Crime, gender, and conflict always spark an interest - however there is little work that examines criminality and gender at a local level in the Civil War and Interregnum period. This paper is a snippet of one of the chapters from my PhD Thesis. My research has a wider focus on Gender and Criminality, within the East Midlands between 1630 and 1660. This work is crucial to undertake as previous scholarly works have often focused on the military aspects regarding this period leaving criminality during these years an untouched field to explore.
This paper will focus on the crime of theft for Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, and Nottinghamshire during this time period. Theft crimes are a significant are to study because they link to wider key tensions during the Civil War and Interregnum, specifically the widening economic gap between the rich and poorest in society: as well as issues relating to resources and social factors. Furthermore, it gives an insight into the gendered associations of the criminal underworld: there are previous works that have determined women stole items of little value and were considered less criminally dangerous. However, by comparing both genders and other aspects such as the circumstances/motivations, punishments given along with what was stolen I intend to show this was not always accurate and that other factors had a greater role in theft than gender.
To achieve this, this paper examines: Who stole (gender and occupation)? What was stolen? Where was it stolen? When was it stolen? And Why? The crime data analysed comes from the Quarter Sessions which were essentially a local court around the counties that dealt with minor felonies – those which did not require punishment by death. The figures throughout this paper only represent the cases that made it to this court, it is indicative of but does not represent true crime numbers. The use of statistical analysis alongside case studies provides a dynamic insight into theft, gender and the motivations of the criminal underbelly during the seventeenth century contemporary context of conflict and war for the East Midlands.
I am currently a Level2 PhD student at Nottingham Trent University, my research focuses on Crime and Gender during the Civil War and Interregnum for the East Midlands region.â¯
This interest of the criminal underworld, naughtiness and challenging the norms, particularly in such a turbulent time as the Early Modern period, developed throughout my BAâ¯dissertation focusing on self-representation of female martyrs in the sixteenth century and my MA dissertation on ‘Devilish Deviants or Virtuous Victims’: Female Criminality in the seventeenth century.
I am secretaryâ¯to the Loughboroughâ¯Archaeological andâ¯Historical Society, which includes volunteering atâ¯the Old Rectory Museum. I am also anâ¯Associate Lecturer at the University of Lincoln.â¯
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