Added: October 3, 2015 – Last updated: October 3, 2015


Author: John Marshall Carter

Title: Rape in Medieval English Society, 1208-1321

Subtitle: -

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Year: 1983

Pages: vi + 250pp.

OCLC Number: 9921402 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 13th Century, 14th Century | European History: English History


Link: IDEALS: Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (Restricted Access)



»The goals of the study were to investigate the crime of rape in thirteenth century England, to reconstruct the history of rape prosecution and assemble data which illustrate the crime of rape in the period under investigation. Seven rural and three urban areas of thirteenth century England formed the foci of the study. Data extracted from the existing eyre, coroner, close, and patent rolls revealed valuable insights about rape in thirteenth century England.
The main task consisted of ascertaining the identities and relationships of those involved in rape, seeking out the motivations of the rapists, and tracing the prosecution of the cases in the eyre court and the subsequent punishments. Then the investigation focused on extracting patterns from the assembled data, discerning attitudes about women and rape in thirteenth century England, and making generalizations about the crime and its aspects.
Both social and legal conclusions were drawn from the study. Socially, rape was committed generally by one man acting alone; as expected, rape was the particular crime of the rural peasantry and was usually participated in by a victim and a rapist who were strangers. Legally, punishments tended to be less severe than previous studies have shown; communities were hesitant to kill or mutilate a man for rape; if a man were killed or dismembered for raping a woman, then the assumption is that the justices and juries considered the crime to be a felony. Rape procedure placed the "weight of proof" on the victim.« (Source: IDEALS)