This program explores medieval crime and punishment - in particular the harshness of the judgements, and the torturous conditions those found guilty had to endure.

Life in Medieval times was hard and the vast majority were poor and desperate. Lands were ruled by the elite and there were taxes.

It was a period of unrest, so to maintain order, punishments were as severe as possible.

This program will investigate the following:

Crimes and their punishments

Torture as a means of punishment

What were considered crimes

Actual crimes and punishments

The role of God, King and Lords in the judgements of crimes

The different court systems - for the Noble Lords, the Church, for the King and for the rest.

The moral code that everyone was supposed to live by - most particularly women and peasants.

The program includes a Facilitator who takes the students through a lively and fascinating exploration of the aforementioned topics.

Richard, the Lionheart

Richard, the Lionheart, King of England had spent much of his reign outside England fighting wars in the Middle East and France. To pay for these he had taxed the English heavily. In 1199, Richard died and his brother, John became king.

John continued to fight wars in France but he kept losing battles. He needed more money so his government in England ruthlessly demanded more taxes from the nobility who were expected to pay tax if the King asked.

The Barons became very unhappy about John exploiting their loyalty and belief in his complete power. They rebelled and took over London and forced John to negotiate.


On the 19 June 1215 at Runnymede King John signed the Magna Carta. (This means Great Charter.)

It was the first formal document stating that a King had to follow the laws of the land and it guaranteed the rights of individuals against the wishes of the King.

This meant people couldn't be arrested, imprisoned or have their possessions taken away except by the judgement of his equals and/or the law of the land.

The Magna Carta established the principle that the people of England, at this stage represented by the Barons/Lords, could limit the power of a King, if they were doing things that were not good for the country.

Comment Stream