travelB the use of coaches and wider possession of horses also helped ideas to spread
more widely and more )uic"ly. There were many reports about the growth of crime.
Attitudes about crime and povertyB the upper and middle classes were also worried by the fact that, since
the 5iddle Ages, feudal restrictions on travel for ordinary people had been lifted.
What were the lin' %etween crime an& po$erty#
5any of the laws in this period were designed to contain the Athreat= which the wealthy middle classes
believed now came from the lower orders of society.
'rotestant religions, especially -alvinism and 'uritanism, saw wealth as the result of hard wor" and
:od=s blessing - the poor came to be seen as la>y and sinful.
Wages fell in the 1+*0s and 1++0s. There was rapid inflation. (ncreased rents and the enclosure of
common and waste land forced many ordinary people off the land.
The 7issolution of the 5onasteries increased unemployment and poverty. This increased poverty alarmed
the Arespectable= wealthier classes, especially when robberies and thefts seemed to increase.
6agabonds and Asturdy beggars=B wealthier members of society were particularly worried by the
emergence of various types of vagrants, who wandered from place to place, begging for food and money.
These beggars - or vagabonds - were seen as a real threat to the community, and so laws were passed to
ma"e begging and vagrancy criminal offences.
The p(nihment o! $a*rant
,etween 1+/1 and 1+41, various laws were passed which set down the punishments for vagrancy - these
included whipping, being branded with the letter A6= on their forehead, or being sent into slavery for two
Those convicted of a second offence of vagrancy could be e.ecuted, or sold into slavery for life. $ater,
some of these punishments were repealed as being too harsh.
ventually, the authorities realised there were genuine cases of poverty. They tried to distinguish between
Aimpotent poor=.
(n 1+93, 2. '. s were given powers to collect a wee"ly poor-rate !ta.# from each parish to help provide for
poor people who were genuinely ill, disabled or too old to wor".
(n 1+41, a system of Aoverseers of the poor= in each parish was introduced. <owever, special institutions -
houses of correction - were set up to deal with the Asturdy= poor.
(n 1801, the :reat 'oor $aw Act brought together all previous measures to help the poor, and ordered
local councils to collect a poor rate to provide wor"houses and hospitals. This system lasted until 11/*
and a new 'oor $aw Act.
@rom about 18+0, the rate of population growth began to slow down - this helped reduce the volume of
The main type o! crime
The main types of crime tended to be petty theft, as they had been during the 5iddle Ages.
(n the period 1*+0 -19+0, courts did not distinguish between manslaughter !unintentional or accidental
"illing# and murder !deliberate "illing#.
;verall, the homicide rate appears to have gone down during this period, although there was a high level
of violence in the home against women and children.
;rganised gangs of young pic"poc"ets or burglars also began to appear, and the number of house-
brea"ing offences increased.
;rganised crime received much attention. This was particularly true of $ondon, which grew from about
+0 000 in 1+00 to about 9+0 000 in 19+0.
Three types of crime mainly committed by ordinary people caused particular concernB these were the
growth in robbery on the streets and on the roads& smuggling& and poaching.
$arge numbers of people were often involved, so it was difficult for the authorities to stamp them out.
This is also an e.ample of how government=s can Acreate= crime by introducing new, or altering e.isting,
Why &i& the hi*hwayman emer*e#
Robbery on the streets by footpads, in large towns and cities, had been a problem for a long time.
<ighway robberies became much more common in the si.teenth and seventeenth centuries as more
people travelled.
<ighwaymen had a good chance of getting away with their crimes. (n the early eighteenth century, more
roads were built and travel increased because of a greater use of coaches.
Why wa m(**lin* common#
(n the si.teenth century, tobacco was the main item smuggled& in the eighteenth century, the main item
smuggled was tea.
;ther goods smuggled were foreign wines, spirits !especially brandy#, sil" and lace - usually ta.ed by the
government to try to protect ,ritish agriculture and industry from foreign competition.
?muggling was carried out mostly at night, off the coast of counties such as -ornwall and 7evon
5any smugglers operated in violent gangs, often numbering +0 or even 100. They were )uite prepared to
torture or even "ill customs officials.
The <aw"hurst gang in Cent was especially notorious. ?muggling began to decline in the nineteenth
century as governments reduced import duties.
Poachin* an& other r(ral crime
The most common crime in rural areas was poaching.
Wealthy landowners and the aristocracy saw poaching as an attac" on their property rights
The first law against poaching was passed in 1/14, and many more followed over the centuries. The most
important one was the :ame Act of 1891.
5any gangs of poachers also operated - for profit, li"e the smugglers. And, as with smuggling, gangs
often used violence.
(n 1909 a law made buying, selling or possessing game an offence, as well as hunting or trapping it. ,ut
the fines and even prison sentences did not stop people poaching.
The p(nihment o! <common5 criminal
The authorities saw highwaymen as the most serious criminal threat - hence large rewards were offered
for information, and anyone found guilty was almost always hanged.
?muggling, too, was usually dealt with harshly and, if an official had been "illed, hanging was inevitable.
(n 19/8, the death penalty was brought in for wounding a -ustoms ;fficer, or possessing particularly
large amounts of smuggled goods.
(n 193/, the ,lac" Act made the poaching of deer, rabbits and hares capital
P(nihment an& the <6loo&y Co&e5
The A,loody -ode= was the name later given to the nglish legal system which operated from the late
seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century.
(t was called A,loody= because of the huge number of crimes for which the death penalty could be
(n 1811, the figure was about +0 - by 1130, this had risen to over 300. (n 193/, the Waltham ,lac" Act
alone had added +0 new capital offences.
Any theft of an item worth more than one shilling !later increased to five shillings# also remained as a
capital offence. -onse)uently, hundreds of people were hanged every year during this period.
The authorities believed the public hangings would act as a deterrent and frighten people into obeying the
2uries were often reluctant to convict, while some judges deliberately valued the worth of the goods
stolen under the official hanging level.
Other p(nihment
;ther punishments included whipping, branding, mutilation, the pillory and the stoc"s, which had
survived from the 5iddle Ages.
This period also saw two new punishmentsB imprisonment and transportation.
<ouses of corrections were for unmarried mothers, runaway apprentices and habitual criminals, as well
as for vagrants.
Transportation began after the mid-seventeenth century, when criminals were increasingly sent to the
nglish colonies in Dorth America.
(n 1911, a Transportation Act was passed and, in the ne.t +0 years, over 90E of all those convicted at the
;ld ,ailey -ourt in $ondon were transported.
Traitor an& heretic= Why wa treaon een a o erio(#
Rulers saw treason as a threat to their own power, and also as a crime against :od - the A7ivine Right of
At the same time, most wealthy people feared any rebellion would wea"en their own position and their
property rights by leading to unrest and even civil war.
(n fact, the period 1*+0 -19+0 saw a large number of rebellions and other acts of treason.
(n addition to a full-blown rebellion, the authorities often had to deal with riots and protests against low
wages or high prices.
P(nihment !or treaon
-ases of treason were usually decided in the -ourt of ?tar -hamber.
There were also the special courts of the -ouncil of the Dorth and the -ouncil of the Welsh 5arches.
%pper class people were usually beheaded with an a.e or sword, especially if they were in any way
related to the royal family.
;rdinary people !commoners# were usually sentenced to a much more gruesome - and painful - method
of e.ecution "nown as hanging, drawing and )uartering.
Herey (n&er the T(&or
<eresy was a much bigger problem in the si.teenth century as the -hristian religion split into -atholic
and 'rotestant.
@rom the reign of <enry 6((( to that of 2ames (, the religion of the reigning monarch in ngland changed
four times..
The reign of 5ary (, 1++/-+1, is often seen as the worst e.ample of religious persecution - and she was
"nown as A,loody 5ary=. (n all, less than /00 were e.ecuted for heresy.
