Crime and disorder
in Crime, Law and Society in the Later Middle Ages
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This chapter concentrates on recorded instances of crime and disorder and so does much to confirm the reputation of the late medieval period for unparalleled violence and lawlessness. Descriptions of crime and disorder can afford a valuable perspective on reality and although the cases recorded are telescoped chronologically and provide only a brief snapshot, they do reveal something of the nature of criminal activity amongst different classes of society. The examples included in this chapter provide illustrations of all the serious crimes and also, in various contexts, the lesser offence of trespass. Inevitably many of the examples focus on high-profile crimes of violence amongst the upper strata of society.

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