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81. ELIZABETH: STATUTES

(A) Act of Supremacy (1559)

An act restoring to the crown the ancient jurisdiction over the state ecclesiastical and spiritual and abolishing all foreign power repugnant to the same. Most humbly beseech your most excellent majesty your faithful and obedient subjects, the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in this your present parliament assembled, that, where in time of the reign of your most dear father of worthy memory, King Henry VIII, divers good laws and statutes were made and established, as well for the utter extinguishment and putting away of all usurped and foreign powers and authorities out of this your realm and other your highness's dominions and countries, as also for the restoring and uniting to the imperial crown of this realm the ancient jurisdictions, authorities, superiorities, and pre-eminences to the same of right belonging and appertaining; by reason whereof we, your most humble and obedient subjects, from the five-and-twentieth year of the reign of your said dear father, were continually kept in good order, and were disburdened of divers great and intolerable charges and exactions before that time unlawfully taken and exacted by such foreign power and authority as before that was usurped, until such time as all the said good laws ... in the first and second years of the reigns of the late King Philip and Queen Mary ... were ... repealed ...;[1] by reason of which act of repeal your said humble subjects were eftsoons brought under an usurped foreign power and authority, and yet do remain in that bondage, to the intolerable charges of your loving subjects, if some redress by the authority of this your high court of parliament with the assent of your highness be not had and provided: may it therefore please your highness, for the repressing of the said usurped foreign power and the restoring of the rights, jurisdictions, and pre-eminences appertaining to the imperial crown of this your realm, that it may be enacted by the authority of this present parliament that the said act ... and all and every branch, clauses, and articles therein contained, other than such branches, clauses, and sentences as hereafter shall be excepted, may from the last day of this session of parliament, by authority of this present parliament, be repealed, and shall from thenceforth be utterly void and of none effect....[2]

And to the intent that all usurped and foreign power and authority, spiritual and temporal, may forever be clearly extinguished and never to be used nor obeyed within this realm or any other your majesty's dominions or countries, may it please your highness that it may be further enacted by the authority aforesaid that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate, spiritual or temporal, shall at any time after the last day of this session of parliament use, enjoy, or exercise any manner of power, jurisdiction, superiority, authority, pre-eminence, or privilege, spiritual or ecclesiastical, within this realm or within any other your majesty's dominions or countries that now be or hereafter shall be, but from thenceforth the same shall be clearly abolished out of this realm and all other your highness's dominions forever, any statute, ordinance, custom, constitutions, or any other matter or cause whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding ...; and that your highness, your heirs, and successors, kings or queens of this realm, shall have full power and authority ... to exercise ... all manner of jurisdictions, privileges, and preeminences in any wise touching or concerning any spiritual or ecclesiastical jurisdiction within these your realms....

And for the better observation and maintenance of this act, may it please your highness that it may be further enacted by the authority aforesaid that all and every archbishop, bishop, and all and every other ecclesiastical person and other ecclesiastical officer and minister, of what estate, dignity, pre-eminence, or degree soever he or they be or shall be, and all and every temporal judge, justicer, mayor, and other lay or temporal officer and minister, and every other person having your highness's fee or wages within this realm or any your highness's dominions shall make, take, and receive a corporal oath upon the Evangelist, before such person or persons as shall please your highness, your heirs or successors, under the great seal of England to assign and name to accept and take the same, according to the tenor and effect hereafter following, that is to say —

"I, A. B., do utterly testify and declare in my conscience that the queen's highness is the only supreme governor of this realm and of all other her highness's dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes as temporal, and that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm; and therefore I do utterly renounce and forsake all foreign jurisdictions, powers, superiorities, and authorities, and do promise that from henceforth I shall bear faith and true allegiance to the queen's highness, her heirs, and lawful successors, and to my power shall assist and defend all jurisdictions, pre-eminences, privileges, and authorities granted or belonging to the queen's highness, her heirs, and successors, or united or annexed to the imperial crown of this realm: so help me God and by the contents of this Book." ...[3]

