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Case Study 2 - What happened in a trial by battle? Task Glossary

The death penalty was used to punish serious offences such as murder, arson, forgery, as well as robbery of goods valued at more than a shilling (5p). In England the method of execution was normally by hanging, right from medieval times to its abolition in 1965.

Trial by battle was introduced into England by the Normans after 1066. In the case from 1249 sketched here, Walter Blowberme, (on the left) had accused Hamo Stare (on the right) of a crime. Hamo Stare claimed the right of proving his innocence by trial by combat. However, he lost and was hanged - that's him on the gallows.

Execution by beheading was reserved for those of noble or royal birth who were convicted of treason.

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