Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas by a late Ordinance of His Highness the Lord Protector, and his Council, Nathanael Bacon, Francis Bacon, and other the persons therein named, or any five or more of them, were made Judges to hear and determine from the ninth day of June last, the Causes of Imprisonment of such Prisoners as stood Committed the fift of October, one thousand six hundred fifty and three, or which should be committed before the twentieth day of the said October to several prisons therein named in any Civil cause, and not from thence lawfully discharged, and to do and exercise in pursuance of a late Act of Parlament, entituled, An Act for the Relief of Creditors and poor Prisoners, according to the Explanations and Alterations thereof made by the said late Ordinance. And for as much as complaint hath been made to His Highness the Lord Protector and his Council, That five of the said Judges cannot constantly meet for the execution thereof, whereby the same is much retarded, and for other weighty reasons and due considerations had thereupon; Be it therefore Ordained of His Highness the Lord Protector, by the advice of his Council, That the said Nathanael Bacon, Francis Bacon, Arthur Barnardiston, Peter Elliston, John Parker, Henry Pyt, Edmund Giles, Robert Aldworth, John Wilsby, Peter Brereton, Clement Ireton, and Henry Proby, Esqrs. or any three or more of them, and no other person, shall be and are hereby made Judges as to all Prisons, and persons committed to any Prisons within the City of London and Westminster, the Counties of Middlesex and Surrey, or any of them; as fully to all intents and purposes, and every respect as any the persons made Judges of any Prisons and Persons, by the said Act for Relief of Creditors and poor Prisoners, to hear and determine the causes of Imprisonment of any such Prisoners, committed as aforesaid, for the cause aforesaid, to any the Prisons aforementioned, and are impowred to send for parties or witnesses, and to take and receive the several Fees and Sallaries, and to do and execute the several Powers and Authorities by the said Act given to the Judges for the several Prisons in the said Act named, in every respect according to the meaning of the said Act, Entituled, An Act for the Relief of Creditors and poor Prisoners other then the Powers and Authorities, altered, explained, limited or annulled by the said late Ordinance, and this present Ordinance, which last mentioned Powers and Authorities so limited, altered or explained, are to be put in execution according to the Limitations, Alterations and Explanations in the said late Ordinance contained, and not otherwise.
And it is hereby Ordained, That all proof of fraud and wilfull concealment of fraud by the said late Ordinance directed to be made before a Jury, shall be made before a Jury of twelve lawful men before the said Judges or any three or more of them, which said Jury by Order of the said Judges shall be forthwith impannelled and summoned by the Sheriff or Sheriffs of the said City or County where the said Judges shall sit, to appear forthwith before the said Judges in like manner and under the same pains; And for such fees to be set, and taking such Oath to be administered by the said Judges, or any three or more of them, as are used and imposed in any Court of Record at Westminster. And where any Prisoners, or other Persons shall neglect or refuse to obey the Orders and Judgments of the said Judges, or any three or more of them, made in pursuance of the said late Act, the said former and this present Ordinance, or to discover upon Oath their knowledge touching any Estate or Trust of Estate, appointed to be sold by the said Act, the former and this present Ordinance, the said Judges or any three or more of them, shall and may punish all and every such offender (not being Prisoners) by imprisonment of their bodies in any the said Prisons until they conform themselves to the reasonable Orders of the said Judges, as aforesaid, and if they be persons already in Prison, then by fine and streighter and closer Imprisonment of any such Prisoner in any the said Prisons.
And it is lastly hereby Ordained, That the said Act for Relief of Creditors and Poor Prisoners, the Ordinance for Explanation thereof, and this present Ordinance, shall continue in force until the first day of December, one thousand six hundred fifty and four, and no longer.