Crime and Punishment
In the Middle Ages
Common forms of punishment:
- public shaming.
These laws were enforced by members of the community.
The Manorial Court held meetings several times during the year to solve all but the most serious crimes. It was a compulsory event for all members of the community and if one did not attend, a fine would be sent to them.
The King's Court heard the most serious crimes. The accused had to face the trial by ordeal to decide whether they were guilty or not.
Trial by Ordeal
Ordeal by Fire
The accused were to hold a red hot iron bar as they walked three of four paces. The hands were then bandaged for three or four days. On the final day the accused would come back and their bandage would be taken off. If the wound had started to heal, the accused would be innocent but if it hadn't started to heal, they would be guilty.
Ordeal by Water
The accused had all limbs tied together and if they the floated they were guilty and if they sunk they would be innocent.
Ordeal by Combat
Noblemen would fight the accused. Whoever won was in the right.