• “A Case of Indifference? Child Murder in Later Medieval England.”

    Author(s):
    Sara Margaret Butler (see profile)
    Date:
    2007
    Group(s):
    British History, Feminist Humanities, Late Medieval History, Legal history, Medieval Studies
    Subject(s):
    Children, History
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Family History, History of childhood
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/pyet-pw52
    Abstract:
    Art historian Barbara Kellum’s 1973 article on child murder in medieval England paints a picture of a world replete with ruthless and murderous single mothers who escaped the legal consequences of their actions due to an indifferent court system that chose to turn a blind eye to the deaths of young children. Despite the overstated tone of her work, it remains the most systematic study of child murder in the medieval English context. Employing a sampling of 131 instances of child murder (including 144 victims), drawn from royal and ecclesiastical courts from the late thirteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, the current investigation asks us to rethink these early conclusions. Infanticide was a felony in the Middle Ages and neither jurors nor royal officials treated child murder with indifference. Nevertheless, it is clear that both gender and marital status guided the courts in their decisions throughout the legal process in terms of indicting, prosecuting, and sentencing defendants in cases of child murder.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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