William and Mary, 1692: An Act for the more easie discoverie and conviction of such as shall destroy the Game of this Kingdome. [Chapter XXIII. Rot. Parl. pt. 5. nu. 5.]

Pages 414-416

Statutes of the Realm: Volume 6, 1685-94. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1819.

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Laws against Game not hereby repealed to be executed.

Whereas diverse good and necessary Laws have been heretofore made for the better preservation of the Game notwithstanding which Laws or for want of the due execuc[i]on thereof the Game of this Kingdome hath been very much destroyed by many idle persons who afterwards betake themselves to Robberies Burglaries or other like offences and neglect theire lawfull imployments. For remedy whereof and the more effectual preservation of the Game be it enacted by the King and Queens most Excellent Majesties by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Co[m]mons in this present Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same That all and every Law and Statute now in force for the better preservation of the Game and every article and thing in them contained and not herein and hereby altered or repealed shall be duely put in execuc[i]on according to the tenor of the said Laws and under the penalties therein contained to be raised levied and disposed of as in and by the said Laws are directed.

II. Constable by Warrant from a Justice may search Houses of suspected Persons as by 3 & 4 (3) W. & M. c. 10.

If Hare, &c. be found, and Owner not giving good Account, to be convicted by a Justice; Penalty.; Distress.; If no Distress, Imprisonment, &c.; Unqualified Person having Greyhounds, &c.; Penalty.; How convicted.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid That for the more easie conviction of such Offenders as by the said Laws are prohibited every Constable Headborough and Tythingman being thereunto authorized by Warrant of one or more Justice of the Peace under his or their hands and seales shall and may have full power and authority and is hereby required to enter into and search (in such manner and with such power as in and by An Act for the more effectual discovery and punishment of Deer Stealers made in the Third and Fourth yeares of Their present Majesties Reigne is provided in case of Venison or Skin of any Deer or Toyles) the House or Houses Outhouses or other places belonging to such Houses of suspected persons not qualified as aforesaid And in case any Hare Partridge Phesant Pidgeon Fish Fowle or other Game shall (upon such search or otherwise) be found the Offender shall be carried before some Justice of Peace of the same County Riding or Division And if such person doe not give a good account how hee came by such Hare Partridge Pheasant Pidgeon Fish Fowle or other Game such as shall satisfie the said Justice or else shall not in some convenient time to be sett by the said Justice produce the party of whom hee bought the same or some other credible person to depose upon oath such sale thereof that then such person not giving such good account nor produceing [any (fn. 1) ] such Witnesse as aforesaid shall be convicted by the said Justice of such Offence and upon such Conviction shall forfeit for every Hare Partridge Phesant Pidgeon Fish Fowle or other Game any su[m]m not under five shillings and not exceeding [the sume of (fn. 1) ] twenty shillings to be ascertained by the said Justice one moiety thereof to be paid to the Informer and the other moiety to the Poor of the Parish where the Offence was co[m]mitted the same to be levied by distresse and sale of the Offenders goods by warrant under the hand and seale of the Justice before whom the Offender shall be convicted rendring the overplus if any be And for want of distresse the Offender or Offenders shall be co[m]mitted to the House of Correction for any time not exceeding one month and not lesse then ten days there to be whipt and kept to Hard Labour And in case any person or persons not qualified by the Laws of this Realme so to do shall have keep or use any Bows Greyhounds Setting Dogs Ferritts Coney Dogs Hayes Lurchers Netts Tunnels Lowbels Hare-Pipes Snares or any other Instruments for destruction of Fish Fowle or other Game and shall be thereof convicted upon such evidence as aforesaid the person or persons so convicted shall forfeit and be subject to the same pains and penalties as are hereby directed to be inflicted upon the person or persons who shall be found to have any Hare, Partridge Phesant Pidgeon Fish Fowle or other Game as aforesaid and if any person or persons so produced or charged with the said Offence shall not before the same Justice give such evidence of his innocence as aforesaid he shall be convicted thereof in the same manner as the person or persons first charged therewith is hereby directed to be and soe from person to person until the first Offender shall be discovered.

III. Gamekeepers authorized by 22 & 23 Car. II. c. 25. § 2. may oppose Persons in the Night.

And to the end all Keepers and Gamekeepers mentioned in and duely authorized according to the Act made in the Reigne of the late King Charles the Second may be indempnified in the execuc[i]on of the said Office be it enacted that all Lords of Man[n]ors or other Royalties or any person or persons authorized by them as Game-keepers shall and may within their respective Man[n]ors or Royalties oppose and resist such Offender in the night time in the same manner and be equally indempnifyed for soe doeing as if such fact had been co[m]mitted within any ancient Chase Parke or Warren inclosed whatsoever.

IV. Persons not Owners of Fisheries, not to keep Nets, &c.

Owner of Fishery may seize Nets, &c. used in his Fishery, and Persons authorized by him or other Persons by Warrant may search for Nets, and seize and dispose of them.

