September 1649: An Act for discharging Poor Prisoners unable to satisfie their Creditors.

Pages 240-241

Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


September, 1649

[4 September, 1649.]

Prisoners to be discharged, taking this

Be it Enacted by this present Parliament, and by authority thereof, That the Judge or Judges of that Court from whence the Process issued, upon which any person now is imprisoned upon any Process or Execution, where the cause of Action was originally for Debt, upon the request of such party, and taking his or her Oath, which the said Judge or Judges have hereby power and authority to administer;


That bona fide he or she is not worth in Possession, Reversion or Remainder of any Estate Real or Personal to the value of Five pounds, besides necessary wearing Apparel, and Bedding for himself, his Wife and Children, and Tools necessary for his Trade or Occupation, not exceeding the value of Five pounds; and hath not directly or indirectly conveyed or intrusted his or her Estate, thereby to expect any Profit, Benefit or Advantage;

That then the Judge or Judges aforesaid, shall and may by Warrant under their hand and seal, summon to appear before them, within Thirty days after personal notice given thereof to the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs, or left at his or their dwelling house or houses, lodging or last abode; And if thereupon the said Plaintiff or Plaintiffs shall not appear, or some other person or persons, for and on his or their behalf, and shew just and lawful excuse for his or their absence, or shall appear, and cannot deny the truth of the said Oath, That then the said Judge or Judges shall discharge the said party of and from his or her Imprisonment, Any Law, Statute, Usage or Custom to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

Penalty for false swearing.

Provided always, That if at any time within Seven years after the taking of the said Oath by the said Prisoner as aforesaid, it shall be discovered, that the said Prisoner hath falsly Sworn in taking the said Oath, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted, That then the said Judge or Judges, shall by his or their Warrant, cause the said Prisoner to be again re-imprisoned for the cause of causes for which he or she was formerly imprisoned, be it in Execution or otherwise, as though this Act had never been made; and such Prisoner shall and may be indicted for Perjury, and shall suffer such Pains and Forfeitures as by any Statute or Law may be inflicted upon any person convicted for Perjury.

Judgement and Execution to stand good.

Provided, That notwithstanding the Discharge of the person of such Debtor, all and every former Judgement and Execution had or taken forth against such Debtor, shall be and stand good against the Goods and Chattels of the said Debtor (except before excepted) And that it shall and may be lawful, to and for the Creditor of such Debtors, to take out any new Execution against any other the Lands, Goods and Chattels of such Debtor (except before excepted) for the satisfaction of his said Debt, Any Law, Statute, Ordinance or Usage to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

Provided, That this Act, or any thing therein contained, shall not extend to any other person or persons, then such as are now in Prison, nor unto any person or persons now in Prison for any cause or causes, save onely for debt as aforesaid; Nor shall extend to any person or persons, who have been in arms against the Parliament, or have adhered to the Forces raised against the Parliament.