Crime in England during 16601800

In this paper I aim to discuss crime in England from the period of 1660 to 1800 by first defining its meaning in relation to the laws in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I will then move forward with a discussion on the circumstances that led to the rise in crimes. In the end I will examine the different types of crimes that were most common in England during 1660-1800.Crime in England during 1660-1800 had different meaning as compared to its definition in the modern society. Sin was also included in the category of crime and the ecclesiastical courts were busy in punishing the immoral and ungodly acts such as sexual immorality, which in the modern world holds no value. Another category of crime called social crime included crimes that were defined by the parliamentary statute as illegal but were not considered morally wrong by the people who were involved in them. Such social crimes included poaching, smuggling, rioting and wrecking. In the seventeenth century with the rise of the property offenses the definition of crime was broadened and also included property offenses under its umbrella. With the turn of the century, life became more complicated and the definition of crime was once again revised, and fraud also became a part of it (Sharpe, 1995). Crime was clearly defined and was divided into two categories that determined the nature of punishment. The criminal law made a distinction between felony or capital punishment, which involved the theft of such items that were valued more than one shilling. Misdemeanor involved the theft of such items that were valued less than one shilling. There was no death sentence in the case of a misdemeanor. However the price inflation of the sixteenth century had raised the value of many stolen goods to more than one shilling. As a result of which many more thefts came under the category of felony (Cockburn, 1985).