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A Sodomy Scandal on the Eve of the French Wars of Religion

Hamilton, Tom

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This article uncovers a sodomy scandal that took place in the Benedictine Abbey of Morigny, on the eve of the French Wars of Religion, in order to tackle an apparently simple yet persistent question in the history of early modern criminal justice. Why, despite all of the formal and informal obstacles in their way, did plaintiffs bring charges before a criminal court in this period? The article investigates the sodomy scandal that led to the conviction and public execution of the abbey’s porter Pierre Logerie, known as ‘the gendarme of Morigny’, and situates it in the wider patterns of criminal justice as well as the developing spiritual crisis of the civil wars during the mid-sixteenth century. Overall, this article demonstrates how criminal justice in this period could prove useful to plaintiffs in resolving their disputes, even in crimes as scandalous and difficult to articulate as sodomy, but only when the interests of local elites strongly aligned with those of the criminal courts where the plaintiffs sought justice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 19, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 25, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 3, 2021
Journal Historical Journal
Print ISSN 0018-246X
Electronic ISSN 1469-5103
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 64
Issue 4
Pages 844-864
Public URL


Published Journal Article (Advance Online Version) (362 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance Online Version Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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