Medieval Justice – By Rachel Vass

`What is the ‘Trial by Ordeal’?

The Trial by Ordeal was two punishments for when a person committed a crime. One is when you are tied to a ‘ducking stool’ which is hung above a deep lake or pond. You are then slowly lowered down into the lake, and held in there for an amount of time. If you’re innocent, you’ll drown. If you’re guilty, you’ll float to the top of the water, and if you’re not already dead you’ll be killed by the executioner.

The other is also when you commit a crime, but instead you have to place your hand into a bucket of boiling water or hold a red hot poker (enough to give third degree burns.) If you were innocent, people believed that God would heal you of your blistered skin and burns after three days. But if you were guilty, your wounds would not heal, then you were thought to have been a witch – and be put to death (burnt at the steak)

The Beginnings of the Common Law

The common law has been developed after many years of historical English law. Common law involves judges making decisions on cases. Common Law can be overruled by legislation which is past and enacted by state or federal parliament. But once Judges make decisions based on state or federal legislation, these decisions form part of common law. Also, all Law is subject to state and federal constitution. The place of common law works according to the following:

Federal Constitution and Supreme Court

State Constitution

State Legislatures

State Common Law







One Comment on “Medieval Justice – By Rachel Vass”

  1. priscillalan says: