Law and Order in the Medieval Period Assigment - Year 8

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SOSE Medieval Assignment

Focus Questions

  1. How has the medieval punishments influenced the modern punishments system?
  2. How has the modern criminal evolved from the medieval times?
  3. Why did they change from the medieval justice system to the modern justice system?
  4. Since the police force has been in place have crime rates dropped or increased?
  5. Why did Saxon invent the Saxon Laws?


Magnacarta – Document that King John had to sign that limited his power of king

Gallows – wooden device where people were hung

Treason – The act of betraying your country or your king

Trial by ordeal

Saxons Laws

Feudal System



Tithe- Tax given to the church which amounted to about 10% of what they grew or earned

Innocent until proven guilty

Part 1


  1. Explain how the feudal system worked?

In most of medieval Europe, society was depended on the "feudal" system, which was based on a grant of land which was returned with service for the army. The king would give out grants of land to his most important noblemen (barons and bishops). Every noble would have to promise loyalty to the king have his back when a war arose. They did this at a special service. They kneeled down and swore on the oath using these words "Sire, I become your man." Then the nobles divided the land among the lower lords, or knights who also had to become their vassals (servants). In the lowest spot in society sat the peasants who worked on the land. (Rees, 2006)

2.Outline the significance of the Catholic Church to medieval European Society?

The Catholic Church played a major part in society in the middle ages. Everyone in the village followed the Catholic Church. Peasants, noblemen and kings all followed the church and believing. They believed that hell, heaven and god all existed. They were all taught the beliefs from a very young age. The peasants would work on the land for free in return for land from the king following the feudal system. They would find it difficult to work on their own land as they spent most of the time at the church looking after the grounds. The church would make their money form tithes (10% of the money earnt in a year would go to the church). The church was also court. Where trial by ordeal took place. This meant that if a noble accused a citizen of a crime they would automatically by guilty and would have to face a severe punishment. (Site, 2000)

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  1. What is trial by ordeal? Give and example

Trial by Ordeal was a court system started by Charlemagne the king of the Frankish Empire. He agreed that the court system would become consistent. He believed that the court system was unfair and inconsistent. The system was very harsh and didn’t allow the criminal to plead his case. As soon as the accused was guilty the court case came to a conclusion.

Peasants Trial by Ordeal

If you were a peasant and you were accused of a crime. To prove your innocence you had to hold a ...

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