And whereas diverse idle disorderly and mean persons have and keep Nets Angles Leaps Piches and other Engines for the takeing and killing of Fish out of the Ponds Waters Rivers and other Fisheries to the damage of the Owners thereof be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid That no person or persons whatsoever shall and may att any time or times from and after the Five and twentieth day of March which shall be in the yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety three have or keep any Net Angle Leap Piche or other Engine for the takeing of Fish (other then the Makers and Sellers thereof for their better conveniency in the sale of the same And other then the Owner [& (fn. 2) ] Occupier of [any (fn. 3) ] River or Fishery for the time being) And moreover that it shall and may be lawfull not onely for the Owner or Occupier of any River or Fishery and alsoe for all and every other person and persons by him or them for that purpose appointed to seize detaine and keep to his and their owne use and uses all and every Net Angle Leap Piche and other Engine which he or they shall find used or laid or in the custody or possession of any person or persons whatsoever [fishing in any River or Fishery whatsoever (fn. 2) ] without the consent of the Owner or Occupier thereof but alsoe for any person or persons whatsoever (being thereunto authorized by Warrant under the hand and seale of any Justice of the Peace of the same County Division Burrough Towne Corporate or any other place in the day time) to search the houses outhouses or other places of any person or persons hereby prohibited to have or keep the same as shall be supected to have or keep in his or their custody or possession any Nett Angle Leap Piche or other Engine aforesaid and the same and every or any of them to seize detaine and keep to his and their owne use and uses or otherwise to cutt in peices or destroy as things by this Act prohibited to be kept by persons of their degree.

V. Proviso for Fishermen, &c. lawfully authorized.

Provided always that this Act or any thing therein contained shall not extend or be construed to extend to abridge any Fisherman or his Apprentice or Apprentices lawfully authorized to fish in Navigable Rivers or Waters with lawfull nets and engines but that every of them shall and may (according to the laws and orders made and to be made and settled for the good order rule and government of such Navigable Rivers and Waters use the trade of Fishing as they lawfully might have done before the makeing of this Act any thing in this Act contained to the contrary [in any wise (fn. 3) ] notwithstanding.

VI. No Certiorari on Conviction, excep Party convicted give £50 Securit to pay Costs.

No double Penalty.

And whereas diverse Offenders duely convicted do comonly p[ro]cure Writts of Certiorari to remove such convictions into superiour Courts att Westminster in hopes thereby to discourage and weary out such persons injured by great delays expences and incertainties be it therefore enacted That no Certiorari shall be allowed to remove any conviction made or other proceeding of for or concerning any matter or thing in this Act unlesse the partie or parties against whom such conviction shall be made shall before the allowance of such Certiorari become bound to the person or persons prosecuteing in the su[m]m of Fifty pounds with such sufficient Sureties as the [Justice or (fn. 2) ] Justices of the Peace before whom such Offender was convicted shall think fitt with condition to pay unto the said Prosecutors (within one month after such conviction confirmed or Procedendo granted) their full Costs and Charges to be ascertained upon their Oaths And that in default thereof it shall be lawfull for the said Justice and Justices and others to proceed to the due execuc[i]on of such conviction in such manner as if no Certiorari had been awarded. Provided That where any Offender shall be punished by force of this Act ( (fn. 4) ) hee shall not be prosecuted nor incurr the penalty of any other Law or Statute for the same Offence.

VII. In Actions for executing Act,

General Issue may be pleaded.; Treble Costs.

Provided [alwaies (fn. 2) ] That if any Action Bill Plaint or Suite shall att any time after the said Five and twentieth day of March be co[m]menced or brought against any person or persons whatsoever for or by reason of any matter or thing which hee or they shall doe in pursuance of this Act it shall and may be lawfull to and for the person or persons so sued or prosecuted to plead the General Issue and give this Act or any other special matter in evidence And if the Verdict shall passe with the Defendant or Defendants in such Action or the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs become nonsuit or suffer any [discontinuance (fn. 5) ] thereof that in [any (fn. 6) ] such case such Defendant or Defendants shall have his or their treble costs which he or they shall have sustained in defence of such Action or Suit for which the said Defendant or Defendants shall have the like remedy as in other cases where costs by the Laws of this Realme are given to the Defendants.

VIII. Inferior Tradesmen, &c. hunting.

Penalties, and Trespass also lies.

And whereas great mischiefs doe ensue by inferiour Tradesmen Apprentics and other dissolute persons-neglecting their Trades and Employments who follow Hunting Fishing and other Game to the ruine of themselves and damage of their Neighbours For Remedy whereof Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid That if any such person as aforesaid shall presume to hunt hawke fish or fowle (unlesse in company with the Master of such Apprentice duely qualified by law) such person or persons shall be subject to the penalties of this Act and shall or may be sued and prosecuted for their wilfull Trespasse in such their comeing on any persons land and if found guilty thereof the plaintiffe shall not only recover his damages thereby sustained but his full Costs of suit Any former law to the contrary notwithstanding.

IX. Burning Ling, &c. upon Heaths.


[Provided always and be it enacted That for the better preserving the red and black Game of Growse co[m]monly called Heath Cocks or Heath Polts no person whatsoever on any Mountaines Hills Heaths Moors Forests Chases or other Wasts shall presume to burne between the second day of February and Twenty fourth of June any Grig Ling Heath Furz Gosse or Ferne upon pain that the offender or offenders shall be committed to the House of Correction for any tyme not exceeding one month and not lesse then ten days there to be whipt and kept to hard labour. (fn. 7) ]


  • 1. interlined on the Roll.
  • 2. interlined on the Roll.
  • 3. a O.
  • 4. that O.
  • 5. discountenance, in King's Printer's Copy.
  • 6. every O.
  • 7. This Proviso is annexed in a separate Schedule to the Original Act.