<er sister, li>abeth, had over 3+0 -atholics e.ecuted after she decided to ma"e ngland 'rotestant again
when she became )ueen in 1++1.
Herey an& reli*io( perec(tion (n&er the St(art
Religion continued to be a problem under the ?tuarts. 2ames (=s recusancy laws against the -atholics led
to the :unpowder 'lot of 180+.
-harles ( also faced problems as his wife was -atholic, and his religious beliefs !<igh Anglican# led
many 'rotestants, in and out of parliament, to thin" he was trying to return ngland to -atholicism.
After the Toleration Act of 1814, religious tensions tended to die down again.
4ett5 Re%ellion, /,0>
Why &i& the re%ellion ta'e place
(n 1+*9, <enry 6((( died, and was succeeded by his son, dward 6(& as dward was still a child, power
was e.ercised by his uncle, the 7u"e of ?omerset.
The loss of common lands through enclosure, and rising food prices and rents caused growing
5atters were made worse by the fact that ngland was involved in costly wars with @rance and ?cotland,
and by a bad harvest in 1+*1. ?ome people began to pull down the fences put up by rich landowners.
,y the summer of 1+*4, almost half the population of ngland was in revolt or on the verge of it, and
riots and disturbances had become widespread.
The Re%ellion
(n Dorfol", where 8E of the population owned 80E of the land, there were large areas of common land.
nclosure deprived small-scale farmers of valuable gra>ing rights, and also led to unemployment.
Dorfol" was one of the wealthiest counties in ngland at this time. There were many relatively
prosperous farmers and merchants who were not prepared to be completely downtrodden by their social
(n Wymondham the local people were also unhappy that the new prayer boo", only recently introduced,
contained no mention of ,ec"et, to whom their parish church was dedicated.
The people began to pull down the fences of Robert Cett, who had also recently enclosed part of the
common land.
After listening to the people, he helped them pull down his fences, and then persuaded them to return to
pull down other fences.
This protest had now grown into a small-scale riot. ;n 4 2uly, Cett put himself at the head of several
thousand protestors who marched to Dorwich to present their grievances to the crown officials based in
the city.
They set up camp outside Dorwich, and, as news of the rising spread, more people joined in the protests
and five more rebel camps were established in other parts of Dorfol" and ?uffol".
The re%el5 or*aniation
Cett and his rebels made a great effort to point out that they were not rising against dward or ?omerset.
They were objecting to the way in which larger landowners were gra>ing their growing numbers of sheep
and cattle on common land.
Cett and the rebels refused an order to disperse and, on 11 2uly, the rebels too" several gentlemen
prisoner and, on 13 2uly, set up camp on 5ousehold <eath.
The protest now turned into a much more serious revolt, and more and more people floc"ed to join the
various rebel camps.
They set up their own courts, conducted services according to the 'rotestant religion, and swore their
loyalty to dward 6(.
The camp at 5ousehold then began to organise itself into a serious rival to the authorities in Dorwich -
leaders were elected to ensure that things ran smoothly and that acts of violence did not brea" out.
They built their own form of parliament. ,y then, the camp at 5ousehold had grown to almost 30 000 -
much larger than the forces available to the city of Dorwich.
The re%el5 &eman&
Cett and his rebels then drew up a list of 34 grievances. 5ost of their grievances were against rising
rents, enclosures of common land and the eviction of tenants.
;n 31 2uly, a Royal <erald arrived from $ondon ordering them to disperse, and promising a full pardon
if they did so.
They decided to continue with their protest, as they believed the "ing would then agree to solve their
problems. When the city authorities threatened their supplies, the rebels attac"ed and captured Dorwich
on 31- 33 2uly.
De!eat an& p(nihment
The attac" on Dorwich alarmed the government, and a royal army finally arrived outside Dorwich on /1
After several s"irmishes, the city fell to the proper authorities.
Attempts to spread the rebellion elsewhere in Dorfol" failed. The government decided to send a much
larger army against the rebels in ast Anglia. A large mercenary army !mostly :erman# about 13 000
strong, headed by the arl of Warwic", was sent to Dorfol".
Warwic" immediately began to attac" the city and, by the end of the following day, had captured it.
The battle too" place on 39 August and soon ended with the defeat of the rebels, even though Warwic"
had "ept half of his forces in Dorwich. ;ver /000 were "illed in the battle, of whom most were rebels.
The main leaders were hanged on the city gallows the following day.
Robert Cett, and some other leaders, had avoided capture after the battle, but were eventually rounded up.
,oth were found guilty of treason and were sentenced to death in $ondon, by the traditional method of
being hung, drawn and )uartered.
(n the end, however - perhaps to warn the locals - they were ta"en bac" to Dorfol". ;n 9 7ecember 1+*4,
William Cett was hung from the steeple of Wymondham Abbey, while Robert Cett was hanged from the
walls of Dorwich -astle.
"ocal law en!orcement
%nder the Tudors, about 10E of crimes were various forms of theft, with most of the rest being crimes
against the person.
<ue and cry was still the main method of catching criminals& there was no professional police force, and
only unpaid part-time constables.
At times of protest or riot, the army was sent in by the government - the army was also used on occasions
to try to stamp out surges in offences li"e smuggling.
The most serious crimes and offences were still dealt with twice a year by royal judges in the -ounty
7uring the si.teenth and seventeenth centuries, 2. '.s played an increasingly important role in local law
2. 's also became responsible for supervising the growing number of laws dealing with wages, prices, and
road and bridge repairs. They also had to supervise and enforce the vagrancy and poor laws.
(n general, the punishments given by 2. 's were mainly fines, whipping or a spell in the pillory or stoc"s.
<owever, in the Guarter ?essions, they could impose the death penalty.
The e)uivalent of 2. 's in the towns were the aldermen and the mayor.
They could sentence people to the pillory or the stoc"s, or to a whipping. (nstead of constables, towns
relied on a watchman or a bellman. Their patrols were supposed to deter criminals from committing
Manor co(rt an& ch(rch co(rt
The old manor and church courts also dealt with some cases of minor crime.
The church courts usually dealt with people who had been drun" and disorderly, particularly
argumentative, or had bro"en some traditional customs about se.ual behaviour.
Women, witch1h(nt an& the law
Women continued to suffer from une)ual treatment in many respects during the period 1*+0 - 19+0.
(n the period 1*+0 - 19+0 there was the great clash between the -atholic and 'rotestant -hurches, which
brought religion to the fore.
Tensions were also heightened by the -ivil War which bro"e out in 18*3.
;nce these religious and political conflicts had died down, the witchcraft cra>e subsided almost as
)uic"ly as it had arisen.
Why &i& witchcra!t cae %ecome o m(ch more common#
,oth -atholic and 'rotestant rulers and church leaders called for action against suspected witches.
The economic problems of this period caused several periods of poverty for many people, and the gap
between rich and poor tended to widen during this period.
5any turned to magic and charms as a way of trying to improve their luc"& many blamed bad luc" on evil
spirits and the spells of witches.
The role o! the tate
@rom medieval times to the si.teenth century, witchcraft was rarely prosecuted - only about 1+ women
were e.ecuted for witchcraft in this period.
<owever, during the period 1+/0 - 18+0, there were many more trials - especially in the 1+80s and the
(n 1+*3, <enry 6((( passed an act which made witchcraft a capital offence& under 5ary (, an act in 1+8/
set punishments for minor and major witchcraft.
(n 180*, a law under 2ames ( consolidated all witchcraft laws. $i"e the Tudors, he also saw the secrecy
surrounding witchcraft as allowing opportunities for traitors to get together.
Women an& witchcra!t
;ver 40E of those accused of witchcraft during the period 1*+0 - 19+0 were women - usually old women
who lived on their own !they would be more li"ely to "now about the old religion#.
The 'uritans in particular tended to see women as temptresses, and more li"ely to be persuaded to do the
7evil=s wor".
