Town and Country
Stratford people must have been proud of their town, especially its buildings like the Guildhall, the church and the grand bridge over the river. Like many similar towns, it was run by a corporation which had considerable powers of authority, though ultimately they were controlled by the Queen and her appointed ministers who issued orders which had to be obeyed. A democracy it was not: the Queen was an absolute ruler. She regularly sent officers across the country, a network of spies, to check up on the town councils to make sure everyone was doing her bidding. It was a world of social policing, as we would call it now, where neighbours were encouraged to snitch on each other, reporting misdeeds to the authorities. You were reasonably safe so long as you stayed on the right side of the law and the Queen but, step over the line, and there was a harsh system of punishment in place.
In a Nutshell: Crime and Punishment…show more content… In Elizabethan England, you could be hanged for stealing something very small in value. Strict laws attached to vagrancy, too: no-one could travel to another town without a licence and beggars were literally whipped out of town if they didn’t belong there. If they returned again they were branded and, the third time they were