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Title: Some aspects of the history of crime in 17th century England, with special reference to Cheshire and Middlesex
Author: Curtis, T. C.
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1973
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The first chapter of this thesis is concerned with placing the body of the work as a whole in context. Thus it contains a description of the basic methodology of research, and the limitations imposed by the nature of the main sources used; from which follows a short description of some of the areas - such as the problem of the criminal class - which were excluded from the thesis. The second chapter opens with a brief exposition of an hypothesis which predicates the possibility of a correlation between rising prices and rising crime rates in seventeenth century England. Statistical material drawn from Quarter Sessions records for Middlesex and Cheshire is then assessed in order to find such a correlation. When none appears, the possibility of a correlation between falling price rates and crime rates is then examined. When, again, none appears the conclusion is drawn that, subject to the limitations of the evidence, neither rising nor falling prices caused appearances before Quarter Sessions. The third chapter examines in a similar manner the possibilities that either short or long term industrial/commercial disruption might have influenced crime rates. Again no positive correlations appear. The fourth chapter analyses the possibility that rising death rates may have been correlated with rising crime rates. Again, however, no positive connections can be established and, within the limitations of the evidence, a negative conclusion is drawn. The fifth chapter is devoted to examining the suggestion that crime may have been differentiated by geographical regions; particularly that forest area were peculiarly lawless. Again, after analysis of material drawn from Quarter Sessions in comparison with population data for selected parishes, no correlation emerges.However by this point it became clear that a major feature of the crime statistics is their instability : the emergence of peaks and troughs apparently unrelated to external phenomena such as rising prices. The sixth chapter 1.8 concerned, therefore, with the boundary maintenance theory propounded by Dr . Kai T. Erikson which purports to explain such variations. From discussion and re-analysis of the tables it is concluded that this thesis does provide some explanation for variations in rates, but does not go far enough in examining the mechanisms of boundary maintenance in detail. The final chapter is therefore devoted to postulating the possibil1ty that crime patterns were largely shaped by the interaction of interest groups, and making suggestions as to how these interactions may have operated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available