In the wake of civil war and anarchy in England, a crime wave gripped the nation. Murders and other violent crimes were rampant. Henry II sought to reimpose law and order throughout the country by reforming the English legal system. In this episode, we look at Henry’s criminal justice reforms and the emergence of the English common law. We also explore the linguistic consequences of this legal reform.
During the reign of Henry II, the speech of England was dominated by three languages – English, French and Latin. In this episode, we examine the relative roles of those three languages, and we also explore how the social barriers between those languages were breaking down in the 12th century.