And for the more sure observation of this act and the utter extinguishment of all foreign and usurped power and authority, may it please your highness that it may be further enacted by the authority aforesaid that, if any person or persons dwelling or inhabiting within this your realm or in any other your highness's realms or dominions ... , shall by writing, printing, teaching, preaching, express words, deed, or act, advisedly, maliciously, and directly affirm, hold, stand with, set forth, maintain, or defend the authority, pre-eminence, power, or jurisdiction, spiritual or ecclesiastical, of any foreign prince, prelate, person, state, or potentate whatsoever, heretofore claimed, used, or usurped within this realm or any dominion or country being within or under the power, dominion, or obeisance of your highness, or shall advisedly, maliciously, or directly put in ure or execute anything for the extolling, advancement, setting forth, maintenance, or defence of any such pretended or usurped jurisdiction, power, pre-eminence, or authority, or any part thereof, that then every such person and persons so doing and offending, their abettors, aiders, procurers, and counsellors, being thereof lawfully convicted and attainted according to the due order and course of the common laws of this realm [shall suffer specified penalties, culminating in punishment for high treason on the third offence]....

Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that such person or persons to whom your highness, your heirs, or successors, shall hereafter by letters patents under the great seal of England give authority to have or execute any jurisdiction, power, or authority spiritual, or to visit, reform, order, or correct any errors, heresies, schisms, abuses, or enormities by virtue of this act, shall not in any wise have authority or power to order, determine, or adjudge any matter or cause to be heresy but only such as heretofore have been determined, ordered, or adjudged to be heresy by the authority of the canonical Scriptures, or by the first four general councils or any of them, or by any other general council wherein the same was declared heresy by the express and plain words of the said canonical Scriptures, or such as hereafter shall be ordered, judged, or determined to be heresy by the high court of parliament of this realm, with the assent of the clergy in their convocation — anything in this act contained to the contrary notwithstanding....

Statutes of the Realm, IV, 350 f.: I Elizabeth, c. I.

(B) Act of Uniformity (1559)

An act for the uniformity of common prayer and divine service in the Church, and the administration of the sacraments.... And further be it enacted ...[4] that all and singular ministers in any cathedral or parish church or other place within this realm of England, Wales, and the marches of the same, or other the queen's dominions, shall, from and after the feast of the Nativity of St. John Baptist next coming, be bounden to say and use the matins, evensong, celebration of the Lord's Supper and administration of each of the sacraments, and all their common and open prayer, in such order and form as is mentioned in the ... book so authorized by parliament in the ... fifth and sixth year of the reign of King Edward VI,[5] with one alteration or addition of certain lessons to be used on every Sunday in the year, and the form of the litany altered and corrected, and two sentences only added in the delivery of the sacrament to the communicants, and none other or otherwise; and that, if any manner of parson, vicar, or other whatsoever minister that ought or should sing or say common prayer mentioned in the said book or minister the sacraments ... refuse to use the said common prayers or to minister the sacraments ... in such order and form as they be mentioned and set forth in the said book, or shall wilfully or obstinately ... use any other rite, ceremony, order, form, or manner of celebrating of the Lord's Supper openly or privily, or matins, evensong, administration of the sacraments, or other open prayers, than is mentioned and set forth in the said book ... , or shall preach, declare, or speak anything in the derogation or depraving of the said book or anything therein contained, or of any part thereof, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted according to the laws of this realm by verdict of twelve men, or by his own confession, or by the notorious evidence of the fact ... , [he shall suffer fine or imprisonment — life imprisonment for the third offence].

And it is ordained and enacted by the authority abovesaid that, if any person or persons whatsoever after the said feast ... shall in any interludes, plays, songs, rhymes, or by other open words, declare or speak anything in the derogation, depraving, or despising of the same book, or of anything therein contained, or any part thereof, or shall by open fact, deed, or by open threatenings, compel or cause or otherwise procure or maintain any parson, vicar, or other minister in any cathedral or parish church or in chapel or in any other place to sing or say any common or open prayer or to minister any sacrament otherwise or in any other manner and form than is mentioned in the said book, or that by any of the said means shall unlawfully interrupt or let any parson, vicar, or other minister in any cathedral or parish church, chapel, or any other place to sing or say common and open prayer, or to minister the sacraments or any of them, in such manner and form as is mentioned in the said book, that then every such person, being thereof lawfully convicted in form abovesaid ... , [shall suffer fine or imprisonment — life imprisonment for the third offence].

