Charles I, 1625: An Acte for punishing of divers abuses co[m]mitted on the Lords day called Sunday.

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

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Profanation of the Lord's Day;

No Meetings for Sports by People out of their own Parishes, nor Bearbaitings, &c. within them on the Lord's Day.; Penalty, 3 s. 4 d. leviable by Distress; or in Default, Punishment by the Stocks.; Limitation of Prosecution.; Proviso for Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.; Continuance of Act.

FORASMUCH as there is nothing more acceptable to God then the true and sincere Service and worshipp of him according to his holy Will, and that the holy keeping of the Lords day, is a principall part of the true Service of God, which in very many places of this Realme hath beene and now is p[ro]faned and neglected by a disorderlie sort of people, in exercising and frequenting Bearebaiting, Bullbaiting, Enterludes, com[m]on Playes, and other unlawfull exercises and pastimes upon the Lords day; And for that many quarrells bloodshedds and other great inconveniences have growen by the resort and concourse of people going out of their owne Parishes to such disordered and unlawfull exercises and pastimes neglecting Divine service both in their owne Parishes and elswhere, Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majestie, the Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and the Co[m]mons in this p[re]sent Parliament assembled, and by the Authoritie of the same, That from and after fortie dayes next after the end of this Session of Parliament, there shalbe no meetings assemblies or concourse of people out of their owne Parishes on the Lords day within this Realme of England, or any the Dominions thereof, for any sports or pastimes whatsoever; nor any Bearebaiting, Bullbaiting, Enterludes co[m]mon Playes or other unlawfull exercises or pastimes used by any p[er]son or p[er]sons within their owne Parishes, and that every p[er]son and p[er]sons offending in any the p[re]misses, shall forfeit for every offence three shillings foure pence, The same to be employed and converted to the use of the poore of the Parish where such offence shalbe co[m]mitted, And that any one Justice of the Peace of the Countie, or the cheife Officer or Officers of any Cittie Borough or Towne corporate where such offence shalbe co[m]mitted uppon his or their view, or confession of the partie, or proofe of any one or more witnesse by oath, which the said Justice or cheife Officer or Officers shall by vertue of this Act have authoritie to minister, shall fynde any p[er]son offending in the p[re]misses, the said Justice or cheife Officer or Officers, shall give warrant under his or their hand and Seale to the [Constables (fn. 1) ] or Churchwardens of the Parishe or Parishes where such offence shalbe co[m]mitted to levie the said penaltie so to be assessed, by way of distresse and sale of the goods of every such offendor, rendring to the said offenders the overplus of the monie raised of the said goods so to be sold, And in default of such distres, that the partie offending, be set publiquelie in the stocks by the space of three houres; And that if any man be sued or impeached for execucion of this Lawe, he shall and may pléad the generall issue, and give the said matter of Justificacion in evidence. Provided that no man be impeached by this Act, except he be called in question within one moneth next after the said offence co[m]mitted. Provided also, that the Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiccion within this Realme, or any the Dominions thereof, by vertue of this Act or any thing therein conteyned, shall not be abridged, but that the Ecclesiasticall Court may punish the said offences, as if this acte had not bene made: This Act to contynue untill the end of the first Session of the next Parliament, and no longer.


  • 1. Constable O.