;nce a woman had been accused of witchcraft, the authorities would loo" for Aevidence=.
At certain times during this period, whole communities seemed gripped by mass hysteria.
This was especially true of ast Anglia, where 5atthew <op"ins helped create a great panic over
witches. <op"ins became "nown as AThe Witch-finder :eneral=.
At the same time, the pace of economic and social change began to slow down, and the hysteria subsided.
(n the period 1+8/ - 1900, about /000 women in ngland were officially tried for witchcraft& of these,
about *00 were hanged, while many more died in prison.
Why &i& witchcra!t trial &ecline a!ter the e$enteenth cent(ry#
(n ngland, witchcraft continued to be a crime into the eighteenth centuryB the last official trial was in
1913, but the last e.ecution for this offence was in 1813.
(n 19/8, all laws concerning witchcraft were abolished, mainly as the result of changing attitudes which
were associated with the nlightenment.
Women an& the common law
Women were not supposed to trade or own property& on marriage, all they possessed became the legal
property of their husbands.
They couldn=t divorce and, if their husbands divorced them, they had no legal right to custody of the
Women were also e.cluded from professions such as medicine, parliament and the church, and were not
allowed to go to university.
Women who murdered their husbands were burned rather than hanged, as this was seen as petty treason
against their lord.
The laws on inheritance were altered in the seventeenth century, to allow all heirs - including women - to
receive an income from the estate of a dead husband or father.
Women an& crime
According to the records, women made up about 1+- 30E of all those accused of crimes during this
period - this compares to a current figure of about 10E.
5ost female crime seems to have been petty theft on a small scale, such as pic"-poc"eting and
Women were often easier targets for theft, robbery and murder.
Women also found it difficult to get justice, as all the legal officials were men.
INDUSTRIA" 6RITAIN, /;,- 1 />--
In&(trialiation an& crime
Crime an& tatitic
According to local crime statistics !statistics were not collected nationally until 110+# crime increased
gradually from 19+0 to about 111+ and the end of the Dapoleonic Wars, then rose dramatically from then
until about 11*0, when there was gradual decline.
Dew laws also automatically increased crime statistics as, before these laws, such behaviour hadn=t been
(ndustrialisation also brought new crimes - such as stealing water from the standpipes placed in some
streets in the industrial towns.
Also, crime was increasingly reported and recorded, whereas in the past many petty criminals were
simply given a beating.
-rime and class
(nvestors fre)uently lost their money to embe>>lers and croo"ed business people.
The great increase in wealth also increased the opportunities for bribery and corruption amongst those in
the upper ran"s of society
Ca(e o! crime 1 chan*in* $iew
Wa there a lin' %etween po$erty an& crime#
'overty in the period 19+0 -1400 was generally widespread, but increased greatly during times of
economic and trade difficulties, "nown as depressions or recessions.
;verall, statistics of recorded crime in the first half of the nineteenth century do show large increases at
times when poverty and distress were at their highest levels, and people convicted of theft fre)uently
claimed poverty as the reason for their crime.
According to statistics, there would appear to have been increases in crime during times of economic
distress and poverty& particularly affected at such times were women and married men.
Chan*in* attit(&e
-ontemporaries in (ndustrial ,ritain were more ready to blame alcohol as the cause of the increase in
;thers argued in favour of a vicious circle, in which people turned to crime in order to pay for alcohol.
'ublic houses were also seen as places where criminals met, and were able to recruit new members to the
Acriminal classes=.
?amily li!e
?ome contemporaries and later historians saw rapid industrialisation and urbanisation as destroying the
closeness of family life, and so ma"ing crime more li"ely and easier to commit.
The long hours of factory wor", fre)uently involving father and mother, and older children, meant young
children were often unsupervised.
;ut on the streets all day !and especially night when parents spent evenings in the many pubs#, it was
easy for many to drift into crime.
The <criminal cla5
The increase in crime led many of the middle classes to believe the industrial towns were the home of a
Acriminal class=.
The general belief was that most of the poorer classes were potential criminals. @ears of such a criminal
underclass were heightened by evidence that criminals lac"ed religious "nowledge and values, and had
)uite different moral standards.
?ome contemporary Ae.perts= went so far as to claim there was a definite Acriminal type=, which could be
identified by certain physical characteristics, such as s"ull-shape, brain weight, stoc"y build and
closeness of eyes.
These were the areas of poorest housing, with narrow streets and alleyways, with interconnected cellars
and lodging houses - these Aroo"eries= provided ideal hideaways.
5iddle-class writers were particularly concerned about the number of young people apparently living a
life of crime in these roo"eries.
The police, though, found the concentration of criminals in such small areas actually made their job of
law enforcement easier.
Pic'poc'et, <*arrotter5 an& m(r&erer
7uring this period, around 9+E of all recorded crime were various forms of petty theft - as it had been in
previous periods. 6iolent crimes in general only made up about 10E of recorded crimes, with murder
being relatively rare.
The crime of pic"ing poc"ets had been in e.istence long before 19+0. Roo"eries were often the home of
organised gangs of pic"poc"ets.
5ainly, they stole purses and poc"et hand"erchiefs - especially the latter, as they were easy to steal.
The garrotting and robbery of <ugh 'il"ington, 5.', in 1183, was given wide coverage in the press.
The press reports created a Amoral panic= about what was an unusual and minority form of crime.
Fet the number of garrottings seems to have relatively small. The gradual introduction of gas street-
lighting made such street robberies more difficult.
With the development of national newspapers, local murders were reported all over the country. As a
result, people in the nineteenth century began to thin" murder was on the increase.
Also, improvements in crime detection and policing meant more murderers were caught and brought to
trial - and the newspapers reported these trials in great detail.
Fet, despite these fears, the level of murders actually went slowly down. The same was true in general of
other violent street crimes.
A!ter a%o(t /9,-, crime rate 1 an& the *reat !ear a%o(t crime 1 %e*an to &ecline7
Rioter an& proteter
As long as riots did not threaten the government, governments in the second half of the eighteenth
century often treated participants )uite leniently. There were real causes of economic distress and
;ne problem was that still only the wealthiest people !as in the past# had the right to vote and so ma"e
The only way ordinary people could hope to change things was by trying to persuade the ruling classes to
change things for them.
They could either do this peacefully - via meetings, petitions, letters, etc - or violently, with attac"s on
property or people, arson or riots.
,ut stri"es - and even trade unions - were illegal for much of this period, hence opportunities for peaceful
protest were limited.
+o$ernment repreion
'eaceful protests and demonstrations by the $ondon -orresponding ?ociety in the mid-1940s led to the
passing of several acts - the Treasonable 'ractices Act& the ?editious 5eetings Act& and, in 1944 - 1100,
the -orresponding Act and the -ombination Acts.
(n 1114, following protests and riots in 1118 and 1119, the ?i. Acts gave magistrates wide powers,
including to search houses, ban meetings and demonstrations, and to stop trial by jury.
Protet mo$ement an& campai*n
The $uddites - this was essentially a protest against the new technology which was being introduced into
the te.tile industry in the 5idlands, and the Dorth of ngland.
The ?wing Riots - these too" place in southern and eastern ngland during 11/0-/3..
The Rebecca Riots - these too" place in Wales in the years 11/4-*/.
The 'eterloo 5assacre, 1114 began as a peaceful protest, by 1114 - just after the end of the wars against
revolutionary and Dapoleonic @rance - the ruling and owning classes had a great fear of revolution.
(n 1119, the government had suspended the <abeas -orpus Act, and then passed the :agging Acts which
gave e.tra powers to local magistrates.
As a protest against the harsh acts and government suppression, a series of meetings was planned for
1114 in $eeds, ,irmingham, 5anchester and $ondon.
The government then passed the ?i. Acts in 1114.
The -hartistsB many ordinary people and radical reformers began to turn away from political protest, and
instead began to concentrate on building trade unions.
