Theft and Violence

John Hudson

in The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198260301
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740640 | DOI:

Series: The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Theft and Violence

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This chapter discusses offences committed by individuals or small groups primarily against the victim's person or movable goods. It covers types of offence, responsibility and liability, prevention and police, compensation, punishment, and banishment and outlawry. The achievements of the late Anglo-Saxon kings do seem to have been considerable, not least in exercising their control over a much more extensive kingdom. The heightened aspiration of royal action to limit feud may be evidence of a reduction in the role of self-help, an increased use of judicial routes. The very fact that some men pursued their animosities through the courts, for example by bringing false accusations, can be taken as a sign of the importance of royal justice. The association of offences, certainly of theft, with disloyalty, and the consequent use of forfeiture, distinguished law in late Anglo-Saxon England from that of contemporary Francia. These developments underlie the appearance in the Angevin period of notions of felony and of crime.

Keywords: offences; responsibility; liability; punishment; compensation; royal justice; Anglo-Saxon period; theft; English law

Chapter.  19960 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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