Glossary
 
Abjure To renounce on oath.
Arson

The act of willfully and maliciously setting fire to property.

Assize court A court of justice, sitting at intervals in each county of England and Wales to administer the civil and criminal law.
Beadle A parish officer similar to a constable.
Benefit of clergy

A system whereby the clergy could claim immunity in a civil court on a felony charge.

Chattels Property and possessions.
Counterfeiting

Made in imitation of that which is genuine; imitated, forged.

‘The dark figure’ The number of unreported crimes.
Exacted          Called upon to appear in court.
Eyre court Court of itinerant justices who traveled in circuit.
False presentment A mistake.
Familiar The devil’s less important demons who took the form of an animal.
Feudal Land given ultimately by the king, in exchange for services.
The ‘first finder’ The first person who found the body.
Guardian of the Peace An earlier name for a Justice of the Peace.
Headboroughs A deputy constable.
Heresy Holding a religious belief contrary to that of any religious system considered as orthodox.
Highwaymen

One who frequents the highway for the purpose of robbing passengers; esp. one who does this on horseback.

Hue and Cry Loud cry made by those pursuing a suspected wrongdoer.  
Hulks Disused warships used as prisons.
Hundred A district or area of a county.
Impotent poor People too old, disabled or sick to work.
JP Justice of the Peace.
Jury

A body of people sworn to render a ‘verdict’ based on questions officially submitted to them.

Juvenile delinquency Young offenders.
Multiple stores Department stores.
The Ordinary Prison Chaplain.
Outlawed

Put outside the law – banished and exiled.

Over mighty subjects Lords who used their private armies to terrorise local villages.
Pestilence Plague.
Petty Constables A local official elected to arrest criminals and to carry out instructions passed down form the Justice of the Peace or the County Assize Justices.
Poaching Stealing wild creatures – birds, animals or fish, from those who own the land or water they live in.
The posse comitatus "The force of the county".  A body of men raised by the king’s county official, the sheriff, to chase a criminal.
Recidivists People who offended repeatedly.
Sanctuary Safety and protection given by the church.
Shaming punishment A punishment which humiliated the offender: example; ducking stool and the stocks.
Sheriff King’s official in charge of a county or shire.
A social crime An activity which the government has defined as a crime but the population at large, does not agree that it is a crime.
Statutes

A law or decree made by a sovereign or a legislative authority.

Sturdy rogues/beggars People who could work, but did not.
Tenant in chief Someone who held land directly from the king.
Tithing A group of ten people.
Treason Trying to overthrow the government.
Vagabonds Those people who did not have a regular job or a fixed home.
Ward An area of a town.    
Witchcraft The use of supernatural means for harmful or evil ends.