7uring 11/1-3, ,ritain seemed on the verge of revolution as middle and wor"ing class people joined
together to e.tend the franchise !right to vote#.
The :reat Reform Act of 11/3 still left 43E of all adult males !and all women# without the vote.
A group of reformers formed the -hartist 5ovement - so-called because they drew up a 'eople=s -harter.
The -hartists are important as they were the first genuine wor"ing-class movement in ,ritain - and, by
1411, all e.cept one of their demands !for yearly elections# had been met.
The Tolp(&&le Martyr
?ince 113*, it had been legal to form or join a trade union as, in that year, the -ombination Acts had been
5any employers were against them as they feared they would stop them running their farms or factories
as they saw fit.
(n 11//, of the :rand Dational -onsolidated Trades %nion !:D-T%#.
mployers tried to force their employees to sign AThe 7ocument= - a form by which they promised they
were not members of the :D-T%.
About *0 farm labourers in the small village of Tolpuddle in 7orset met in secret to join the :D-T%, and
decided to swear an oath to "eep their union secret.
According to the 5utiny Act of 1949, it was illegal to swear oaths.
@armers found out about the union, and decided to brea" it. The magistrates ordered the arrest of those
(n 5arch 11/*, they were all sentenced to seven years= transportation to Australia, and became "nown as
the ATolpuddle 5artyrs=.
Trade unionists and others organised a massive protest campaign against their conviction and sentences.
The government finally overturned their convictions in 11/8 and allowed them to return home.
The "on&on Doc' Stri'e, /99>
$arge sections of the wor"ing class - especially the uns"illed and semi-s"illed - still suffered from low
wages and periodic unemployment, even in the 1110s, when times were generally good.
The $ondon doc"ers who were amongst the lowest paid wor"ers in the country.
They were inspired by the success of two earlier stri"es by uns"illed wor"ers - the 5atchgirls= ?tri"e in
1111, and the :aswor"ers= ?tri"e in 1114, the doc"ers decided to go on stri"e.
They wanted three things, an increase in pay from +d. to 8d. an hour !the A7oc"ers= Tanner=#, a
guaranteed minimum of four hours wor" a day and overtime to be paid at 1d. an hour.
The stri"e lasted five wee"s and the victory gave a big boost to the campaign to unionise the uns"illed,
and what became "nown as the ADew %nionism=.
"aw en!orcement an& the <6loo&y Co&e5
7uring the period 1*+0 -19+0, the A,loody -ode= had meant you could be hanged for over 300 different
offences, ranging from murder to robbery, burglary and pic"poc"etting.
;ver 40E of those hanged were under 31 - even children as young as 10 were hanged. - although before
19+0, only about *0E of those condemned to death were actually hanged.
,ut juries became increasingly reluctant to impose the death penalty for some of the petty crimes.
The percentage of those found guilty of a capital offence dropped to about 10E in the early nineteenth
century - those who were not e.ecuted were usually transported.
(t was clear to some reformers at least that public hangings were not having the intended effect of
'arliament began to reduce the number of hanging offences, and instead to increase the number of law
enforcement officers.
7etection rather than public e.ecution became the deterrent.
Chan*in* attit(&e
(n the 1130s, ?ir ?amuel Romilly argued that the ,loody -ode was too harsh.
2eremy ,entham, pointed out that the present system was inefficient
(n all, 110 death penalty offences were abolished, and judges were allowed to decide on whether or not to
apply the death sentence for most of the others.
,y 11/9, hanging was normally only used for murder or treason - after the 1180s, it was only used for
these offences.
(n the first half of the eighteenth century, laws against poaching !such as the Waltham ,lac" Act of 193/#
were harsh, but had generally not been very strictly enforced.
,ut this altered after 19+0 when many poachers began to use guns.
An Act of 1990 allowed poachers to be sent to prison for si. months& in 110/, another act said those who
carried guns and resisted arrest could be hanged.
(n 1118, poachers could be transported to Australia for 1* years.
,etween 19+0 and 1130, more poachers were hanged than before 19+0.
The &eath penalty
(n 19+3, the 5urder Act instructed judges to include dissection after death as part of the punishment - this
was intended to ma"e hanging even more of a deterrent.
(n 1181, it was finally decided that public hanging should be ended, and be replaced by hanging behind
prison walls.
Alternati$e to han*in*
The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw an increase in the use of imprisonment in <ouses
of -orrection.
,y the early nineteenth century, imprisonment had become the most common form of punishment for
those found guilty of a criminal offence.
;lder punishments - such as whipping or branding - were gradually dropped in this period.
Transportation had in fact first been used in 18+* and had continued during the rest of the seventeenth
,efore 19+0, transportation had been used to send criminals who had been reprieved from a death
sentence to wor" on plantations in Dorth America and the West (ndies.
(n 1911, parliament had passed a law to ma"e transportation a more common punishment. ,y the late
1980s, it had reached a high level.
@rom 1919, however, an alternative destination was available - this was ,otany ,ay in Australia.
Transportation meant judges did not have to impose the death penalty for trivial offences.
,ut the families of transported convicts were often left without sufficient income.
Transportation was greatly reduced from the 11*0s, and finally stopped by 1190.
P(nihment !or minor o!!ence
@ines could often not be paid by poor people - so they usually ended up suffering other punishments such
as whipping, the stoc"s or the pillory.
@or the rich, however, fines were often a way of getting away with crime, including some of the more
serious ones - though murder and treason were e.cluded.
5utilation was sometimes added as an e.tra punishment, such as cutting off an ear, or slicing off the lips
or tongue.
Re!orm o! policin*
,efore the nineteenth century, law enforcement had continued to be based on the old system of local
This depended on 2ustices of the 'eace !2's#, appointed by the -rown from 1/81 onwards. These were
helped by part-time constables !from Dorman times# and watchmen !after the ?tatute of Winchester,
131+# - based on the old Anglo-?a.on system where everyone was supposed to serve as one for a year.
(n the late seventeenth century, -harles (( had passed some laws on their operation - since then, they had
often been "nown as A-harleys=.
The ?iel&in* an& the tart o! chan*e
(n 19*1, <enry too" on the paid post of $ondon=s main magistrate at ,ow ?treet. According to him, only
si. of his 10 constables were any good
<e also published the A-ovent :arden 2ournal= to help people bring prosecutions, by printing information
about crimes and criminals.
(n 19+*, ?ir 2ohn too" over and built on <enry=s wor". (n particular, ,ow ?treet soon had a growing
nucleus of efficient, trained and paid constables.
(n 198/, he advised dividing $ondon up into si. areas, each with a police station and its own paid patrols
on the ,ow ?treet Runner model.
(n 1943 $ondon was divided into seven police districts, with three magistrates and si. paid constables
(n 1993-/, he got the government to give him H*00 to publish A<ue and -ry= a news-sheet that contained
information about all crimes and convicted criminals, passed on by 2's and gaolers across the country.
"ater chan*e
(n 1941 the Thames River 'olice was set up.
,y 1100, there were 81 ,ow ?treet Runners and in 110+, +* men !"nown as ARobin Redbreasts= because
of their red waistcoats# were employed to patrol the main roads, armed with pistols, cutlasses and
,y 1134, $ondon=s population had grown to 1.+ million, yet there were only *+0 constables and *000
watchmen. 5ost areas were dependent on the army or the local yeomanry or militia - and on spies and
informers - to "eep the peace.
The Metropolitan Police Act, /9@>
Robert 'eel became <ome ?ecretary in 1133. The Act set up a 5etropolitan 'olice @orce of /300 to
cover an area e.tending from the centre of $ondon on a seven-mile radius.
There were 19 divisions, each with four inspectors and 1** constables. They soon came to be "nown as
A,obbies= or A'eelers=. They were unarmed e.cept for truncheons - this was supposed to ma"e them as
unli"e the army as possible.
These policemen were under the control of two -ommissioners based at ?cotland Fard, who had to report
directly to the <ome ?ecretary.
