April 1644: An Ordinance for the better observation of the Lords-Day.

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

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, 'April 1644: An Ordinance for the better observation of the Lords-Day.', in Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660, (London, 1911) pp. 420-422. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/acts-ordinances-interregnum/pp420-422 [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "April 1644: An Ordinance for the better observation of the Lords-Day.", in Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660, (London, 1911) 420-422. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/acts-ordinances-interregnum/pp420-422.

. "April 1644: An Ordinance for the better observation of the Lords-Day.", Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660, (London, 1911). 420-422. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/acts-ordinances-interregnum/pp420-422.

April 1644

[8 April, 1644.]

Forasmuch as the Lords-day, notwithstanding several good Lawes heretofore made, hath been not onely greatly prophaned, but divers ungodly Books have been published by the Prelatical Faction, against the morality of that day, and to countenance the prophanation of the same, to the manifest indangering of souls, prejudice of the true Religion, great dishonour of Almighty God, and provocation of his just wrath and indignation against this Land;

Former Lawes to be put in execution.; Selling of Wares forbidden.; Travel and worldly labour.

The Lords and Commons for remedy thereof, do Order and Ordam, and be it Ordered and Ordained, That all the Lawes Enacted and in force, concerning the observation of the Lordsday, be carefully put in execution; and that all and singular person and persons whatsoever, shall on every Lords-day, apply themselves to the sanctification of the same, by exercising themselves thereon, in the duties of Piety and true Religion, publickly and privately: And that no person or persons whatsoever, shall publickly cry, shew forth or expose to sale, any Wares, Merchandizes, Fruit, Herbs, Goods or Chattels whatsoever, upon the Lords day, or any part thereof; upon pain, That every person so offending, shall forfeit the same Goods so cryed, shewed forth, or put to sale: And that no person or persons whatsoever shall, without reasonable cause for the same, travel, carry burthens, or do any worldly labours, or work whatsoever, on that day, or any part thereof; upon pain, That every one travelling contrary to the meaning of this Ordinance, shall forfeit for every offence, ten shillings of lawfull money; and that every person carrying any burthen, or doing any worldly labour or work, contrary to the meaning thereof, shall forfeit five shillings of like money for every such offence.

Recreations and Pastimes.

And be it further Ordained, That no person or persons shall hereafter upon the Lords-day, use, exercise, keep, maintain, or be present at any wrastlings, Shooting, Bowling, Ringing of Bells for Pleasure or Pastime, Masque, Wake, otherwise called Feasts, Church-Ale, Dancing, Games, Sport or Pastime whatsoever; upon pain, That every person so offending, being above the age of fourteen years, shall lose, and forfeit five shillings for every such offence.

Children committing the said Offences.

And be it further Ordained, That all and singular person and persons, that have the care, government, tuition or education of any childe or children, under, or within the age of fourteen years shall forfeit and lose twelve pence for every of the said offence that shall be committed by any such childe and children.

May-poles shall be removed.

And because the prophanation of the Lords-day hath been heretofore greatly occasioned by May-Poles, (a Heathenish vanity, generally abused to superstition and wickedness.) The Lords and Commons do further Order and Ordain, That all and singular May-Poles, that are, or shall be erected, shall be taken down and removed by the Constables, Borsholders, Tything-men, petty Constables, and Churchwardens of the Parishes, and places where the same be: And that no May-Pole shall be hereafter set up, erected, or suffered to be within this Kingdome of England, or Dominion of Wales.

Forfeiture for neglect.

And it is further Ordained, That if any of the said Officers shall neglect to do their Office in the Premisses, within one week after the notice of this Ordinance, every of them, for such neglect shall forfeit Five shillings of lawfull Moneys; and so from week to week, weekly Five shillings more afterwards, till the said MayPole shall be taken down, and removed.

Stocks.; How the penalties shall be imployed.

And that if any Justice of the Peace of the County, or the chief Officer or Officers, or any Justice of the Peace, of, or within any City, Borough, or Town-Corporate, where the said offences shall be committed, upon his or their view, or confession of the party, or proof of any one, or more witnesses by Oath (which the said Justice, chief Officer or Officers, is by this Ordinance authorized to minister) shall find any Person offending in the Premisses, the said Justice, or chief Officer or Officers, shall give Warrant under His or their Hand and Seal, to the Constables or Churchwardens of the Parish or Parishes where such offence shall be committed, to seize the said Goods, cryed, shewed forth, or put to sale as aforesaid; and to levy the said other Forfeitures or Penalties by way of Distress and Sale of the Goods of every such Offender, rendring to the said Offenders the over-plus of the money raised thereby; and in default of such distress, or in case of insufficiency, or inability of the offender to pay the said Forfeitures or Penalties, That the party offending be set publiquely in the Stocks by the space of three hours: And all and singular the Forfeitures and Penalties aforesaid, shall be imployed and converted to the use of the Poor of the Parish where the said offences shall be committed, saving onely, that it shall and may be lawfull, to, and for any such Justice, Major, or Head-Officer or Officers, out of the said Forfeitures or Penalties, to reward any person or persons that shall inform of any offence against this Ordinance, according to their discretions; so as such reward exceed not the third part of the Forfeiture or Penalties.

Declaration for Sports to be burnt.

And it is further Ordained by the said Lords and Common The the Kings Declaration concerning observing of Wakes, and use of exercise and recreation upon the Lords Day; the Book intituled, The Kings Majesties Declaration to his Subjects, concerning lawfull Sports to be used; and all other books and Pamphlets that have been, or shall be Written, Printed, or Published, against the Morality of the fourth Commandement, or of the Lords Day, or to counterance the prophanation thereof, be called in, seized, suppressed, and publiquely burnt by the Justices of Peace, or some, on one of them, or by the chief Officer or Officers aforesaid, in their several Limits, or by their warrant or command.

Dressing meat in private Families, Innes, &c.

Provided, and be it Declared, That nothing in this Ordinance shall extend to the prohibiting of dressing of Meat in private Families, or the dressing and sale of Victuals in a moderate way in Innes or Victualling-houses, for the use of such as cannot otherwise be provided for; or to the crying or selling milk before Nine of the Clock in the Morning, or after four of the Clock in the Afternoon, from the Tenth of September till the Tenth of March; or before Eight of the Clock in the Morning, or after Five of the Clock in the Afternoon, from the Tenth of March till the Tenth of September.

Laws against Rogues and Vagabonds to be executed.

And whereas there is great breach of the Sabbath, by Rogues, Vagabonds, and Beggars, It is further Ordained, That the Lord Major of the City of London, and all Justices of Peace, Constables, Churchwardens, and other Officers and Ministers whatsoever, shall from time to time, cause all Laws against Rogues, and Vagabonds, and Beggars, to be put in due execution; and take order, that all Rogues, Vagabonds, and Beggars do on every Sabbath-Day repair to some Church and Chappel, and remain there soberly and orderly, during the time of Divine-Worship.


And that all and singular Person and Persons, that shall do any thing in the execution of this Ordinance, shall be protected and saved harmless by the Power and Authority of Parliament.

This Ord. to be printed and published.

And be it further Ordained, That this Ordinance be Printed and published, and read in all Parish Churches and Chappels, before the Sermon in the Morning, on some Lords-Day, before the First of May next, on the South-side of Trent; and before the First of June next, on the North-side of Trent.