Sex Work and British Law

0602-04-14 04:00:46

Ethelbert laws

Laws of Ethelbert - Fines payable 'if a man takes a widow who does not belong to him'

0893-01-16 00:00:00

Code of Alfred the great.

Code of Alfred the Great made it lawful for any man to kill another if he found him 'with his wedded wife, or mother, daughter, or sister'

1020-01-07 00:00:00

King Cnut

King Cnut forbade married men from 'fornicating with their own slaves and adulteresses should be publicly disgraced, lose their goods, and have ears and noses cut off.

1100-01-04 00:00:00

Rise of Church courts.

Establishment of the Church's own permanent courts from about 1100 onwards transformed the punishment of sexual offences amongst the population at large. The rise of towns and cities led to the addition of new civic penalties against adultery, fornication, prostitution.

1161-01-09 00:00:00

Henry II & Bishop of Winchester

1161 – Henry II – Bishop of Winchester licences brothels and prostitutes. This led to the ladies being known as ‘Winchester Geese’. The Bishop far from frowning at the activity enjoyed the revenue gained from taxing it.

1277-01-01 00:00:00

Prohibition in London

Prohibition against organised prostitution. The city of London prohibited any 'Whore of a brothel' from living within the walls. This was a prohibition agaisnt organised prostitution rather than general immorality.

1323-10-07 00:31:23

Edward II orders Brothels to be abolished.

In 1310 Edward II ordered the mayor and sheriff of London to abolish brothels in an attempt to control thieves and murderers thought to also be harboured in them.

1351-04-15 03:27:31

Ordinance against 'Common lewd women'

In 1351, the council passed an ordinance against 'common lewd women' wearing fur or 'noble lining'. They were instead to wear ray (striped) hoods. The London legislation prohibiting whores from dressing like 'good and noble dames and damsels'.

1382-04-11 03:27:31

1382 Law

Continued from the ordinance of 1351, the law stated that 'all common whores, and all women reputed as such, should have hoods of ray only' By allowing this, any one could be reputed to be a whore and the officials could harass these women, the more expensive garments could also be confiscated by the officials. (motive?)

1417-08-15 15:23:12

Liber Albus

The White book of the City of London by John Carpenter, which was the first book of English common law. Required the banishment of all whores from the city.

Sex Work and British Law

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