The Old Bailey: The Court Of Londoners In An Era Of Revolution
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The history of the laws and courts of England is a rich subject, but little work has been done on the history of common law prior to the eighteenth century. With fewer sources than later periods and a confusing system of overlapping jurisdictions the late seventeenth century has largely been ignored by legal history scholars. Furthermore, the history of this period is often dominated by grand events like the Glorious Revolution. This thesis attempts to chronicle the activities of the Old Bailey - London's central criminal court during the era of the Glorious Revolution. Analysis of the Old Bailey Sessions Papers records provides a unique way to recreate the relationship between the court and the people of London that yields both statistical data and ample case studies. With these sources it possible to both reconstruct the everyday workings of the Old Bailey as well as contextualize the crimes tried and punishments handed down by the court. By utilizing these abundant records of the Old Bailey this study offers a new view into the workings of law and justice in seventeenth century London.