Crime in Yorkshire 1611-1633

Land Introduction
Life in Yorkshire
The Weaving Industry

Yorkshire Crime 1611-1633

Many of the "Sessions" of various courts in the West Riding of Yorkshire have been published. Much of it is available on microfilm through FHL.

The following notes were taken from the "Session 1611-1633".

Of the numerous cases of larceny most were trifling: farm produce, animals, and clothing.

"Offences against Rights of Property", that is crimes connected to the Game Laws were relatively common. These crimes consisted of keeping unlicensed hunting dogs, "tracking hares in the snow", hunting with dogs over lands sown with crops, and breaking into and hunting in deer parks and warrens. Deer stealing, killing and chasing was a relatively common offence.

  • Punishment for one offence of deer stealing was three months in York Castle and a fine of 3 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence.
  • In 1639 the punishment for taking nine pheasants eggs was three months in "gaol" without bail unless 20 shillings per egg by paid to the poor of the parish.

Robbery was not a common offence. During the years covered there was only one case of arson and one case of rape.

Assaults on bailiff, constables, and other officials were relatively common as was assault in general.

"Barratry", the offence of stirring up lawsuits or quarrels was also relatively common.

Perhaps the most common offences were related to religion. Such offences included failure to attend church and to receive communion at Eater time. Most of the people indicted were Catholics.

Common nuisance offences included, non-repair of highways, obstruction of the highways,

Offences connected with trade included practicing a trade without having apprenticed, affixing false search marks to cloth, selling meat during Lent, selling ale without a licence, selling ale on the Sabbath .

Vagrancy was dealt with severely in a effort to contain sickness and plague.

It was an indictable offense for anyone to build a cottage for the support of a tenant unless it was attached to four acres of land.

Bastardry was punishable by both the man and woman being stripped to he waist and beaten in public. The father of the bastard was required to pay maintenance for the child.

My personal favorite offence was for being a "common scold". The punishment was a session in the dunking stool a see saw like device with a chair on one end from which the offender was plunged into cold water.

See also

Weaving in Yorkshire

Life in Yorkshire
John Stell, Yorkshire Counterfeiter

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