And ... from and after the said feast ... all and every person and persons inhabiting within this realm or any other the queen's majesty's dominions shall diligently and faithfully, having no lawful or reasonable excuse to be absent, endeavour themselves to resort to their parish church or chapel accustomed, or upon reasonable let thereof, to some usual place where common prayer and such service of God shall be used in such time of let, upon every Sunday and other days ordained and used to be kept as holy days; and then and there ... abide orderly and soberly during the time of the common prayer, preachings, or other service of God there to be used and ministered, upon pain of punishment by the censures of the Church, and also upon pain that every person so offending shall forfeit for every such offence 12d., to be levied by the churchwardens of the parish where such offence shall be done, to the use of the poor of the same parish....

Provided always, and be it enacted, that such ornaments of the Church and of the ministers thereof shall be retained and be in use as was in the Church of England by authority of parliament in the second year of the reign of King Edward VI, until other order shall be therein taken by the authority of the queen's majesty, with the advice of her commissioners appointed and authorized under the great seal of England for causes ecclesiastical or of the metropolitan of this realm; and also that, if there shall happen any contempt or irreverence to be used in the ceremonies or rites of the Church by the misusing of the orders appointed in this book, the queen's majesty may, by the like advice of the said commissioners or metropolitan, ordain and publish such further ceremonies or rites as may be most for the advancement of God's glory, the edifying of His Church, and the due reverence of Christ's holy mysteries and sacraments.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that all laws, statutes, and ordinances wherein or whereby any other service, administration of sacraments, or common prayer is limited, established, or set forth to be used within this realm, or any other the queen's dominions or countries, shall from henceforth be utterly void and of none effect.

Ibid., IV, 355 f.: I Elizabeth, c. 2.

(C) Statute of Artificers (1563)

An act containing divers orders for artificers, labourers, etc. Although there remain and stand in force presently a great number of acts and statutes concerning the retaining, departing, wages, and orders of apprentices, servants, and labourers, as well in husbandry as in divers other arts, mysteries, and occupations, yet, partly for the imperfection and contrariety that is found and do appear in sundry of the said laws, and for the variety and number of them, and chiefly for that the wages and allowances limited and rated in many of the said statutes are in divers places too small and not answerable to this time, respecting the advancement of prices of all things belonging to the said servants and labourers, the said laws cannot conveniently, without the great grief and burden of the poor labourer and hired man, be put in good and due execution; and as the said several acts and statutes were at the time of the making of them thought to be very good and beneficial for the commonwealth of this realm, as divers of them yet are, so if the substance of as many of the said laws as are meet to be continued shall be digested and reduced into one sole law and statute, and in the same an uniform order prescribed and limited concerning the wages and other orders for apprentices, servants, and labourers, there is good hope that it will come to pass that the same law, being duly executed, should banish idleness, advance husbandry, and yield unto the hired person both in the time of scarcity and in the time of plenty a convenient proportion of wages ...: be it ... enacted that no person which shall retain any servant shall put away his or her said servant, and that no person retained according to this statute shall depart from his master, mistress, or dame before the end of his or her term ... , unless it be for some reasonable and sufficient cause or matter to be allowed before two justices of peace, or one at the least, within the said county, or before the mayor or other chief officer of the city, borough, or town corporate wherein the said master, mistress, or dame inhabiteth, to whom any of the parties grieved shall complain; which said justices or justice, mayor or chief officer, shall have and take upon them or him the hearing and ordering of the matter between the said master, mistress, or dame, and servant according to the equity of the cause....

