Charles I, 1640: An Act for the prevention of vexatious proceedings touching the Order of Knighthood.

Page 131

Statutes of the Realm: Volume 5, 1628-80. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1819.

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Recital that Writs issued for Persons to take the Order of Knighthood;

and that upon Return of such Writs, Distringas had issued and grievous Fines had been imposed; and that such Proceedings are unreasonable.; No Person shall be compelled to take on him the Order of Knighthood, nor undergo any Fine for not receiving the same.; Process to the contrary, void.

Whereas upon pretext of an ancient custom or usage of this Realm of England That Men of full age being not Knights and being seised of Lands or Rents of the yearely value of fourty pounds or more (especially if theire seisin had so continued by the space of three yeares next past) might be compelled by the Kings Writ to receive or take upon them the order or dignity of Knighthood or else to make Fine for the discharge or respite of the same severall Writs about the begining of his Majesties reign issued out of the Court of Chancery for Proclamations to be made in every County to that purpose and for certifying the names of all such persons and for summoning them personally to appeare in the Kings presence before a certain day to be there ready to receive the said Order or Dignity Upon return of which Writs and transmitting the same with theire Returns into the Court of Exchequer and upon other Writs for further inquiry of the names of such persons issuing out of the said Court of Exchequer Processe by Distringas was thence made against a very great number of persons many of which were altogeather unfit in regard either of estate or quality to receive the said Order or Dignity and very Many were put to greivous Fines and other vexations for the same although in truth it were not sufficiently knowne how or in what sort or where they or any of them should or might have addressed themselves for the receiving the said Order or Dignity and for saving themselves thereby from the said Fines Processe and vexations And whereas it is most apparant that all and every such proceeding in regard of the matter therein pretended is altogether uselesse and unreasonable May it therefore please your most Excellent Majestie that it be by authority of Parliament declared and enacted. And be it declared and enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majestie and the Lords and Commons in this Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same that from henceforth no person or persons of what condition quality estate or degree soever shall at any time be distrained or otherwaies compelled by any Writ or Processe of the Court of Chancery or Court of Exchequer or otherwise by any meanes whatsoever to receive or take upon him or them respectively the Order or Dignity of Knighthood nor shall suffer or undergoe any Fine Trouble or Molestation whatsoever by reason or colour of his or theire having not received or not taken upon him or them the said Order or Dignity And that all and every Writ or Processe whatsoever and all and every proceeding which shall hereafter be had or made contrary to the intent of this Act shall bee deemed and adjudged to be utterly void And that all and every Processe proceeding and charge now depending by reason or colour of the said pretended custome or Writs aforesaid or of any the Dependants thereof shall from henceforth cease and stand be and remain discharged and utterly void Any former Law or Custome or any pretence of any former Law or Custome or any other Matter whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.