Is criminalising children really the best way of preventing them from becoming adult offenders? The best minds of the tenth and eleventh centuries thought not. For all that Anglo-Saxon justice could be brutal, the age of criminal responsibility in later Anglo-Saxon England was higher than it is today, 1000 years later. In the first half of the tenth century, King Æthelstan (924-939) decided that the age of 12 was too young to treat offenders so harshly, and raised the age instead to 15. Around one hundred years later, Wulfstan complained that very young children were considered to be guilty when they hardly knew the meaning of the word.