And for the declaration and limitation what wages servants, labourers, and artificers, either by the year or day or otherwise, shall have and receive, be it enacted ... that the justices of peace ... shall yearly, at every general sessions first to be holden and kept after Easter ... , assemble themselves together; and they so assembled, calling unto them such discreet and grave persons of the said county or of the said city or town corporate as they shall think meet, and conferring together respecting the plenty or scarcity of the time and other circumstances necessary to be considered, shall have authority ... to limit, rate, and appoint the wages ... of ... artificers, handicraftsmen, husbandmen, or any other labourer, servant, or workman ... , and shall ... certify the same, engrossed in parchment with the considerations and causes thereof under their hands and seals, into the queen's most honourable court of chancery, whereupon it shall be lawful to the lord chancellor of England ... , upon declaration thereof to the queen's majesty, her heirs, or successors, or to the lords and others of the privy council for the time being attendant upon their persons, to cause to be printed and sent down ... into every county, to the sheriff and justices of peace there ... , ten or twelve proclamations or more, containing in every of them the several rates appointed by the said justices ... , with commandment by the said proclamations to all persons in the name of the queen's majesty ... straitly to observe the same, and to all justices, sheriffs, and other officers to see the same duly and severely observed....

Provided always, and be it enacted ... , that in the time of hay or corn harvest, the justices of peace and every of them, and also the constable or other head officer of every township, upon request and for the avoiding of the loss of any corn, grain, or hay, shall and may cause all such artificers and persons as be meet to labour ... to serve by the day for the mowing, reaping, shearing, getting, or inning of corn, grain, and hay, according to the skill and quality of the person; and that none of the said persons shall refuse so to do, upon pain to suffer imprisonment in the stocks by the space of two days and one night....

And be it further enacted ... that two justices of peace, the mayor ... of any city, borough, or town corporate, and two aldermen ... shall and may, by virtue hereof, appoint any such woman as is of the age of twelve years and under the age of forty years and unmarried and forth of service, as they shall think meet to serve, to be retained or serve by the year or by the week or day, for such wages and in such reasonable sort and manner as they shall think meet. And if any such woman shall refuse so to serve, then it shall be lawful for the said justices of peace, mayor, or head officers to commit such woman to ward until she shall be bounden to serve as aforesaid.

And be it further enacted that, if any person shall be required by any householder, having and using half a ploughland at the least in tillage, to be an apprentice and to serve in husbandry or in any other kind of art, mystery, or science before expressed, and shall refuse so to do, that then, upon the complaint of such housekeeper made to one justice of peace of the county wherein the said refusal is or shall be made ... , the said justice or the said mayor ... shall have power and authority by virtue hereof, if the said person refuse to be bound as an apprentice, to commit him unto ward, there to remain until he be contented and will be bounden to serve as an apprentice should serve, according to the true intent and meaning of this present act.

And if any such master shall misuse or evil intreat his apprentice, or ... the said apprentice shall have any just cause to complain, or the apprentice do not his duty to his master, then the said master or prentice being grieved and having cause to complain shall repair unto one justice of peace within the said county, or to the mayor ... of the city, town corporate, market town, or other place where the said master dwelleth, who shall by his wisdom and discretion take such order and direction between the said master and his apprentice as the equity of the cause shall require. And if for want of good conformity in the said master, the said justice of peace or ... mayor ... cannot compound and agree the matter between him and his apprentice, then the said justice or ... mayor ... shall take bond of the said master to appear at the next sessions then to be holden in the said county or ... town ... , and, upon his appearance and hearing of the matter before the said justices or the said mayor ... , if it be thought meet unto them to discharge the said apprentice of his apprenticehood, that then the said justices or four of them at the least ... , or the said mayor ... , with the consent of three other of his brethren or men of best reputation within the said ... town ... , shall have power ... , in writing under their hands and seals, to pronounce and declare that they have discharged the said apprentice of his apprenticehood, and the cause thereof; and the said writing, so being made and enrolled by the clerk of the peace or town clerk amongst the records that he keepeth, shall be a sufficient discharge for the said apprentice against his master, his executors, and administrators.... And if default shall be found to be in the apprentice, then the said justices or ... mayor ... , with the assistants aforesaid, shall cause such due correction and punishment to be ministered unto him as by their wisdom and discretions shall be thought meet....

