Bikes in History — An Occasional Series

April 23rd, 2012 by Biky Nick

This image dating from the thirteenth century gives a graphic depiction of the fate of a bike thief who was caught red-handed.

An entry in Cobbett’s parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest, in 1066 to the year, 1803 : from which last-mentioned epoch it is continued downwards in the work entitled, “Cobbett’s parliamentary debates” (which is now available on-line) reinforces the notion that perhaps in years gone by, bicycle theft was looked on slightly more negatively than in the modern age:

In a parliament held at London in 1246, some severe laws were made against such as robbed velocipedes or cyclettes. If the malefactor fled, and was killed in the pursuit, there was neither law nor appeal allowed for his death. If any earl, baron, or knight complained to the king that his velocipede were stolen, an inquisition was made by the king’s writ; and, if he that was indicted was convicted of the same, he was to lie in the king’s prison a year and a day; and to pay three years value of his estate, having just sufficient allowed out of it to maintain him; after which the king was to have two part, and he that received the injury one; then the convict was to find 12 sureties that he should never do the like again.

From Volume 01: comprising the period from the Conquest in 1066, to the death of King James the First in the year 1625 (Column 22)

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