There was much opposition to this new force - in particular, this was due to the fear that an undemocratic
government could use such a force li"e another army, to prevent opposition and control the people.
How (cce!(l wa the /9@> Act#
At first, there were many problems - most of the early recruits were unsuitable and were soon sac"ed or
5any people - rich and poor ali"e - hated them. $ondon 2's hated the fact that the police were not under
their control.
5any people came to appreciate the fact that the responsibility for bringing prosecutions in the courts
was passed to the police.
The ret o! the co(ntry
'eel=s reforms only applied to $ondon - reforms elsewhere had to wait until the 11/0s.
The 5unicipal -orporations Act, 11/+, gave the borough councils the power to set up their own police
forces, under the control of a Watch -ommittee - but they were not forced to do so.
The 11/4 Rural -onstabulary !-ounty 'olice# Act allowed the +* counties the same powers as the
boroughs, to set up their own police forces, if they wished, under the control of local magistrates.
,y the 11+0s only /8 out of the +* counties had set up their own police forces.
(n rural areas, many objected to the cost, while 3+E of rural police were employed privately by rich
people just to protect their own property.
(n 11+8, the -ounty ,orough 'olice Act made it compulsory for all counties and boroughs to have a
police force. (n all, there were 3/4 separate police forces.
Three national (nspectors of 'olice were appointed to judge the efficiency of local police forces.
A 7etective 7epartment for the 5etropolitan police was set up in 11*3.
(n 1184, the Dational -riminal Record was set up. <owever, even the separate $ondon police areas "ept
their own records.
(n 1199, a -riminal (nvestigations 7epartment !-(7# was set up with 300 detectives - this was increased
to 100 in 111/.
(n 111/, the ?pecial !(rish# ,ranch was set up to deal with (rish Dationalist terrorists "nown as the
The re!orm o! prion
Aohn Howar&
(n 199/, he was appointed <igh ?heriff of ,edfordshire. <e was shoc"ed by the crowded and unsanitary
<e recommended more space, better food, paid gaolers !instead of the e.isting practice where prisoners
paid fees to the gaolers#, and the separation of prisoners according to type and gender.
Sir +eor*e Pa(l
(n 1910, he became <igh ?heriff of :loucestershire and was in total agreement with <oward=s findings
and recommendations.
<e was allowed to build a new gaol for :loucester by the 191+ :loucestershire Act.
This new prison had many improved features, including better cells and the separation of male and
female prisoners. @ood was improved, and prisoners were not "ept in irons.
These two prisons became the model for others. As the number of death sentences handed down by the
courts decreased, prisons increasingly became places of punishment.
7uring the late 1990s, the pressure on prison space increased and, from 1998, disused warships moored
in naval doc"yards were used. -onditions in these Ahul"s= were appalling, and large numbers of prisoners
died as a result.
EliBa%eth ?ry
(n 111/, she paid a visit to the women=s section of Dewgate 'rison, and was horrified by what she saw.
?he returned in 1118, and persuaded the women !and the authorities# to begin a school for the prison
children. (n 1119, a matron was appointed to run the women=s section.
The +aol Act, /9@8
(n 113/, 'eel got the :aols Act passed - this consolidated several earlier acts. (t dealt with 1/0 prisons in
all, in $ondon, the large towns and the counties.
(n 11/+, five (nspectors were appointed, but these only had limited powers.
,etween 11*3 and 1199, 40 new prisons were built, including 'entonville !11*3# which was to house +00
They had large cells and wash basins, toilets and hammoc"s - much of this was inspired by the ideas of
2oshua 2ebb, the ?urveyor-:eneral of 'risons.
The Separate Sytem an& the Silent Sytem
The ?eparate ?ystem was based on almost total solitary confinement. This had a dreadful effect on
prisoners - in its first eight years at 'entonville, 33 prisoners went mad, 38 had serious nervous
brea"downs and three committed suicide.
The ?ilent ?ystem was cheaper than the ?eparate ?ystem, and was the basis for the 'risons Act of 118+.
(t was still based on almost complete solitary confinement, but only for the first nine months.
The main parts of the ?ilent ?ystem were Ahard labour, hard fare and a hard board=.
This Act of 118+ closed 10 of the smaller prisons. This left 11/ prisons - but these were still under local
Dot until the 1199 'risons Act did all prisons come under the <ome ;ffice.
:o(n* people an& crime
-omplaints against the activities of Astreet boys= were common& such children were often the focus of
police patrols.
5any people in the nineteenth century believed that there were too many attractions of the wrong sort in
industrial cities.
The problem of children living on the streets was particularly notorious in $ondon, most of the other
large industrial towns had similar problems.
(n many cases, such children had little option but to turn to one form of crime or another.
After the 1190 ducation Act, which made education of children under 10 compulsory for the first time,
juvenile crime was reduced as so many children were now in schools, rather than out on the streets al the
How were yo(n* people p(nihe&#
(n the late eighteenth century, 40E of all criminals hanged were under 31 - and some were as young as
10, though first-time offenders were sometimes let off.
Foung people were also transported. (n the early nineteenth century, children were usually imprisoned for
some offences along with adults.
?ome children were also imprisoned on the hul"s !prison ships#.
'an"hurst 'rison was the first serious attempt, in 11/1, to provide a separate establishment for boys.
(nitially, the treatment of the boys was very strict and included leg irons and a restricted diet.
,y 1110, there were 8+00 children under 18 in adult prisons, of whom 400 were under 13.
Reformers such as 5ary -arpenter, began to thin" about how deprived andI or criminal bac"grounds
tended to produce criminal children.
(n 11+*, Reformatory ?chools were set up and, in 1144, children were no longer sent to prisons with
adults. (nstead, they went to special reformatory prisons called ,orstals - the first one was in the Cent
village of ,orstal.
Women an& the law
According to modern research, women had made up *+E of those ta"en to the ;ld ,ailey for alleged
offences in the seventeenth century.
This percentage dropped in the nineteenth century and, by the twentieth century, had fallen to 13E.
@rom 110/, the penalties for abortion were increased and, in 1181, the woman see"ing an abortion was
punished as a criminal, as well as the person carrying out the abortion.
;ne of the most harshly judged female Acrimes= was prostitution. 6ery few reformers were prepared to
campaign on behalf of such women. ;ne notable e.ception was 2osephine ,utler, who wor"ed hard to
get them fair treatment in prisons.
A ?elect -ommittee was set up which reported in 1113 that agents provided girls for H13 a head to
brothels in ,elgium, where they were "ept as virtual prisoners.
The journalist W. T. ?tead who in 111+ pointed out how rich men demanded, and e.ploited, an endless
succession of young girls - often brought into $ondon from rural areas such as Dorfol".
MODERN 6RITAIN7 />-- to the preent &ay
Po$erty, properity an& crime tatitic
@rom 1400 - in fact, from the late nineteenth century - to 141*, there was a general increase in prosperity
in ,ritain, though not necessarily for all sections of society
The late 1430s and the 14/0s were mar"ed by the :reat 7epression, with almost 3+E of adult wor"ers in
,ritain being unemployed.
After the ?econd World War, the Welfare ?tate was developed.
@rom the late 14+0s, the living standards of most people rose considerably, with almost full employment.
,ut high unemployment reappeared from the late 1490s, and by the mid-1440s, millions were still
5any of the new jobs created during and after this period were often low-paid and part-time. As a
conse)uence, wider gaps began to reappear between the poorest and the richest sections of society.
Crime an& tatitic
@rom the mid-nineteenth century to 1400, recorded crime had fallen by */E.
@rom 1400, statistics show this lower level of crime remained fairly static or even fell slightly.
7uring the 14/0s and the :reat 7epression there was a very slight rise again.
7uring the 7epression, many people were e.tremely poor, especially after benefits were means tested.
