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Most of these cases are from the records of the Eyre Court
of Oxfordshire in 1241. There was an Eyre Court in each county,
taken by one of the king's judges, who travelled to the county
regularly. A jury of twelve men from each of the "hundreds"
(districts of the county) of Oxfordshire brought any case
or legal problem to the Eyre Court which could not be dealt
with by local courts. The modern equivalent is the Crown Court.
In comparison to modern court cases, the cases were heard
quickly. The judge listened to each side, asked a few questions
and gave his decision. Even if he asked the jury for their
verdict, they did not retire, but talked it over for a few
minutes in the courtroom and announced their verdict. Cases
rarely lasted more than half an hour. A mix of very different
types of cases was heard, one after another. (See also Case-Study
2 for some of the other cases the judge tried in Oxford that
Source 6 is from the royal records. The crime described is
on a different scale from the others. The de Folvilles terrorised
parts of Leicestershire with a large gang of followers throughout
the 1320s and 1330s. Clearly neither the king, nor anyone
else, was able to stop them.
To decide whether the amount of violent crime is great or
small, the number of murders is measured against the number
of people. Thus the number of murders per 100,000 people in
For London 2.1
For Washington D.C 69.3
For Moscow 18.1
And one historian's estimate for 14th century England: 12.0