Ibid., IV, 414 f.: 5 Elizabeth, c. 4.

(D) Treasons Act (1571)[6]

An act whereby certain offences be made treason.... Be it enacted, declared, and established ... that, if any person or persons whatsoever, at any time after the last day of June next coming during the natural life of our most gracious sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth ... , shall, within the realm or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise, or intend the death or destruction, or any bodily harm tending to death, destruction, maim, or wounding of the royal person of the same our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth; or to deprive or depose her of or from the style, honour, or kingly name of the imperial crown of this realm or of any other realm or dominion to her majesty belonging, or to levy war against her majesty within this realm or without, or to move or to stir any foreigners or strangers with force to invade this realm or the realm of Ireland or any other her majesty's dominions being under her majesty's obeisance, and such compasses, imaginations, inventions, devices, or intentions, or any of them, shall maliciously, advisedly, and expressly utter or declare by any printing, writing, ciphering, speech, words, or sayings; or if any person or persons whatsoever, after the said last day of June, shall maliciously, advisedly, and directly publish, declare, hold opinion, affirm or say by any speech, express words, or sayings that our said sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth, during her life is not or ought not to be queen of this realm of England and also of the realms of France and Ireland, or that any other person or persons ought of right to be king or queen of the said realms ... , during her majesty's life, or shall by writing, printing, preaching, speech, express words, or sayings maliciously, advisedly, and directly publish, set forth, and affirm that ... our said sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth, is an heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel, or an usurper of the crown of the said realms or any of them; that then all and every such said offence or offences shall be taken, deemed, and declared, by the authority of this act and parliament, to be high treason; and that as well the principal offender or offenders therein as all and every the abettors, counsellors, and procurers to the same offence or offences, and all and every aiders and comforters of the same offender or offenders ... shall suffer pains of death and also forfeit unto the queen's majesty, her heirs, and successors, all and singular lands, tenements, and hereditaments, goods, and chattels, as in cases of high treason by the laws and statutes of this realm at this day of right ought to be forfeited and lost....

And be it further enacted that, if any person shall in any wise hold and affirm or maintain that the common laws of this realm not altered by parliament ought not to direct the right of the crown of England; or that our said sovereign lady ... , with and by the authority of the parliament of England, is not able to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to limit and bind the crown of this realm and the descent, limitation, inheritance, and government thereof; or that this present statute, or any part thereof, or any other statute to be made by the authority of the parliament of England with the royal assent of our said sovereign lady ... for limiting of the crown, or any statute for recognizing the right of the said crown and realm to be justly and lawfully in the most royal person of our said sovereign lady ... is not, are not, or shall not or ought not to be forever of good and sufficient force and validity to bind, limit, restrain, and govern all persons ... whatsoever; every such person, so holding, affirming, or maintaining during the life of the queen's majesty, shall be judged a high traitor, and suffer and forfeit as in cases of high treason is accustomed....

Ibid., IV, 526 f.: 13 Elizabeth, c. I.

(E) Act Prohibiting Bulls from Rome (1571 )[7]