Fet, though there was a slight increase in crime during it, much of this was due to increased motoring
(n the hard-hit areas, there was no really significant increase in crime. This was mainly because those hit
by unemployment hardest were middle-aged semi-s"illed or s"illed wor"ers.
?tatistics suggest that as living standards improved during the 14+0s and 1480s, crime also dramatically
,y the 1440s, there were 30 times the number of reported crimes than there had been for the 14+0s.
As in the past, 40E of the crimes were crimes against property - though crimes against the person also
increased greatly.
5ost of those who committed crime were young men - 8+E of crimes were committed by males under
3+ and +0E by those under 30.
The <&ar' !i*(re5 o! crime
(n the twentieth century, crime victimisation studies have tried to establish true crime rates.
(n 1411, it was discovered that there were three times more thefts and twelve times more cases of
vandalism than were reported to the police.
This seems to suggest that the true crime rate is therefore much higher than the official statistics suggest.
Ha crime increae&#
people may be more prepared to report even minor thefts , in order to receive insurance payouts on stolen
it is easier now to report a crime.
people are now more prepared to report such crimes as rape, child abuse or wife-beating.
the police tend to record more crime than they used to in the past - computers and performance targets
have assisted this. (
some people don=t report crimes because they distrust the police, fear retaliation or thin" it isn=t worth
reporting petty theft or vandalism - or even rape or racial violence.
the police do not record everything which is reported to them.
a whole area of crime - white collar crime - committed by businessmen, employers and employees tends
to be under-reported.
?rom the!t to terrorim
(n addition to the types of theft common in previous periods, some newer ones - e.g. burglary and
shoplifting - have emerged or became more common.
Another Aold= crime which has also increased is smuggling - as transport has improved and travel
6iolence against people has also increased - both inside and outside the home.
<omicide !murder and manslaughter# continues to be crimes that fascinate many people. 5any acts of
homicide tend to occur while another crime - such as a ban" robbery - is being committed.
The number of murders in ,ritain has slowly increased since 1400& this was a trend which began before
hanging was abolished in 148+.
5ost murder victims are "illed by members of their own family, or by a friend or ac)uaintance - very few
fall victim to a madman or a serial "iller.
Another crime of violence which has increased is terrorism.
,efore 1400, violence was often the only way to persuade those who ruled to change the laws, as there
was little or no democracy or freedom for most people.
The groups who use terrorism include the (RA who believe ,ritish rule of Dorthern (reland should be
ended, and groups such as the Animal $iberation @ront, protesting against e.periments on animals.
New technolo*ie, new crime
The two most important changes are connected to the car and the computerB
The two main types of car crime are motoring offences - such as speeding, drun" driving, and licence and
insurance offences and theft - either of the car !for profit or joy-riding#, or of goods from the car.
The increasing use of computers has also led to a great variety of new crimes - several of which, though,
are simply modern versions of old types of crime.
The main types of computer crime are stealing computers, using computers to steal money from other
people=s ban" accounts, industrial or commercial espionage, sabotage and destroying or Ahiding=
(n 3001, the government set up the Dational <igh-Tech -rime ?)uad to enable the police to concentrate
more on such crimes.
Rioter an& proteter
7espite improving conditions and increased democracy, the twentieth century also saw mass public
disorder and protest, often against specific laws, policies or situations.
(n the 14/0s, though, there were many violent clashes resulting from political differences.
(n the period before 1410, several urban riots too" place -some were attac"s by racist groups against
recent immigrants, or between members of different religious communities.
(n the first decades after 1400, though, governments were still often prepared to consider the use of
troops, rather than just rely on the police to maintain public order.
'rotests in the twentieth century can be divided into three main typesB political, industrial and those
arising from general frustrations.
Protet in the perio& />--18>
The :eneral ?tri"e of 1438
The <unger !unemployment# 5archesB protests against high unemployment and the means testing of
unemployment benefits during the 7epression.
The @ascist and Anti-@ascist marchesB these were protests against ?ir ;swald 5osley=s ,ritish %nion of
@ascists !,%@#.
(n 14/8, the government passed the 'ublic ;rder Act.
Protet ince />0,
Anti-6ietnam War demonstrations in the 1480s
@ascism and anti-@ascism, 1480-40, these were connected with the re-emergence of fascism with the
Dational @ront !in the 1480s and 1490s# and then the ,ritish Dational 'arty !in the 1410s and 1440s#.
-D7 and anti-Duclear protests, 14+0 -1440B these were by the -ampaign for Duclear 7isarmament
ADew Age= protests of the 1410s and 1440sB most recently, political protest has moved on to campaigns
about animal rights, the environment, the building of new roads and airports and the effects of
globalisation and capitalism.
(ndustrial protests, the two most important protests have been a series of industrial disputes in the 1490s,
against the (ndustrial Relations Act of 1491, and the 5iners= ?tri"e of 141*-+.
Riots resulting from frustrationsB there were various inner-city riots in the 1490s and 1410s. 5ost -
though not all - of those involved were young blac" people protesting against what the minority ethnic
communities saw as police victimisation and racism.
The 'oll Ta. 'rotests, 1440-1443
Concientio( o%)ector
The ?irt Worl& War
7uring the @irst World War, conscientious objectors - sometimes referred to as Aconchies= or A-;s= - were
a group of protesters who aroused particular resentment and hostility.
At first, the army had relied on volunteers but, as the war dragged on and casualties rose, conscription
!compulsory call-up# was introduced in 1418.
5ilitary tribunals !special Acourts=# were set up to decide which people could be e.cused military service.
About 18,000 men refused to fight in the war for reasons of conscience. 5ost conscientious objectors
refused on religious grounds.
;f those who refused to ta"e part in the war, most agreed to do other non-combatant war wor".
About 1+00 refused to do anything to assist the war effort. These Aabsolutists= were sent to prison where
they received very harsh and often brutal treatment from the prison warders.
At the end of the war, all -;s were denied the right to vote for five years, and many found it impossible
to get jobs& some were beaten up when they returned home.
The Secon& Worl& War
There were many more -;s during the ?econd World War, mainly because when the full details of the
tremendous slaughter in the trenches was revealed, many people became pacifists after 1411.
About 34 000 did wor" in factories or on the land. ?ome -;s agreed to do non-combatant wor" in the
armed forces - very often acting as ambulance drivers or doing other medical wor".
5any -;s, though, were part of the 'eace 'ledge %nion which was opposed to war and which tried to
encourage people not to fight.
The +eneral Stri'e, />@C
The T:W%, D%R and 5@:, - the three main unions - had formed the Triple (ndustrial Alliance !T(A#.
This was an agreement to stri"e together and not settle until all three unions had been able to obtain
satisfactory agreements.
7uring the war, the 5@:, had come to li"e the temporary control of the mines which the government
had ta"en in order to ensure high production.
,ut, after the war, the government rejected the -ommissions recommendations - the private owners,
faced with increased competition from abroad and falling prices, immediately drew up plans to cut wages
and increase hours.
@urther wage cuts in 143+ produced a strong response from the T(A, so the government gave a nine
month subsidy to the private owners to prevent the wage cuts - this became "nown as ARed @riday=.
The government also began to prepare for a possible general stri"e when the subsidy would come to an
end in 5ay 1438
(n April, the employers made it clear that, once the subsidy came to an end, they would be reducing
wages by 10E and increasing the hours from seven to eight a day - with no e.tra pay.
The T%- leaders reluctantly called a :eneral ?tri"e in support of the miners for * 5ay 1438.
The stri"e was very successful, and public transport came to a complete stop in many areas. ,ut,
suddenly, after only nine days, the T%- called the stri"e off.
This left the miners on their own - finally, in Dovember 1438, they were forced bac" to wor" by hunger
and poverty.
5any who had participated were victimised and Ablac"listed= - despite the government=s promise that this
would not happen.
