By Anne-Marie Kilday
This paintings presents a close historical past of infanticide in mainland Britain from 1600 to the fashionable period for the first actual time. It examines continuity and alter within the nature and features of new-born baby homicide in Scotland, England and Wales over a chronology of greater than 4 centuries. along delivering a comparative research of the kinds of people suspected of the offence, and a close appreciation of the various ways that the crime was once performed, the paintings additionally exposes the large nexus of causal elements which underpinned its enactment. furthermore, the paintings investigates the evolving angle in social, clinical and criminal contexts to the killing of younger babies in Britain over a noticeable period of time. hence the paintings as an entire is either compelling and cutting edge because it offers the reader with even more than an insignificant background of infanticide. The ebook additionally contributes a lot to our knowing of felony background, gender heritage, criminal historical past, scientific heritage and social heritage in its analyses of different contexts allied to the offence. It does this additionally via its exploration of the advanced features of accusers, commentators and perpetrators throughout cultures, borders and time.
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Additional info for A History of Infanticide in Britain, c. 1600 to the Present
98 This must have rendered many women impoverished, especially if support from family or kin was in short supply. During the early modern period, legal authorities and social commentators alike often believed that in order to avoid both the social stigma from the moral lapse associated with illegitimacy and the economic misfortune that could result from such circumstances, women like Ann Price, whose case was cited at the outset of this chapter, resorted to infanticide. In this way, in the minds of contemporaries at least, illegitimacy and new-born child murder were inextricably linked.
64 ‘Courtship intensity’ appears to have decreased in times of hardship and increased in times of economic stability or growth. 65 The fractured courtship hypothesis appears convincing in relation to England, based on the evidence to date. What it also reflects, however, is the importance of the local and regional context in understanding why illegitimacy increased in a given place at a given time. 67 One final explanation for increases in the illegitimacy rate during the early modern period relates to the records of the births themselves.
There were no indictments for concealment at the Old Bailey 1700–1799. 3 Indictments and convictions for infanticide and concealment in Wales, 1730–1799 Note: No petitions for banishment or confessions or convictions for concealment. 4 respectively) appear to fluctuate with greater intensity over the course of the eighteenth century, so that no real pattern regarding indictment trends can be discerned. Prosecutions for infanticide appear to have been more vigorous immediately after the infanticide statutes were passed in each constituent part of the British Isles.