Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[4 July, 1654.]
Whereas it hath pleased the Lord to discover and bring to light divers Mischievous Plots and Designs which have been lately contrived by the Enemies of the peace and welfare of this Commonwealth, who are ready to lay hold of all opportunities for instilling such their purposes into ye minds of others who are peaceably affected, and to take advantage of publique meetings, and concorse of people at Horse-races, and other sports, to carry on such their pernicious designs, to the Disturbance of the Publique Peace, and indangering new troubles.
Horse-races and racemeetings forbidden for six months from 6 July, 1654.; Penalty for transgression.; Horses brought to such race or meeting to be seized, and persons present apprehended and proceeded against.
For prevention thereof, it is thought fit at this time to Ordain, and be it Ordained by His Highness the Lord Protector by and with the Consent of His Council, That from and after the sixth day of July, one thousand, six hundred fifty and four, for and during the space of six Moneths from thence next ensuing, there shall be no Horse-races, nor meetings of any persons whatsoever upon pretence or colour of any such horse-races in any place within England or Wales. And that all and every person and persons who shall, from and after the said sixth day of July for and during the time aforesaid, appoint any Horserace, or shall assemble and meet together, upon or by colour of any appointment of an Horse-race, or shall be present at any such Horse-race shall forfeit and lose all and every the Horse and Horses which they shall bring with them, or send unto such place or meeting. And all Mayors, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Constables, and all other Ministers of Justice, calling to their Assistance, if they shall find cause, any officers and souldiers of the Army, quartered or lying in or near such place, be, and they are hereby authorized and required, upon notice of any such Horse-race or appointment for the same, to repair unto such place and places, and to seize or cause to be seized all and every horse and horses, which shall come or be sent unto such place and places for the purpose aforesaid, or under colour thereof, and to apprehend or cause to be apprehended all and every person and persons who shall be present at, assemble, or meet together under pretence of any Horse-race, and bring or cause them to be brought before the Council to be further proceeded against for their Contempt of this Ordinance as shall be agreeable to Justice.