(n 1439, the government passed the Trades 7isputes Act which made all general and Asympathy= stri"es
The Poll Ta2 Protet, />>-1@
These began in the late 1410s and became increasingly widespread during the early 1440s, when the
government introduced the -ommunity -harge - or A'oll Ta.=, as it came to be called.
This was e.tremely unpopular because most people !apart from the very wealthy# had to pay much more
than they had paid with the previous system of council rates
(n ?cotland many local communities and housing schemes in ?cotland decided that a stronger resistance
would be needed.
(n :lasgow, the AAnti-'oll Ta. %nion= was set upB it was the first organisation to call for non-payment.
?everal leftwing political organisations, such as the 5ilitant Tendency, and A-ommunity Resistance
Against the 'oll Ta.= also supported the campaign of non-payment.
As the number of such groups spread, the ?cottish Dational 'arty and then the ?cottish T%- decided to
support a non-payment campaign.
<owever, the $abour 'arty leadership refused to support non-payment, and simply promised that a
$abour government would abolish the 'oll Ta..
,y ?eptember 1414, it was clear that at last 1+E of ?cots were not paying the ta..
5any large demonstrations were organised across ?cotland and, by April 1440, official figures for
?cotland showed that nearly 1 million people had not paid a penny of this new ta..
;rganisers in ?cotland also sent information and spea"ers to groups in ngland and Wales, where the
new ta. would begin in April 1440.
Registration for the new ta. began in ngland and Wales on 1 April 1414 - but by Dovember 1414, there
were over 1000 local Anti-'oll Ta. %nions south of the border.
As the number of local A'T%s grew, city and regional @ederations were set up to co-ordinate activities
and protests. (n ?eptember 1414, a national conference too" place to set up an All-,ritain @ederation to
organise a more national campaign.
The All-,ritain @ederation decided to organise a series of regional protest demonstrations to ta"e place
just before the 'oll Ta. was implemented in ngland and Wales.
This growing mass revolt culminated in a national demonstration called for /1 5arch in $ondon, which
was to end in a rally at Trafalgar ?)uare.
;nce the si>e became apparent, the organisers as"ed for the venue of the rally to be moved to the much
bigger <yde 'ar" !Trafalgar ?)uare only had capacity for 80,000#, but this was refused.
A small minority then tried to climb over, or pull down, the barricades at the end of 7owning ?treet&
soon, violent clashes between the police and a minority of the demonstrators began.
When mounted riot police baton-charged the crowd, bottles, roc"s and stic"s were thrown at the police.
About /000 demonstrators fought bac" and a major riot then bro"e out, which eventually spread to much
of the West nd.
The en& o! the Poll Ta2
The campaign continued to grow in strength& by 2uly 1440, there were 1* million non-payers.
A second national demonstration too" place in ;ctober 1440& again, there were violent clashes between
some demonstrators and the police.
ventually, many -onservative 'arty leaders and 5's became concerned about their growing
unpopularity. ;n 30 Dovember 1440, 5rs Thatcher was eventually forced to resign& a wee" later, she was
replaced by 2ohn 5ajor.
The new 'rime 5inister finally announced, on 3/ April 1441, it would be replaced by a new -ouncil Ta..
<owever, until then, the 'oll Ta. would continue as the new ta. would not begin until April 144/.
The protests continued - in 5arch 1441, a third national demonstration too" place.
,y then, over 11 million people were refusing to pay the poll ta..
The 'oll Ta. had been defeated not by traditional methods of protest, but by large numbers in local
communities supporting each other in a grassroots campaign of mass civil disobedience.
Chan*e in policin*
,etween 148* and 149*, it was decided to reduce the total number of forces by amalgamation. Today,
there are only *1 police forces.
This change was achieved by the 'olice Act of 148* and the $ocal :overnment Act of 149*.
At the same time, in 148*, some counties were loosely grouped together in Regional -rime ?)uads, to
improve co-operation between the police forces of adjoining counties.
The establishment of the Dational Reporting -entre, and the co-ordination which too" place during the
141*-+ miner=s stri"e, alarmed many into thin"ing that a national police force was not far away.
The police have set up several smaller, specialist groups to deal with particular problems. (n the main, it
has been the 5etropolitan 'olice @orce which has led the way.

1401 - ?cotland Fard @ingerprints ,ranch
1414 - the @lying ?)uad, set up by ?cotland Fard& now "nown as the -entral Robbery ?)uad.
14*8 - the @raud ?)uad
148+ - the ?pecial 'atrol :roup& it was replaced by the 5etropolitan 'atrol :roup in 1419.
1491 - Anti-Terrorist ! or ,omb# ?)uad
1493-/ - the Dational 7rugs (ntelligence %nit& the Dational (mmigration (ntelligence %nit& and the
5urder ?)uad.
?cotland Fard also set the pace in the use of new e)uipment.
the telegraph and then the telephone
finger-printing& further improved by the use of 7DA Aprinting=
the Dational -omputer Record
security cameras
radios in cars and police telephone bo.es& then personal radios for policemen on the beat
a more modern type of truncheon
-. ?. gas canisters, dart guns, rubber bullets, electrified water jets and water cannons
new riot gear !which ma"es the police loo" very similar to the army#
Police power
(n the main basic police powers in practice have not increased greatly over those which e.isted in 1400.
The 'olice and -riminal vidence Act of 141* did ma"e legal some of the methods which the police had
been using unofficially.
;ther people have been concerned by the new powers given to police by the 'ublic ;rder Act of 1418,
and there has been growing concern over the way some demonstrations are policed.
P(%lic attit(&e
?ome people have become increasingly concerned about the discovery of police corruption and abuses of
The 'olice -omplaints Authority was set up in 141+ to deal with complaints by the public against police
>7 Chan*in* attit(&e to p(nihment
(n the period 1400-+0, when crime was falling, attitudes towards criminals and their punishment began to
change. more people were given shorter sentences, or were put on probation or, from 141*, given longer
to pay fines.
As a result, the number of people in prison in ,ritain in the period 1400-/0 fell by almost a half - and
about 10E of these were serving short sentences or were first-time offenders.
<owever, from 14*+, the number of prisoners began to rise once more. This was especially true after the
late 1490s, when many people began to believe that ,ritain was e.periencing a crime wave.
Prion re!orm ince />--
?ince 1400, the main reforms have been
1403 - the treadmill and the cran" were abolished.
1409 - the 'robation ?ervice began.
141* - offenders were given time to pay a fine.
1433 - solitary confinement was abolished.
14/8 - the first Aopen= prison was set up in Wa"efield.
14*1 - flogging and hard labour were abolished
1483 - birching was abolished.
1489 - suspended sentences were introduced.
1493 - -ommunity ?ervice ;rders were introduced.
;nce, sentences of 10 years were rare& now, those of 1+, 30 or even more are less unusual for the more
serious crimes such as armed robbery or arson.
There has been an increase in the proportion of offenders sent to prison for certain crimes.
There has been a large increase in those remanded into custody while waiting for their trial - some people
spent as much as a year on remand.
5any people have also begun to argue that prison has become too Asoft=.
The introduction of private companies into the running of prisons was at least in part based on the
assumption that companies run for profit would be less li"ely to be influenced by liberal and reforming
The average number of prisoners in 1400 was nearly 11 000.
This fell to 11 000 in 143+, in large part as a result of the reforms brought in the period 1400 -1*.
(t has steadily risen since the ?econd World War - in 14+0, there were 30 000. There were over +0 000 by
1411 and 80 000 by 1449.
'risons then only had room for *0 000 prisoners. The %C now has almost the highest prison population
per 100 000 of the population in the whole of urope.
(n 1413, the -riminal 2ustice Act replaced ,orstals with Fouth -ustody.
'lans by the -onservative government to set up special A,oot= camps, where young offenders would be
given a Ashort, sharp shoc"= were )uietly abandoned when a report showed that after five years, there had
been no noticeable effect on reconviction rates.
