robbery, burglary, assault. These foul deeds were as much a part
of life in the 18th and 19th centuries as they are today. As towns
started to develop and traditional communities broke down, the
numbers of crimes being committed seemed to increase. In 1800
there were over 5000 recorded crimes; just thirty years later
this had risen to 20,000. People were concerned by this perceived
increase in lawlessness and increasingly harsh punishments were
inflicted. Foremost amongst these was the death penalty. By the
end of the 1700s over 200 offences were punishable by death. You
could be sentenced to death for pick-pocketing anything worth
more than one shilling or stealing something valued at over £2.
These were difficult times.
find out more about Crime and Punishment in Durham, make
your way through the gate of the Old Gaol and enter
in... (if you dare).