Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Medieval Murder Map of London


London in the 14th Century was a dangerous place to be. The murder rate in early 14th century London was about 15-20 times higher than an English town with an equal sized population today. A new interactive map shows that market areas in London were particularly dangerous.

The University of Cambridge's new London Medieval Murder Map plots the locations of 142 murders which took place in the capital in late medieval London. The map uses data from the Coroner's Rolls. The coroners and their sheriffs in medieval London investigated violent deaths and published the results in the Coroner's Rolls. Nine of these Coroners' Rolls, covering the City of London, from the first half of the 14th century have survived.

The London Medieval Murder Map reveals that around 68% of homicides in medieval London occurred in public commercial spaces, such as markets and squares. There are two main homicide hotspots on the map. One stretches from St Paul's to St Mary's le Bow in the Cheapside area of London. An area which was full of stall and shops. Another murder hotspot seems to radiate around Leadenhall Market.

You can filter the murders which are shown on the map by the gender of the victim, the type of murder weapon used, by date range and by crime scene (public or private spaces). Over one third of the murders were carried out using a 'long knife'. Most men in London in the 14th century would be armed in public with a sword or knife. The majority of the victims of murder on the map are men. One thing the map doesn't show is that men were also the most likely perpetrators of these crimes. 92% of the homicides shown on the map were carried out by men.

Another thing not shown by the map is when homicides most often occurred in medieval London. 31% of the murders shown on the map happened on a Sunday. The one day of the week when most people didn't have to work. 77% of the murders occurred in the evenings between the times of 5 pm and 10 pm.

4 comments:

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