Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas divers Ministers in the several Counties of this Kingdome, for notorious Scandals and Delinquency, have been put out of their Livings by Authority of Parliament, and Godly, Learned, and Orthodox Ministers placed in their rooms: And whereas the said Scandalous and Delinquent Ministers by force or other ways have entred upon the Churches, and gained the possession of the Parsonage-houses, Tythes, and Profits thereunto belonging, and have obstructed the payment of the Tythes and other Profits due by the Parishioners unto the Ministers placed in the said Churches by Authority aforesaid.
The Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament do therefore order and ordain, and be it ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That all Sheriffs, Majors, Bailiffs, Justices of the Peace, Deputy-Lieutenants, and Committees of Parliament in the several Counties, Cities, and Places within this Kingdome, do forthwith apprehend, or cause to be apprehended all such Ministers as by authority of Parliament have been put out of any Church or Chappel within this Kingdom, or any other Person or Persons who have entred upon any such Church or Chappel, or gained the possession of such Parsonagehouses, Tythes, and Profits thereunto belonging, or have obstructed the payment of the Tythes and other Profits due by the Parishioners to the said Ministers there placed by Authority of Parliament, or Sequestrators appointed, wherein no Ministers are setled to receive the same, and all such Persons as have been Aiders, Abettors, or Assisters in the Premisses, and commit them to Prison, there to remain until such satisfaction be made unto the several Ministers placed by the said Authority of Parliament, for his or their damages sustained, as to the said Sheriffs, Majors, Bailiffs, Justices of Peace, Deputy-Lieutenants, or Committees of Parliament, or any two of them, shall appear to be just, upon hearing and proof made upon the Oath of two sufficient Witnesses (which they or any two of them are hereby authorized to administer) who are likewise required to restore, settle, and quiet the possession in such Ministers as have been placed by the said Authority of Parliament; and they or any two of them have hereby Power to raise Trained Bands, or any other Forces within the said several Counties, Cities, and Places, to put this Ordinance in execution: And the said Sheriffs, Majors, Bailiffs, Justices of the Peace, Deputy-Lieutenants, and Committees of Parliament respectively, are hereby required to take effectual course according to the several Orders and Ordinances of Parliament in that behalf made, that all men do pay their Tythes or Profits due unto the said respective Ministers. And it is hereby further ordered and ordained, That the Committee appointed for plundered Ministers, have Power to see this Ordinance put in execution. And it is further ordained, That the Committee of complaints do give the like remedy to all such Ministers put in by the said Authority of Parliament, and Sequestrators of the Profits, against whom any Action shall be brought by any such Delinquent, or scandalous Ministers, or any other claiming by or under them, for their Livings, Tythes, and Profits, as they are authorized unto by any Order or Ordinance in other cases.
It is lastly ordered and Ordained, That if any such scandalous or Delinquent Minister put out as aforesaid, their Aiders or Abettors, shall at any time hereafter disturb, molest, or hinder such Minister as is put into such Church or Chappel as aforesaid, in the exercising of the Office of his Ministry, upon proof thereof made upon the Oath of two Witnesses, before the said Sheriffs, Majors, Bailiffs, Justices of Peace, Deputy-Lieutenants, or Committees of Parliament, or any two of them; it shall and may be lawfull to and for the said Sheriffs, Majors, Bailiffs, Justices of the Peace, Deputy-Lieutenants, or Committees of Parliament, or any two of them, to commit such Offendor or Offendors to Prison for one Moneth, so often as he or they shall so offend.