Common Crimes in Elizabethan England
Common Crimes in Elizabethan England included:
- Begging and unemployment: Anyone who was not employed by a master was considered illegal. Even traveling merchants, tinkers, palm readers and other self employed workers could be sentenced to whipping or some other form of physical torture. ("Crime and punishment in Elizabethan England")
- Witchcraft: A great movement began in Europe in the mid-1600's that encouraged witch hunting. Convicted witches could be banished, hanged or burned.
- Heresy: If someone did not agree or submit to the beliefs of the Church of England they faced severe sentences. To go against the new religion was an unforgivable crime. King Henry VIII changing the religion of England was extremely controversial. People were very religious back then and it bothered many people that England had broken away from the Catholic Church. However, going against this reformation was punishable by death. To admit that you disagreed with any of the Church's policies or doctrines meant death. Queen Elizabeth followed in her father's path. Though she was not as strict or brutal, she continued his policies and it remained a terrible crome to go against the Church.
- Thievery: It was illegal to steal another man's property.
- Murder: The killing of another man was a terrible violation of the law- the sentence for it varied, but it usually included terrible torture followed by a painful death.