Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[8 November, 1644.]
Whereas divers persons within the Realm of England and Dominion of Wales, taking advantage of the present distractions, and ayming at their own profit, have refused, and still do refuse to set out, yield, and pay Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, Obventions, and other such duties, according to the Law of the said Realm; to which they are the more incouraged, both because there is not now any such compulsory means for recovery of them by any Ecclesiastical proceedings, as heretofore hath been; and also for that by reason of the present troubles there cannot be had speedy remedy for them in the Temporal Courts, although they remain still due, and of right payable, as in former times.
Tythes shall be paid according to Law.; Remedy in case of substraction, by two Justices of Peace.; Summons.; Proof on Oath.; Judgement with costs and dammages.
Be it therefore Declared and Ordained by the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, That every person and persons whatsoever within the said Realm and Dominion, shall fully truly, and effectually set out, yield, and pay respectively all and singular Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, Obventions, rates for Tythes, and all other duties commonly known by the name of Tythes, and all arrears of them respectively, to all and every the respective Owners, Proprietors, Improprietors, and Possessors, as well Lay as Ecclesiastical respectively, their Executors and Administrators of Parsonages, Vicarages, or Rectories, either impropriate, or presentative, or donative, and of Vicarages, and of portions of Tythes respectively within the said Realm and Dominion, according to the Law, Custome, Prescription, Composition, or Contract respectively, by which they or any of them ought to have been set out, yielded, and paid at the beginning of this present Parliament, or two years before; And in all and every case, where any person or persons hath at any time since the beginning of this present Parliament, or two years before, substracted, withdrawn, or failed in due payment of, or hereafter at any time shall substract, withdraw, or fail in due payment of any such Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, Obventions, rates for Tythes, or any duty known by the name of Tythes, or arrears of them, or any of them, as aforesaid, the person or persons to whom the same is, hath been, or shall be respectively due, his Executors or Administrators shall and may make his and their complaints thereof to any two Justices of Peace within the same County, City, Town, Place, Riding, or Division, not being Patron or Patrons of the Church where such substraction, withdrawing, or failer of payment hath been, or shall be; nor being interested any way in the things in question: Which Justices of Peace are authorized hereby, and shall have full power to summon by reasonable warning before hand all and every such person on persons against whom any such complaints shall be made to them, and after his or their appearance before them, or upon default made after the second summons, the said summons being made as aforesaid, and proved before the said Justices by Oath which said Justices hereby shall have power to administer the same, to hear and determine the said complaint, by sending for, and examining witnesses upon Oath, which said Oath the said Justices are hereby also authorized to minister, and admitting other Proofs brought on either side, and thereupon shall in writing under their Hands and Seal adjudg the case, and give reasonable costs and dammages to either party, as in their judgement they shall think fit.
In case of non-payment within 30 daies after notice.; Distress; Commitment if no distress be found.
And be it further Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall refuse to pay any such. Tythes or sums of money, as upon such complaint and proceeding shall be [of] any such Justices of Peace adjudged as aforesaid, and shall not within thirty daies next after notice of such judgement in writing under the Hand and Seal of such Justices of Peace given to him or them, make full satisfaction thereof, according to the said Judgement, in every such case the person and persons respectively to whom any such Tythes or sums of Money shall be upon such Judgement due, shall and may by Warrant from the said Justices, or either of them; Distrain all and every, or any the Goods and Chattels of the party or parties so refusing, and of the same to make sale, and to retain to himself or themselves so much of the moneys raised by sale thereof, as may satisfie the the said Judgement, returning the over-plus thereof to the party or parties so refusing. And in case no sufficient Distress can be found, that then the said Justices of Peace, or any other Justices of Peace of the same County as aforesaid, shall and may commit all and every such person & persons so refusing, to the next common Goale of the said County, there to remain in safe custody, without Bail or Main-prize, until he or they respectively shall make full satisfaction, according to the said Judgement.
Appeal by party grieved to the Chancery.
Provided always, and it is further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall think him or themselves unjustly dealt with by or in any such Judgement, as aforesaid, then he or they respectively shall and may thereof complain to the High Court of Chancery, where the cause between the parties shall be again heard and determined; which Court shall hereby have full Power and Authority to summon the parties, and to hear and determine the same, and to suspend execution as the same Court shall see cause; and to give final Judgement therein with reasonable costs to the party or parties grieved by any such complaint brought before them.
This not to extend to London.
Provided always, That this Ordinance, or any thing therein contained, shall not extend to any Tythes, Offerings, Yearly-paiments, or other Ecclesiastical Duties, due or to be due for any Houses, Buildings, or other Hereditaments within the City of London, or the Liberties thereof, which be otherwise provided for by Act of Parliament.