April 1650: An Act for the better Observation of the Lords-Day, Days of Thanksgiving and Humiliation.

Pages 383-387

Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

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April, 1650

[19 April, 1650.]

Goods cryed, or put to sale on the Lords day, or other days of Humiliation or Thanks-giving, to be seized.

For the more effectual executing of all such Laws, Statutes and Ordinances of Parliament, for the due Observation and Sanctification of the Lords-Day, days of Publique Humiliation and Thanks giving, and for the further preventing the prophanation thereof, It is Enacted and Declared by this present Parliament, and by the Authority of the same, That all and every High Constable, Petty Constable, Headborough, Churchwarden or Overseer of the Poor or other Officers, or any of the Governors of the Company of Watermen, upon their own view or knowledge of any the offence or offences committed or done against any Article, Clause or Provision of any the said Laws, Statutes or Ordinances; and all and every person and persons whatsoever, by Warrant from any Justice of Peace, Major, Bayliff or other Head-Officer, are hereby authorized and required to seize and secure all such Wares or Goods cryed, shewed forth or put to sale upon the days and times aforesaid, contrary to this present Act, or any Statute or Ordinance of Parliament, to the end proceedings may be thereupon had, according to the true intent and meaning of this present Act, or any the said Laws, Statutes and Ordinances.

Traveller, Waggoner, &c. not observing those days, to forfeit ten shillings.

And it is further Enacted, That no Traveller, Waggoner, Butcher, Higler, Drover, their or any of their Servants, shall travel or come into his or their Inn or Lodging, after Twelve of the Clock on any Saturday night; nor shall any person travel from his House, Inn or other place, till after one a clock on Munday morning, without good and urgent cause, not incurred through the neglect or occasion of the person so doing, to be allowed by any Justice of the Peace or Head-Officer before whom complaint shall be made, upon pain that every such Traveller, Waggoner, Butcher, Higler, Drover and their Servants, and also every Inn-keeper and Alehouse-keeper that shall so entertain him or them, shall each of them forfeit Ten shillings for every such offence.

Any Writ, Warrant, &c. executed on those days to be of no effect,; and the person offending to forfeit five pounds.

And if any Writ, Warrant or Order (except in case of Treason Murther, Felony, or breach of the Peace, prophanation of the Lordsday, days of Thanksgiving or Humiliation, or suspition of them or either or any of them) shall be from and after the First day of May, in the year One thousand six hundred and fifty, served or executed upon any the aforesaid days, every such execution of such Writ, Warrant or Order upon the said days respectively, shall be, and is hereby declared to be of no effect; and the person or persons that shall serve or execute such Writ, Warrant or Order, or cause the same to be served or executed, shall forfeit and pay to the use of the poor of the Parish where such Offence shall be committed, Five pounds, to be levied upon his or their goods and Chattels in maner aforesaid, rendring the overplus.

No person to use or travel with Boat, Horse, Coach, or Sedan, except to Church, upon pain of ten shillings.

And it is further Enacted and Declared by the Authority aforesaid, That no person or persons shall use, imploy or travel upon the Lords-Day, or the said days of Humiliation or Thanksgiving, with any Boat, Wherry, Lighter, Barge, Horse, Coach or Sedan, either in the City of London or elsewhere (except it be to or from some place for the service of God, or upon other extraordinary occasion, to be allowed by the next Justice of Peace to the place where the said fact shall be committed), upon pain that every such person or persons that shall use such Boat, Wherry, Lighter, Barge, Horse, Coach or Sedan, contrary to the true meaning of this present Act (except it be in the Cases aforesaid) shall for every such Offence, forfeit and lose the sum of Ten shillings; and that every Boatman, Sedan-man, Coach-man or other person, that shall so labor or travel in or with any such Boat, Wherry, Lighter, Barge, Sedan, Horse or Coach, shall forfeit for every such offence, Five shillings.

The like penalty for being in a Tavern, Alehouse, &c.; Dancing.; Grinding Corn.

And it is further Enacted and Declared, That every person and persons which upon the said Lords Day, days of Humiliation or Thanksgiving, shall be in any Tavern, Inn, Alehouse, Tobaccohouse or Shop, or Victualling-house (unless he lodge there, or be there upon some lawful or necessary occasion) to be allowed of by such Judge, Justice, or other person who is authorized by this Act to put the same in execution; and every person or persons which upon the said days shall be dancing, prophanely singing, drinking, or tipling in any Tavern, Inn, Alehouse, Victualling-house, or Tobacco-house or Shop, or shall harbor or entertain any person or persons so offending; or which shall grinde or cause to be ground in any Mill, any Corn or Grain upon any the said days, except in case of necessity, to be allowed by a Justice of the Peace, every such Offender shall forfeit and pay the sum of ten shillings for every such offence, to be levied as aforesaid.

Officers to make diligent search for discovery of offenders.; Justices negligent herein, to forfeit 5 1.; Constable to forfeit 20s. Where disress is not to be found, the offender to sit in the Stocks six hours.