An act against the bringing in and putting in execution of bulls and other instruments from the see of Rome. Where, in the parliament holden at Westminster in the fifth year of the reign of our sovereign lady the queen's majesty that now is, by one act and statute then and there made ... it is among other things very well ordained and provided, for the abolishing of the usurped power and jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome and of the see of Rome heretofore unlawfully claimed and usurped within this realm and other the dominions to the queen's majesty belonging, that no person or persons shall hold or stand with to set forth, maintain, defend, or extol the same usurped power, or attribute any manner jurisdiction, authority, or pre-eminence to the same, to be had or used within this realm or any the said dominions, upon pain to incur the danger, penalties, and forfeitures ordained and provided by the Statute of Provision and Praemunire made in the sixteenth year of the reign of King Richard II ...; and yet, nevertheless, divers seditious and very evil-disposed people ... have lately procured and obtained to themselves from the said bishop of Rome and his said see divers bulls and writings, the effect whereof hath been and is to absolve and reconcile all those that will be contented to forsake their due obedience to our most gracious sovereign lady the queen's majesty, and to yield and subject themselves to the said feigned, unlawful, and usurped authority ...: be it enacted ... that, if any person or persons, after the first day of July next coming, shall use or put in ure in any place within this realm or in any the queen's dominions any such bull, writing, or instrument ... of absolution or reconciliation at any time heretofore obtained and gotten, or at any time hereafter to be obtained and gotten, from the said bishop of Rome or any his successors, or from any other person or persons authorized or claiming authority by or from the said bishop of Rome, his predecessors, or successors, or see of Rome; or if any person or persons, after the said first day of July, shall take upon him or them, by colour of any such bull [etc.] ... , to grant or promise to any person or persons within this realm or any other the queen's majesty's dominions any such absolution or reconciliation by any speech, preaching, teaching, writing, or any other open deed; or if any person or persons within this realm or any the queen's dominions, after the said first day of July, shall willingly receive and take any such absolution or reconciliation; or else if any person or persons have obtained or gotten, since the last day of parliament holden in the first year of the queen's majesty's reign, or after the said first day of July shall obtain or get from the said bishop of Rome or any his successors or see of Rome any manner of bull [etc.] ... , containing any thing, matter, or cause whatsoever, or shall publish or by any ways or means put in ure any such bull [etc.] ...; that then all and every such act and acts, offence and offences, shall be deemed and adjudged by the authority of this act to be high treason, and the offender and offenders therein, their procurers, abettors, and counsellors ... , shall be deemed and adjudged high traitors to the queen and the realm, and, being thereof lawfully indicted and attainted ... , shall suffer pains of death, and also lose and forfeit all their lands, tenements, hereditaments, goods, and chattels, as in cases of high treason by the laws of this realm ought to be lost and forfeited....

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that, if any person or persons shall at any time after the said first day of July bring into this realm of England or any the dominions of the same any token or tokens ... , crosses, pictures, beads, or suchlike vain and superstitious things from the bishop or see of Rome ... and ... shall deliver or offer or cause to be delivered the same or any of them to any subject of this realm, or of any the dominions of the same, to be worn or used in any wise; that then as well the same person and persons so doing as also all and every other person or persons which shall receive and take the same to the intent to use or wear the same, being thereof lawfully convicted and attainted ... , shall incur into the dangers, penalties, pains, and forfeitures ordained and provided by the Statute of Praemunire and Provision made in the sixteenth year of the reign of King Richard

Ibid., IV, 528 f.: 13 Elizabeth, c. 2.

(F) Act against Sectaries (1593)

An act to retain the queen's subjects in obedience. For the preventing and avoiding of such great inconveniences and perils as might happen and grow by the wicked and dangerous practices of seditious sectaries and disloyal persons: be it enacted by the queen's most excellent majesty, and by the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that, if any person or persons above the age of sixteen years ... shall obstinately refuse to repair to some church, chapel, or usual place of common prayer to hear divine service established by her majesty's laws and statutes in that behalf made ... , [and] shall ... by printing, writing, or express words or speeches advisedly and purposely practise or go about to move or persuade any of her majesty's subjects ... to deny, withstand, and impugn her majesty ['s] power and authority in causes ecclesiastical, united and annexed to the imperial crown of this realm, or to that end or purpose shall advisedly and maliciously move or persuade any other person whatsoever to forbear or abstain from coming to church to hear divine service, or to receive the communion according to her majesty's laws and statutes aforesaid, or to come to or to be present at any unlawful assemblies, conventicles, or meetings under colour or pretence of any exercise of religion contrary to her majesty's said laws and statutes; or if any person or persons ... shall ... willingly join or be present at any such assemblies, conventicles, or meetings ...; that then every such person so offending as aforesaid and being thereof lawfully convicted shall be committed to prison, there to remain without bail or mainprise until they shall conform and yield themselves to come to some church, chapel, or usual place of common prayer and hear divine service according to her majesty's laws and statutes aforesaid....[8]

Ibid., IV, 841: 35 Elizabeth, c. I.

