Friday, April 10, 2009

Question from Christina - Gender differences in crime and punishment

Hi, I'm currently doing a school assignment on the Tudor-Stuart Law and Society/ Crime and Punishment in 7th form (age 17). I have came up with three questions to do my research on specifically during 1558~1667.

1. How were punishments for crime successful in maintaining social order in Tudor-Stuart England 1558~1667?

2. To what extent did men and women's criminal actions differ due to the different punishments in Tudor Stuart England 1558~1667?

3. How did the church have effect on the law and society in Tudor Stuart England 1558~1667?

I have already read materials on law courts and criminal trials and also watched documentarys, but I haven't found many specific cases during this time period and none based on differences in gender. The second question is a bit of a struggle to find information on.

Thank you so much for the help.


PhD Historian said...

Questions 1 and 2 have come up in the Q&A before. Perhaps you can search the website using the keyword "Crime" or "punishment" to find those original questions and their responses.

Question 3 has been touched on indirectly, especially in regard to questions of canon or church law. So you might try as well a keyword search using "canon."

Foose said...

Maybe you might want to modify your Question 2 to include considerations of rank. One of my favorite crime cases is the poisoning of Thomas Overbury in the early 17th century, murdered while imprisoned in the Tower during the 17th century. By poisoning -- including fabulous descriptions of repeated applications of "realgar," "powder of diamonds" and "great spiders." The instigator and chief suspect, the Countess of Essex -- and subsequently, possibly by nefarious means -- Countess of Somerset, was found guilty but her sentence was commuted to house arrest, during which she apparently made her husband's life miserable (although she committed her crime to marry him). Her confederate, Anne Turner, who procured the poison, and of a much humbler station of life, was hanged. Franklin, the apothecary who compounded the poison, and Elwes, the warder who was in charge of Overbury, were also hanged for complicity.

kb said...

Foose suggests a great case for you to look at. The Overbury case has gender, different stations or class, and sensationalist narrative that would make any tabloid rag gleeful.

It's very early in the century.....good suggestion foose.