The impact on prion
The continually increasing prison population has led to serious over-crowding,
There has also been an increase in the number of terrorists and se.-offenders in prison - ma"ing prisons
much more difficult to manage.
The result has been an increasing number of prison riots& some have been especially serious e.g. in 1414,
in Wandsworth, $ondon and in 1440 in ?trangeways, 5anchester.
(n 1449, the first new prison ship was placed in 'ortsmouth harbour - many saw this as a return to the
Ahul"s= system of the nineteenth century.
The authorities have also e.amined ways of reducing the prison population, some of which were
considered before 1400. These include parole and suspended sentences, introduced in 1489, -ommunity
?ervice, introduced in 1493, 7ay trainingI 'robation day centres, set up by the -riminal 2ustice Act, 1413
and electronic monitoring - tagging.
The &eath penalty an& the cae o! Dere' 6entley
-apital punishment - the death penalty - had been seen and used as the ultimate punishment and
,y the mid-1900s, some people began to )uestion its usefulness as a method of controlling crime and
The A,loody -ode= was gradually reformed and, by the late 11/0s, hanging had been abolished for all
offences e.cept murder and treason.
(n 1181 hanging in public was ended.
(n 1190, the hanging, drawing and )uartering of traitors was ended.
There were several unsuccessful attempts to abolish hanging completely during the second half of the
nineteenth century - in 11*1, 11*4, and again in 11+0.
The &eath penalty ince />--
(n 1401, the minimum age for e.ecution was raised to 18 and, in 14//, to 11.
(n 1433, an act abolished the death penalty for a mother "illing a baby under the age of one.
?erious crime did not greatly increase after 14+0 but the number of e.ecutions did. @rom 14*+-++, 1+1
people were hanged.
(n 14+9, the <omicide Act divided murders into two categories - capital and non-capital, and abolished
hanging for most murders.
<angings in ,ritain dropped to an average of four a year.
5's in 148+ voted in favour of the 5urder !Abolition of the 7eath 'enalty# Act.
Why wa the &eath penalty a%olihe&#
5any were particularly concerned that, if a mista"e was made !regarding evidence, for instance#, it was
impossible to put things right. 'articularly important were the cases of Timothy vans !hanged in 14+0#
and Ruth llis !hanged in 14++#.
,ut one of the most important cases leading to the abolition of the death penalty was that of 7ere"
,entley who was e.ecuted in 14+/ for a crime he did not commit.
<is family and supporters began a campaign to have the guilty verdict overturned by the courts.
This campaign lasted *8 years, and was led by his sister, (ris. (n 2uly 1441, $ord -hief 2ustice ,ingham
)uashed the guilty verdict.
?ome newspapers began to comment on how the whole system of reprieves by the <ome ?ecretary had
become a Alottery=.
?ome criminals were given prison sentences of 10 to 1+ years, while others who had committed the same
offence, were hanged.
.ecutions upset both staff and prisoners, especially those who formed the Adeath watch=, and often made
prisons more difficult to run for some time afterwards.
(n the 14+0s and 1480s, prison governors and officers were less li"ely to come into the profession from
the military, so there was less emphasis on the importance of harsh punishment and discipline, and more
on rehabilitation.
De$elopment ince />C>
5any people remain in favour of the restoration of death penalty. According to opinion polls, somewhere
between 90 -10E of the general public usually favours it.
Fet, despite over 1/ free votes in the <ouse of -ommons from 1484 onwards the vast majority of 5's
have continued to oppose any change to the 148+ Act.
,ritain is now one of 84 countries that have totally abolished the death penalty.
What has replaced the death penaltyJ
The punishment for murder since 148+ had been life imprisonment - with a minimum sentence specified
by the judge, and nearly always agreed by the <ome ?ecretary.
The most serious murders - e.g. of children, police or prison officers, or those committed by terrorists -
tend to have to serve at least 30 years, if not more.
There are over 3000 Alifers= - most will serve at least 10 to 30 years, but a few will never come out.
:o(n* people an& )($enile crime
-ertain crimes - whether against property or person - have become particularly associated with young
people, especially young males. ?uch types of juvenile crime include, joy-riding, shoplifting and
(n the 14+0s, there were the Teddy ,oys, or Teds& in the 1480s, the main groups were 5ods and Roc"ers&
in the late 1480s and early 1490s, were the ?"inheads.
@rom 14+9 onwards, football violence increased sharply& during the 1490s and 1410s, s"inheads and
others involved with racist and fascist groups were the main offenders.
Abuse of into.icating substances - whether by old or young - is not a new phenomenon.
Ca(e o! )($enile crime
,ecause of the increase in the rate of divorce and single-parent families& the problem of psychological,
physical or se.ual abuse by a small minority of parents& and greater geographic mobility.
The growing gap between rich and poor which emerged in the 1410s, and which continued during the
1440s, as being, at least in part, lin"ed to poverty and high unemployment.
5ost crime is committed in urban areas where poverty and unemployment tend to be highest. ?uch
deprived sections of the population have been described as forming a distinct and large underclass.
?ome e.perts blame not poverty as much as the frustration caused by living in the large bloc"s of flats
which often have no recreational facilities at all.
6ery often, such housing areas are in poc"ets of poverty, and many such children truant from school,
leading to poor, inade)uate education and hence a vicious circle of poverty, low )ualifications,
unemployment and crime of one sort or another.
T6 and videos are seen by many as having influenced impressionable young people to imitate what they
see on the screen.
P(nihment o! yo(n* o!!en&er
?ome people blame the punishment system for the increase in young offenders. They see it as failing to
ade)uately punish young people because they claim it is too slow and too soft on juvenile offenders.
(n the early nineteenth century, juveniles were punished as if they were adults - the punishments included
hanging, as well as imprisonment or transportation.
(n 1401, an Aage of criminal responsibility= !when the law says someone is responsible for their criminal
actions# was established for the first time.
(t was set at seven& this rose to eight in 14//, to ten in 148/ and to 1* in 1484. (n 14*1, 7etention -entres
were set up, and in 1484, juvenile courts, supervision and care orders were introduced.
(n 141/, 7etention -entres and a system of youth custody replaced ,orstals and prison for all those under
(n 1441, in an attempt to reduce juvenile crime, youth offending teams were set up. Among other things,
it tries to speed up court cases, and ma"es young offenders meet their victims and give some "ind of
The S(!!ra*ette
(n 140/, mmeline 'an"hurst, and her daughters -hristabel, ?ylvia and Adela, set up the Women=s ?ocial
and 'olitical %nion !W?'%#.
(ts members soon became "nown as the Asuffragettes=. The 'an"hursts argued that in order to get the vote,
women would need to adopt the same militant - and sometimes violent - methods which many men and
their organisations had used.
At first, the W?'% used a variety of methods, hec"ling members of the government at public meetings,
chaining themselves to the railings outside 7owning ?treet and government buildings, organising large
demonstrations and dropping thousands of leaflets from balloons.
The campaign was then stepped up to include, setting off fire alarms and smashing the windows of large
department stores
?uffragettes began to refuse to pay fines and, from 1404, several went on hunger stri"e in prison. When
prison authorities force-fed hunger-stri"ing suffragettes, there was a public outcry once the W?'%
publicised details of the methods used.
(n 1413, -hristabel 'an"hurst went to 'aris, from where she organised an even more violent campaign.
,y 141/, ?uffragette methods included arson attac"s on post bo.es, attac"s on famous paintings, digging
up or pouring acid on golf greens and bombs placed in empty buildings and even in railway stations.
At the 141/ 7erby, mily 7avison tried to stop the "ing=s horse as a protest, but was "noc"ed down and
later died.
(n 141/ the government decided to end forced feeding, and instead passed the -at and 5ouse Act.
?uffragette activity increased but, in 141*, was suspended because of the approach of war.
(n 1411, the Representation of the 'eople Act gave votes to women householders, or women married to
householders, over the age of /0.