Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Question from Renee - Differences in punishments between upper and lower classes

Hi there, I am a year 13 student doing an assignment on "crime and punishment in early Tudor-Stuart England". I have 3 questions on this topic that i must answer, but I am having trouble finding information to answer one of my questions;

-Was their a distinguishable difference between the punishments endured by the upper class nobility to the lower class in Tudor-Stuart England?

If anyone has documentarys, photos, websites or books they could refer me too, it would be very appreciated.

Thanks heaps(:


Anonymous said...

The sentence for treason was hanging, drawing and quartering. Noblemen who were convicted of treason often had their sentences commuted to beheading.

This was a sign of mercy by the monarch.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a website or a book that you got that information from?

Anonymous said...

Eric Ives writes in 'The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn':

About the trial of Francis Weston, Henry Norris, William Brereton and Mark Smeaton, accused of adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn.

'The expected verdict came - guilty. And the judgement - drawing, hanging and quartering in all its horror.' p.340

Anne's brother, George was also tried for treason.

'Guilty'...and the Duke of Norfolk found himself again condemning one of his sister's children to death, the full butchery of the male sentence for treason.' p.342

'Royal mercy had excused the ghastly preliminaries to the beheading...' p.342

Nigel Jones in 'Tower: An Epic History of the Tower of London' writes:

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (son of Duke of Northumberland) found guilty of treason in January 1547.

'Henry rescinded the savage sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering at Tyburn, and substituted decapitation on Tower Hill.' p213

Leanda de Lisle writes in 'The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey':

'Northumberland...had begged Mary to grant him the privilege of a beheading (instead of the usual traitor's death of hanging, drawing and quartering)...' p 129

Eric Ives writes about John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland in 'Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery':

'He asked consideration that he might have the death of 'a nobleman and not the other' - simple beheading instead of the ghastliness of drawing, hanging, and quartering...' p 97.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! That is very helpful(:

Anonymous said...

You are welcome :-)

Mary R said...

Sometimes the punishment for the upper classes who committed even heinous crimes was no punishment at all! In "Henry VIII, The King and His Court" Alison Weir writes of Thomas Culpepper brutally raping the wife the wife of a park keeper "while three or four of his attendants held her down at his bidding; he then murdered one of the villagers who tried to arrest him. The King, not wishing to part with the young hothead's company, pardoned him."