Hi, my name’s Thomas, I’m a 17 year old boy, and this is my strange question. What would happen if a Medieval/Tudor era peasant or surf were to steal from a knight, a nobleman, or even the king, himself? (Btw, I need to know this for a history class assignment). Would the peasant/surf be punished, and if so, would the punishment be lenient or severe? Or depending on his circumstances/situation, and/or his backstory/excuse, on why he stole, would he be completely let off the hook and just been given “a slap on the wrist?”
Hmmm.., speaking from a first person narrative, if I were a knight, nobleman, or a king, for me it would’ve depended on exactly WHY the peasant stole from me, and/or maybe, what item was stolen, or how expensive, cheap, or valuable it was, (to me). For example, if you snuck into my castle and stole food from my dinner table from me, because you were starving, could barely get by, and were trying to feed yourself, your wife, and your child(ren), I would definitely be a lot less likely to sentence you to a harsh punishment, (or even one, at all) than if you were to steal something like, my wife’s jewelry, or my child’s favorite, special toy, or my knight’s armor, or my warhorse or horse-drawn carriage. But that’s just me, I don’t know, I just have a funny/different way of looking at things, I guess! But yes, 97% of the time, back then, if a peasant did steal from any of these upper class people, even if it was for “a good cause”, they would’ve always been severely punished. These punishments could have been getting whipped, having your limbs cut off, while you’re still conscious, or even hung, drawn, and quartered, or even all three! And that all would’ve been BEFORE they “finished you off.” But then again, it would depend on the noble/king, in question. Just as people today, some may have/would’ve been more benevolent and merciful, while others certainly not. I hope this helps you, Thomas.
I forgot to mention this, it’s a rather non-sequitur to the question you asked, but in 1671, when Colonel Thomas Blood stole King Charles II’s Crown Jewels, from his bedchamber, Charles didn’t punish him or sentence him to be punished in any way, shape, or form. Punishments for theft, in 17th century England were still as harsh and severe as they were in medieval/Tudor times, especially against a nobleman or a royal. Nobody (not even us historians) know exactly why the king pardoned Colonel Blood. Maybe it helped that he wasn’t a peasant, LOL! He wasn’t as rich, obviously, as the king, but based on his childhood, Thomas seemed to have come from a rather rich family (maybe our modern equivalent to upper-middle class). Also, it could’ve been just because the king thought he was so charming and funny that he just couldn’t bear the thought of having him tortured, or it could’ve even been for a more macabre reason. The king could’ve genuinely been fearing for his, his mistresses, and his palace’s safety, at the time, so he had no choice but to pardon Blood, or else he knew Blood might either come back for revenge, or be able to overpower him on the spot, get violent, and try to, like, stab him with a knife, or something!
Thank you very much for your helpful responses, sir, I really appreciate it. I love how you put that “lol” after the funny bits, too! Based on your answers, above, you really know your stuff and you’re funny at the same time. In fact, I wish you were my history teacher!
Thank you, for your kind words young man. That really means a lot to me, and you are most welcome.
Hey Howard, I realize this question has already been answered, but I really appreciate your sense of humor and the knowledge you possess about history.😂🔍. However, how on 🌎 would a peasant/surf be able to sneak into a castle, back then, is beyond me! Castles in these eras (typically) would’ve been extremely watched by guards, I’m pretty sure about almost 100% of the time, people who were invading the property would’ve been seen/detected immediately. However, it is really reasonable to suspect that someone could “break in” into those castles (and historically, incidents like this still did happen) by throwing stones at it, (from far away), and being able to break the windows, or yes, by some more “bold and daring” attempt, peasants/surfs could even try to disguise themselves as castle guards! But I think the former was definitely more likely!
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