Addictive interactive murder map lets you explore medieval London crime

A birds-eye view of London from the south looking north (1572), one of the maps used to create an interactive map of murders in medieval London.

Enlarge / A birds-eye view
of London from the south looking north (1572), one of the maps used
to create an interactive map of murders in medieval London.
(credit: Braun & Hogenberg/Public Domain)

In July of 1316, a priest with a hankering for fresh apples
sneaked into a walled garden in the Cripplegate area of London to
help himself to the fruits therein. The gardener caught him in the
act, and the priest brutally stabbed him to death with a
knife—hardly godly behavior, but this was the Middle Ages. A
religious occupation was no guarantee of moral standing.

That’s just one of the true-crime gems to be found in
a new interactive digital “murder map”
of London compiled by
University of Cambridge criminologist Manuel Eisner. Drawing on
data catalogued in the city Coroners’ Rolls, the map shows the
approximate location of 142 homicide cases in late medieval London.
The map launched to the public in late November on the website for
the university’s Violence Research Center, and be forewarned—it’s
extremely addictive. You could easily lose yourself down the rabbit
hole of medieval murder for hours, filtering the killings by year,
choice of weapon, and location. (It works best with Google
Chrome.)

“The events described in the Coroners’ Rolls show weapons were
never very far away, male honor had to be protected, and conflicts
easily got out of hand,”
said Eisner
, who embarked on the project to create an
accessible resource for the public to explore the historical
records. “They give us
a detailed picture
of how homicide was embedded in the rhythms
of urban medieval life.”

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Addictive interactive murder map lets you explore medieval London crime