I\’m reading some light hearted frippery at the moment, a variation on the historical detective idea: this is a Friar in 1390s (roughly) London. John of Gaunt as Regent times.
There\’s something that doesn\’t quite ring true to me. It\’s the rate of executions.
London at the time was some 100,000 people or so. While there\’s no actual tabulation the impression you get is that executions were common: you\’re certainly left with the idea that there were more than one or two a day in the place.
Which really doesn\’t sound quite right to me. Yes, I know it was a more bloodthirsty time but hundreds of executions a year amongst 100,000 people? The only time I\’ve ever looked up the execution figures was for 1811 (I think it was that year) when I was trying to check a comment that there were more executed for sodomy in that year than murder (true, as it happens, seems that Lincoln Assizes had a very homophobic indeed year). But around then, with the much larger population, there were 30 or 40 hangings a year nationwide.
I can\’t actually find anything on the likely numbers of executions at that earlier time. Does anyone, in fact, know? What would have been a likely annual number (leaving widescale rebellions etc aside) for London in 1380 – 1400? Roughly?