Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[24 August, 1642.]
Whereas the Kings most excellent Majesty upon the request of the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled & by and with their advice and consent, considering the lamentable and distressed condition of His good subjects in the Kingdome of Ireland; (that there may be a generall humiliation of all the estates of this Kingdome before Almighty God in Fasting and Prayer) was graciously pleased to Command the keeping of a monethly Fast; and to the end that all persons might the better take notice thereof (and to leave such without excuse as should not duly keep and observe the same) did afterward by his Proclamation of the 8 of January 1641, appoint that the same should be generally, publikely, and solemnely holden and kept, as well by abstinence from food, as by publike Prayers, Preaching, and Hearing of the Word of God, and other Religious and Holy Duties, in all Cathedrals, Collegiate and Parish Churches, and Chappels within the Kingdome of England, and Dominion of Wales (without any exception) on the last Wednesday of every Moneth, to continue during the troubles in the said Kingdome of Ireland: All which his Majesty did straitly charge and command should bee reverently and devoutly performed by all his subjects, as they desire the blessing of Almighty God, and would avoid his heavie indignation against this Land and the People; and upon paine of such punishments as may justly inflicted upon all such as shall contemne or neglect so Religious a work and duty.
And whereas the Lords and Commons in both Houses of parliament, have received divers Informations from severall parts of this Kingdome and Dominion of Wales, of the great neglect of the due observation and keeping of the said Fast upon the daies appointed, and of the prophanations of the same by many irreligious, ill-affected, loose, and scandalous persons, as well of the Clergy as others, who are so farre from afflicting their soules: and loosing the bands of wickednesse, as that they provoke the Wrath of Almighty God, and make so pious a meanes to procure his blessings, the occasion of greater Judgements.
The people to be exhorted in all Churches, etc., to keep the Public Fast.; And not to use any Sport or Trade on the day thereof; Offenders names to be returned to the Knights of the County.
For the prevention whereof for time to come, the Lords and Commons doe Order, Declare, Ordaine, that in all and every the Cathedrals, Collegiate, and Parish Churches, and Chappels within the Kingdome of England and Dominion of Wales, (without any exception) upon every Lords day, next and immediately before any the dayes appointed for the said publike Fast, the Parson Vicar, Curate, or Minister, that upon that day shall officiate, or exercise in any of the said Cathedrals, Collegiate, Parish Churches, or Chappels respectively, of the Fast-day next ensuing immediately after Sermon or Prayer ended in the forenoon before the Congregation be dismissed, earnestly exhorting and persuading all the people to the solemne due keeping and religious observation of the whole day appointed for the said Fast, and that they would repaire to some Church or Chappell, there diligently and reverently to attend all such holy Duties as shall be used in the observance of the same; that they forbeare to use all manner of Sportes and Pastimes whatsoever, and their ordinary Trades and Callings upon the said day, as well Carriers, Waggoners, Carters, Waynemen, Drovers, Butchers, Hucksters, Shop-keepers, Labourers, or any other using and Art, Trade, Mystery, or Manuall Occupation whatsoever, and that all Vintners, Taverners, Alehouse-keepers, and keepers of Victualling-houses, doe forbeare to keep open their Doors, Bulks, or Shops, or to sell or utter (except in cases of extreame necessity) any Wine, Beere, Ale, or Victuall, till the publike exercises, and religious duties of that day in the respective Cathedrals, Collegiate, Parish Churches, and Chappels be past and over. And lastly, all and every the Justices of the Peace, Maiors, Bailiffes, Constables, Churchwardens, and other Officers inhabiting or residing within the limits or precincts of any such Cathedrall, Collegiate, Parish-Church or Chappell, are hereby required to take speciall notice as well of such Parsons, Vicar, Curate, or other Minister that ought to officiate in any of the said Cathedrals, Collegiate, and Parish Churches or Chappels, upon any such day appointed for any such Fast, that shall either refuse or neglect to doe the same, or not doe or cause the same to be done in that religious and solemne manner as it ought to be, or that shall refuse to give notice of the Fast-day at the time, and in the manner as aforesaid, and forthwith to returne their names, and the names of all such (from time to time) as shall wilfully offend herein, in contempt of the Lawes His Majesty, and both Houses of Parliament, unto some one or more of the Knights, Citizens, or Burgesses that serve for the County where such offence is or shall be committed, that some speedy course may be taken for the severe punishing of such as shall offend hereby, according to the Laws.