Anyone interested in a bit of history, wishing for sometimes, a time machine. How was life back then really? What problems had normal average people in the middle ages? A considerable Favor in this direction, the scientists Manuel Eisner, Deputy Director of the Institute for criminology at the University of Cambridge, all History buffs fact now: He built an interactive map that shows how dangerous what are the streets of London were in the middle ages.

murders in the medieval metropolis

the surviving records of medieval investigators were Studied. The researchers focused on the first half of the 14th century. Century, i.e. the time from 1300 to 1350. For this time, they found evidence of 142 homicide cases, and were all conscientious in a historical street map of the English capital.

This Link takes you directly to the interactive map. If you persevere with the mouse over a marker, you will see information (in English) to the individual cases.

The cases are so different, as today’s crime also. Some are tragic – in November 1300, about a woman died after a customer business partner of her husband had kicked her brutally in the abdomen. Some of them sound like good crime-fabric – for example, the entry from the year 1338: “Frightful murder of John of Chartres”. The case remained unsolved, it was suspected, but a Couple who had committed to with John together a theft, and the prey wanted to be alone. And, again, other cases would be funny, if they had not tasted someone very Seriously, the life: “a street musician was brought by genervtem residents to the Silence” is about an incident from the year 1323.


these places were perpetrated in the medieval London murders.

©Eisner, Manuel: Interactive London Medieval Murder Map. University of Cambridge: Institute of Criminology

More than half of all murders happened in public places or in busy streets. Mostly long knife were used (in 35 percent of cases), the majority of the victims wounds died of stab in the head area. The majority of offences were committed by men, the murderers came from all social strata and professions. Even a priest was the Killer, after he had been caught stealing Apples …

The perpetrators were mostly men, rich and poor

sound 142 murders in 50 years, especially for a big city – but you have to remember that London was in the year 1350, only about 50,000 inhabitants, and not, as today, more than eight million. Thus, it was there, “pretty deadly”, according to the scientists Manuel Eisner: The murder rate was almost 20 Times higher than in a modern British city nowadays.

The causes of summarizes Eisner: “The events that were recorded by the investigators, show that weapons were always within reach, the male honor had to be defended and conflicts can quickly get out of control. We get a pretty detailed impression of how murder cases were in the medieval everyday life in cities can be integrated.” And also, if the former criminalists (“the Coroner”, the title had a different meaning than today, “coroner”) used to be able to find but almost always Suspects with plausible motives, succeeded in these frightening and often escape from the city. Whether you were caught years later, it is not clear from the records may simply.

sources: Open Culture / University of Cambridge, Violence Research Centre