On To The Wedding Murder!
Including Priests Behaving Badly, Teens Being Pressured Into Marriage With Strangers, And This One Weird Hack For Getting Away With Being A Serial Killer.
Finally, figured out how to tackle the political assassination of a prince. Now, there will be murder of more ordinary people.
Lots of murder by poison. Murder is so much fun when it is fictional.
Some true things that will appear:
‘Benefit of Clergy’ meant that priests are tried by the church when they messed up. Since the church refused to hand out the death penalty and tended towards leniency, this created some infuriating results.
Like an English priest who murdered a parishioner and hightailed it to France to avoid punishment. He was eventually brought back and given a whopping six months of prison time. The victim’s wife was pissed and demanded more. After putting her through the wringer, the church finally conceded to make the murderer pay 10 d. and say masses for his victim.
‘Pleading One’s Belly’ was the way for women to skip out of punishment. A little-known side effect of prizing ‘life’ or potential life above all else is that claiming you were pregnant meant that you couldn’t be hanged until after the baby was born. Midwives were employed to check the veracity of these claims, as you can imagine how common they were. Though, clearly, if Mom was telling the truth, her life was only prolonged by a couple of months. (More likely, she was hoping to find a loophole or escape in that time. The pirate Anne Bonnie pulled this stunt. History doesn’t record how it turned out.)
Midwives were required to have a license to baptize children since so many died before they could be brought to a church. That’s a little fact the ‘natural childbirth’ people like to gloss over when claiming that childbirth got worse when the “evil men” and their “evil scientific” ways were introduced to the process. (Does no one else notice how TERF-y they sound when they say that?)
Something I will have to find a way to squeeze into a story sometime:
Vatican spies! At least as far back as the 1500’s, and probably as far back as the 3rd Century CE, the Vatican had spies all over the place to ensure the church got the best deal it could.