(G) Act against Papists (1593)[9]

An act against popish recusants. For the better discovering and avoiding of all such traitorous and most dangerous conspiracies and attempts as are daily devised and practised against our most gracious sovereign lady, the queen's majesty, and the happy estate of this commonweal by sundry wicked and seditious persons, who, terming themselves Catholics and being indeed spies and intelligencers, not only for her majesty's foreign enemies, but also for rebellious and traitorous subjects born within her highness's realms and dominions, and hiding their most detestable and devilish purposes under a false pretext of religion and conscience, do secretly wander and shift from place to place within this realm to corrupt and seduce her majesty's subjects and to stir them to sedition and rebellion: be it ordained and enacted ... that every person above the age of sixteen years, born within any the queen's majesty's realms or dominions or made denizen, being a popish recusant ... and having any certain place of dwelling and abode within this realm, shall within forty days next after the end of this session of parliament ... repair to their place of dwelling where they usually heretofore made their common abode, and shall not any time after pass or remove above five miles from thence....

Provided always, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all such persons as ... aforesaid shall within twenty days next after their coming to any of the said places, as the case shall happen, notify their coming thither and present themselves and deliver their true names in writing to the minister or curate of the same parish and to the constable, headborough, or tithingman of the town; and thereupon the said minister or curate shall presently enter the same into a book to be kept in every parish for that purpose. And afterward the said minister or curate and the said constable, headborough, or tithingman shall certify the same in writing to the justices of the peace of the same county at the next general or quarter sessions to be holden in the said county; and the said justices shall cause the same to be entered by the clerk of the peace in the rolls of the same sessions.

And to the end that the realm be not pestered and overcharged with the multitude of such seditious and dangerous people as is aforesaid, who, having little or no ability to answer or satisfy any competent penalty for their contempt and disobedience of the said laws and statutes and being committed to prison for the same, do live for the most part in better case there than they could if they were abroad at their own liberty ...: if any such person or persons, being a popish recusant ... , shall not ... repair to their place of usual dwelling [etc.] ... as is aforesaid ... , and shall not ... conform themselves to the obedience of the laws and statutes of this realm in coming usually to the church to hear divine service, and in making such public confession and submission as hereafter in this act is appointed ... , such offender ... shall, upon his ... corporal oath before any two justices of the peace or coroner of the same county, abjure this realm of England and all other the queen's majesty's dominions forever.

Ibid., IV, 843 f.: 35 Elizabeth, c. 2.

(H) Poor Relief Act (1598)[10]

An act for the relief of the poor. Be it enacted by the authority of this present parliament that the churchwardens of every parish and four substantial householders there ... , who shall be nominated yearly in Easter week under the hand and seal of two or more justices of the peace in the same county ... dwelling in or near the same parish, shall be called overseers of the poor of the same parish; and they, or the greater part of them, shall take order from time to time, by and with the consent of two or more such justices of peace, for setting to work of the children of all such whose parents shall not by the said persons be thought able to keep and maintain their children, and also all such persons married or unmarried as, having no means to maintain them, use no ordinary and daily trade of life to get their living by; and also to raise weekly or otherwise, by taxation of every inhabitant and every occupier of lands in the said parish in such competent sum and sums of money as they shall think fit, a convenient stock of flax, hemp, wool, thread, iron, and other necessary ware and stuff to set the poor on work, and also competent sums of money for and towards the necessary relief of the lame, impotent, old, blind, and such other among them being poor and not able to work, and also for the putting out of such children to be apprentices, to be gathered out of the same parish according to the ability of the said parish; and to do and execute all other things, as well for disposing of the said stock as otherwise concerning the premises, as to them shall seem convenient. Which said churchwardens and overseers so to be nominated, or such of them as shall not be let by sickness or other just excuse, to be allowed by such two justices of peace or more, shall meet together at the least once every month in the church of the said parish, upon the Sunday in the afternoon after divine service, there to consider of some good course to be taken and of some meet orders to be set down in the premises; and shall, within four days after the end of their year ... , make and yield up to such two justices of peace a true and perfect account of all sums of money by them received ... , upon pain that every one of them absenting themselves without lawful cause as aforesaid from such monthly meeting for the purpose aforesaid, or being negligent in their office or in the execution of the orders aforesaid, being made by and with the assent of the said justices of peace, to forfeit for every such default 20s. And be it also enacted that, if the said justices of peace do perceive that the inhabitants of any parish are not able to levy among themselves sufficient sums of money for the purposes aforesaid ... , the said justices shall and may tax, rate, and assess as aforesaid any other [persons] of other parishes, or out of any parish within the hundred where the said parish is ... , [and] pay such sum and sums of money to the churchwardens and overseers of the said poor parish for the said purposes as the said justices shall think fit, according to the intent of this law. And if the said hundred shall not be thought to the said justices able and fit to relieve the said several parishes not able to provide for themselves as aforesaid, then the justices of peace at their general quarter sessions, or the greater number of them, shall rate and assess as aforesaid ... other parishes ... , as in their discretion shall seem fit....

