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Flashcards in Anglo-Saxon Justice Deck (18)
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What were the most common crimes in Anglo-Saxon society?

Crimes against property and petty theft.


Name two policing methods used in Anglo-Saxon society.

Tithings and Hue and Cry.


Describe what a tithing was.

Groups of ten men responsible for each other's behaviour. If one broke the law the others had to bring him to court or pay a fine.


Describe the Hue and Cry.

If the alarm was raised, the village had to hunt for the criminal. If someone did not join in then the whole village had to pay a heavy fine.


Name the two types of trials in the Anglo-Saxon era.

Trial by local jury and Trial by Ordeal.


What was involved in Trial by Local Jury?

It was a jury of local men who knew the accused and the accuser. If there was no clear evidence the jury members decided guilt or innocence based on their knowledge of those concerned.


What was the attitude of Anglo-Saxon society towards crime prevention?

They mainly lived in small farming communities and knew their neighbours well so thought that their duty to look out for one and other and help enforce the law.


When was trial by ordeal used?

If a local jury couldn't agree then trial by ordeal was used in the hope God would decide for them as they were extremely religious.


Where did trial by ordeal take place?

They took place in or near a church with the priest present.


What are the four types of trial by ordeal?

Trial by...
Cold water
Hot water
Hot iron
Blessed bread


Describe trial by cold water.

This is usually taken by men. The accused is lowered into the water on the end of a rope. If the accused sank below the 'pure' water they were innocent because the holy water had accepted them. If they floated they had been rejected by the 'pure' water so were deemed guilty.


Describe trial by hot water.

Usually taken by men. The accused put his hand into boiling water to pick up an object. The hand was then bandaged and unwrapped three days later. If the wound cleanly healed without smouldering then the person was judged innocent.


Describe trial by hot iron.

Usually taken by women. The accused picked up a red hot weight and walked three paces with it. The hands are then bandaged and unwrapped three days later. If the wound cleanly healed without smouldering then the person was judged innocent.


Describe trial by blessed bread.

Sometimes known as trial by consummated bread.
It was taken by priests. A priest prayed that the accused would choke on bread if they lied . If the accused choked then they were guilty.


What Anglo-Saxon punishments were there?

Fines, capital and corporal punishments.


Describe what wergild is.

This is compensation paid to the victims of crime or there families. The level of fines were set by the kings laws: Killing a nobel was 300 shilling, a freeman 100 shillings and for killing a peasant the fine was much lower. This system was also used for injuries, for example the loss of an eye was worth 50 shillings.


When was execution used?

It was used for treason against the king or for betraying your Lord. The aim of it was to enforce the idea of loyalty.


What was mutilation?

This was when a body part was harmed, for example a hand cut off, an ear or people were blinded as a punishment for a crime.