Cover image for Crime and punishment in the England of Shakespeare and Milton, 1570-1640
Crime and punishment in the England of Shakespeare and Milton, 1570-1640
Weatherford, John W., 1924-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, NC : McFarland & Co., [2001]

Physical Description:
216 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KD7882 .W43 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Crime has been present in all cultures and societies, since the beginning of time. This work focuses on the punishments common in England around the time of Shakespeare and Milton, presenting descriptions of more than fifty criminal cases. Information comes from narratives printed for the popular news media at the time of the event. Details of everyday life in England and facts about the English legal environment of the era are brought to light. Also revealed through the narratives are issues present in society today--i. e., the status of women, poverty, and corruption. Individual cases are discussed under chapters devoted to specific types of crimes.

Author Notes

John W. Weatherford has written journal articles on history, librarianship, and collective bargaining.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
I. Issues of Crime and the Timep. 9
II. Removing Obstacles to Wealthp. 16
Deadline (1595)p. 17
A Fresh Start (1591)p. 17
One Way Out (1598)p. 19
Jeopardies (1603-1621)p. 21
The Mediator (1605)p. 26
"Oblivion Was Their Motto" (1620)p. 29
Dangerous Real Estate (1624)p. 32
III. Murdering Children for Their Own Goodp. 39
Born Free (1605)p. 39
Save the Children (1616)p. 46
The Rescuing Spring (1621)p. 47
The Last Picnic (1637)p. 51
IV. Murdering to Resolve Trianglesp. 54
Parental Muddle (1591)p. 55
The Magnetism of a City Wife (1573)p. 57
The Endgame (1582-1604)p. 61
Horning the Parson (1609)p. 62
The Collector from Hell (1641)p. 67
A Note on Ratsbanep. 68
The Chattel Fights Back (1635)p. 70
Oatcakes for All (1604)p. 71
V. Robbery on Landp. 74
Home Fires Burning (1608)p. 74
The Maid in the Garden (1612)p. 78
The King's Chapel (1612)p. 79
Tom and Bess (1635)p. 79
Picaresque Charactersp. 82
Picaresques: You Know the Way (1609)p. 82
Picaresques: Ratsey (1605)p. 84
Picaresques: Courtney (1612)p. 88
VI. Robbery at Seap. 91
Pirates at Work (1608)p. 91
Captain Harrisp. 91
Captain Jenningsp. 94
Captain Longcastlep. 100
Captain Downesp. 101
Down to Wapping (1609)p. 103
VII. Fraud and Blackmailp. 106
Chancery (1616)p. 106
Worldly Possessions (1599)p. 107
Freed from the Iron Gate (1608)p. 109
Proud Rascal (1623)p. 112
VIII. From Sex to Disasterp. 115
The Wish List of Youth (1643)p. 115
The Mad Squire (1605)p. 116
Instead of Abortion (1614)p. 119
In the Warmth of the Kilns (1614)p. 121
"The Seed of a Varlet" (1631)p. 122
Downfall in Dublin (1640)p. 132
Vicar Is Showing Off Again (1641)p. 133
IX. Corruptionp. 135
The Handsome Duke (1592-1628)p. 135
Spirits of the August (1626)p. 136
Allegations of a Scot (1628)p. 139
Curing Doctor Lambe (1607-1628)p. 144
X. Shades and Witchesp. 152
The Witches of Northamptonshire (1612)p. 154
Whisked Out of Pinner (1592)p. 155
Mother Sutton's Dip (1613)p. 156
The Devil Wags His Tail (1621)p. 160
Lads Will Be Lads (1643)p. 163
XI. From Religion to Disasterp. 165
Catholics versus Protestantsp. 165
Doctrine at the Half Moon (1607)p. 165
A Happy Conversion (1618)p. 166
Newgate Protestants on Strike (1642)p. 167
Protestants versus Protestantsp. 168
How Windows Lie (1631)p. 168
Not Conforming (1634)p. 169
Schism on the Ladder (1609)p. 176
An Anabaptist Drunk (1643)p. 177
XII. Conclusionp. 178
Threadsp. 178
Justicep. 183
Coarseningp. 186
Evidencep. 187
Appendix A Shakespeare's Pursep. 191
Appendix B "Appeal" by Next of Kinp. 193
Notesp. 195
Works Citedp. 203
Indexp. 213