In History this term we have been learning about crime and punishment in Britain since the Roman times. This week we have been looking at arguably some of the most gruesome times in our history. Some classes have been investigating the Tower of London and its famous prisoners, including royalty who were imprisoned there. We were surprised to find out how ‘luxurious’ some of their prison conditions were, though it didn’t stop some of them from coming to a grisly end! Did you know Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned in the Tower, sent there by her sister Queen Mary? She was one of the lucky ones who had a comfortable life there and was released after a few months. The ‘Nine Day Queen’ Lady Jane Grey was not so lucky and was beheaded for the crime of high treason.
Other classes were finding out the truth about the so called ‘Bloody Code’ introduced in the late 17th Century. It was a list of around 200 crimes that were punishable by death. The more obvious crimes such as murder and treason, were joined by such crimes as ‘Cutting down young trees’, ‘Impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner’ and most frightening for some ‘Strong evidence of malice in children aged 7 to 14’! Everyone had a character and played a role play game to find out their fate. We soon discovered you were more likely to get off lightly if you had wealthy or well-known friends to speak up for you. We saw evidence that the code didn’t really work though and it was abolished in the early 19th Century.
Next week we’ll be discovering more about Britain’s punishing past.