And to the intent that necessary places of habitation may more conveniently be provided for such poor impotent people, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that it shall and may be lawful for the said churchwardens and overseers, or the greater part of them, by the leave of the lord or lords of the manor whereof any waste or common within their parish is or shall be parcel ... , to erect, build, and set up ... in such waste or common, at the general charges of the parish or otherwise of the hundred or county as aforesaid ... , convenient houses of dwelling for the said impotent poor; and also to place inmates or more families than one in one cottage or house....

And be it further hereby enacted that the mayors, bailiffs, or other head officers of every corporate town within this realm, being justice or justices of peace, shall have the same authority by virtue of this act within the limits and precincts of their corporations, as well out of sessions as at their sessions, as is herein limited, prescribed, and appointed to any of the justices of peace in the county for all the uses and purposes in this act prescribed, and no other justice of peace to enter or meddle there....

And forasmuch as all begging is forbidden by this present act, be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that the justices of peace of every county or place corporate, or the more part of them, in their general sessions to be holden next after the end of this session of parliament, or in default thereof at the quarter sessions to be holden about the feast of Easter next, shall rate every parish to such a weekly sum of money as they shall think convenient; so as no parish be rated above the sum of sixpence nor under the sum of an halfpenny weekly to be paid, and so as the total sum of such taxation of the parishes in every county amount not above the rate of twopence for every parish in the said county. Which sums so taxed shall be yearly assessed by the agreement of the parishioners within themselves, or in default thereof by the churchwardens and constables of the same parish or the more part of them, or in default of their agreement by the order of such justice or justices of peace as shall dwell in the same parish or, if none be there dwelling, in the parts next adjoining....

Ibid., IV, 896 f.: 39 Elizabeth, c. 3.


[1] No. 78C.

[2] The following three sections revive Henry VIII's statutes declaring the supremacy of the crown in ecclesiastical affairs.

[3] Persons refusing to take this oath were to be debarred from offices in church and state.

[4] The first section repeals Mary's statute of 1553 (no. 78A).

[5] No. 77B.

[6] Cf. no. 73E. For comment on the treason acts passed between 1495 and 1571, see Tanner, Tudor Constitutional Documents, pp. 378-81.

[7] Passed in reply to Pius V's bull of the previous year declaring Elizabeth & usurper and freeing her subjects from their allegiance.

[8] The subsequent articles, among other provisions, establish penalties for offenders who refuse to conform, and an oath to be taken by those who submit to the law.

[9] An earlier act, 1585, had banished Jesuits and seminary priests.

[10] The provision in this act that local officials should supply the poor with raw materials had appeared in a statute of 1576 to supplement Henry VIII's Beggars Act (no. 74 I). The present statute was re-enacted in 1601 with extension of the tax-paying group and other minor changes. Later poor laws normally cite the revised act.


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