And for the more vigorous and due execution of the Laws, Statutes and Ordinances aforesaid, and of this present Act, It is hereby further Enacted, That every Justice of the Peace, Head-Officer or Officers of every Town Corporate or place, and every Constable, Headborough, Churchwarden, Overseer of the Poor, and Governors of the Company of Watermen, and other persons authorized as aforesaid, are hereby required and enjoyned to make diligent search for the discovering, finding out, apprehending and punishing of all Offenders against this and other Laws, Ordinances and Acts made for the Observation of the Lords-Day, and Days of Publique Fasting and Thanksgiving: And if any the said Justices of Peace, and other Officers aforesaid, upon View or Information of any the said Offences to be committed, shall be negligent, or refuse to do his duty in putting this or other the said Ordinances, Laws or Acts in execution, every such Justice of the Peace, and other Head-Officer, upon proof thereof before the Lord Chief Justice of either Bench, or Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, or before any Judge or Judges of Assize, by one or more Witnesses, or by view or confession of the party, shall for every such Offence incur the Penalty of Five pounds, and upon refusal of payment thereof, to be levyed on his Goods or Chattels, by Warrant from the said Lord Chief Justices, or Lord Chief Baron, Judge or Judges of Assize respectively, by distress and sale of the Goods of every such person, returning the overplus; and every High Constable, Petty Constable, Churchwarden and other Officer, shall forfeit and pay for his neglect aforesaid, the sum of Twenty shillings; and for default of payment thereof, the same to be levyed by Warrant from any Justice of the Peace, directed to the High Constable of the Hundred, or other Officer where the Offence shall be committed, for the levying of the said penalty by way of distress and sale of the Offenders Goods, and returning the overplus as aforesaid: And all other Penalties imposed by this Act, for which no way of levying is provided by the said former Laws and Ordinances, shall be levyed by Warrant from any one Justice of Peace, Major, Bayliff or Head-Officer, by distress and sale of the Offenders goods; and for want of payment thereof, or such distress to be found, by setting the Offenders in the Stocks or Cage for the space of six hours.

Neglects of execution of this Act to be given in charge in Circuits and Courts.

And it is likewise Enacted and Declared, That all Judges, Justices of Assize, and Justices of Peace at their Assizes or Quarter-Sessions, shall in their several and respective Circuits and Courts give in charge to the Grand Jury, to enquire of and present all neglects of Justices, Constables, and other Officers in the due execution of this present Act, and other Laws, Ordinances and Statutes made for the Observation of the Lords-day, and Days of Publique Fasting and Thanksgiving, who are hereby strictly commanded to present the same.

Lord Major, Sheriffs, Governors of the Inns of Courts, to take speedy course to restrain the prophanation of those days.

And it is also hereby Enacted, That the Lord Major and Aldermen. Sheriffs, and Justices of Peace of the City of London, County of Middlesex, and City of Westminster, and Borough of Southwark, together with the Heads and Governors of the several Inns of Court and Chancery; and all and every Justice of Peace, Majors, Bayliffs; and other Head-Officers, and every of them, are hereby authorized and required to take a speedy and effectual course, by such means as they shall think most meet within their respective Jurisdictions, to restrain as aforesaid the prophanation of the said Days; upon pain that the Lord Major, Aldermen, Sheriffs and Justices in London, and Middlesex, and Westminster, Heads of the several Inns of Court and Chancery, Justices and other HeadOfficers, which shall neglect to do what belongs to their several duties and places therein, shall forfeit the sum of Five pounds, to be levyed in such maner as the Fines imposed on Justices of Peace for their neglects, are hereby appointed to be levyed as aforesaid.

And it is Enacted and Declared by the Authority aforesaid, That this Act be forthwith printed, and bound up together with all the former Statutes and Ordinances now in force for Observation of the Lords-day, Publique Fasting and Thanksgiving days, and published by the Justice of Peace, or Chief Officer or Officers aforesaid, and read at their next Quarter Sessions after they shall receive the same; and also by them sent unto or left at the several houses of the Ministers of the respective Parishes within their respective limits, who are hereby required and appointed in all the Churches and Chappels within this Commonwealth, publikely to read or cause to be read, all and every the said Statutes and

This Act to be yearly read in all Churches the first Lords-day in March.

Ordinances so bound up together, the next Lords-day after he or they shall receive the same, before the morning Sermon; and that afterwards once every year (viz.) Upon the first Lords-day in March, before the morning Sermon, they read or cause to be read likewise this present, and the former Acts and Ordinances aforesaid; the due performance whereof the said Justices of Peace and other HeadOfficers are commanded to inquire after, and certifie the names of the persons making default in reading and publishing the premises, according to this present Act, to the Speaker of the Parliament, and in the intervals thereof, to the Council of State; and the Justices of Peace at their Quarter Sessions, shall duly cause this Act, together with the said Statutes and Ordinances, to be openly read.

Justices and Constables, issued may plead the general Issue.

And it is lastly Enacted, That in any Action brought against any Justice of Peace, Constable, or any other Officer or person acting or doing, or commanding to be acted or done any thing in pursuance of this or any former Law, Act or Ordinance now in force touching or concerning any the Offences or matters aforesaid, the Defendant in every such Action shall and may plead the General Issue, and give the special matter in Evidence; and upon the Non-Suit of the Plaintiff, or Verdict passing for the Defendant, the party Defendant shall have and recover his and their treble Costs, or at the election of such party, shall have his reparation by the Committee of Parliament for Indempnity. And it is hereby Ordained, That all persons whatsoever shall be ayding and assisting to all Justices of Peace, Head-Officers, Constables, and other Officers and persons, in the execution of this or the said former Acts and Ordinances in and concerning the premises.