With its landscaped parks and polite culture, Hanoverian England presented a facade of quiet elegance to the world. But the domestic peace of the 18th century was seriously disturbed by gangs of wreckers, smugglers and poachers, and its apparent stability was underpinned by a criminal law of unexampled savagery. In this collection of essays, the authors look at the role of the criminal law in maintaining the role of the propertied classes and, in another essay, reveals it in action against the poachers of Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. The book also discusses smugglers and wreckers and shows how these activities formed a natural part of the life of many traditional communities.
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