Sunday Observance Act 1625
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Forasmuch as there is nothing more acceptable to God then the true and sincere Service and worship of him according to his holy Will, and that the holy keeping of the Lord's day, is a principal part of the true Service of God, which in very many places of this Realm hath been and now is profaned and neglected by a disorderly sort of people, in exercising and frequenting Bearbaiting, Bullbaiting, Interludes, common Plays, and other unlawful exercises and pastimes upon the Lord's day; And for that many quarrels bloodsheds and other great inconveniences have grown by the resort and concourse of people going out of their own Parishes to such disordered and unlawful exercises and pastimes neglecting Divine service both in their own Parishes and elswhere, Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That from and after forty days next after the end of this Session of Parliament, there shall be no meetings, assemblies, or concourse of people out of their own Parishes on the Lord's day within this Realm of England, or any the Dominions thereof, for any sports or pastimes whatsoever; nor any Bearbaiting, Bullbaiting, Interludes, common Plays or other unlawful exercises or pastimes used by any person or persons within their own Parishes, and that every person and persons offending in any the premisses, shall forfeit for every offence three shillings four pence, The same to be employed and converted to the use of the poor of the Parish where such offence shall be committed, And that any one Justice of the Peace of the County, or the chief Officer or Officers of any City, Borough, or Town corporate where such offence 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 or chief Officer or Officers shall by virtue of this Act have authority 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 levy the said penalty so to be assessed, by way of distress and sale of the goods of every such offender, rendering to the said offenders the overplus of the money raised of the said goods so to be sold, And in default of such distress, that the party offending, be set publicly in the stocks by the space of three hours; And that if any man be sued or impeached for execution of this Law, he shall and may plead the general issue, and give the said matter of Justification in evidence. Provided that no man be impeached by this Act, except he be called in question within one month next after the said offence committed. Provided also, that the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiccion within this Realm, or any the Dominions thereof, by virtue of this Act or any thing therein contained, shall not be abridged, but that the Ecclesiastical Court may punish the said offences, as if this act had not bene made: This Act to continue until the end of the first Session of the next Parliament, and no longer.