Act regarding the Egyptians

Our sovereign lord and estates of parliament ratify, approve and perpetually confirm the act of secret council made in the month of June or thereby 1603, and proclamation following thereupon, commanding the vagabonds, sorners and common thieves commonly called Egyptians to pass out of this kingdom and remain perpetually forth thereof and never to return within the same under the pain of death, and that the same have force and execution after 1 August next, after the which time if any of the said vagabonds called Egyptians, as well women as men, shall be found within this kingdom or any part thereof, it shall be permissible to all his majesty's subjects, or any one of them, to cause take, apprehend, imprison and execute to death the said Egyptians, either men or women, as common, notorious and condemned thieves, by an assize only, to be tried that they are called, known, reputed and held Egyptians, in the which cause whosoever of the assize happens to challenge any of the foresaid Egyptians accused as said is shall be pursued, handled and censured as committers of wilful error; and whosoever shall at any time thereafter reset, receive, supply or entertain any of the said Egyptians, either men or women, shall lose their escheat and be warded at the judge's will, and that the sheriffs and magistrates in whose bounds they shall publicly and avowedly resort and remain be called before the lords of his highness's secret council and severely censured and punished for their negligence in execution of this act, discharging all letters, protections and warrants whatsoever purchased by the said Egyptians or any of them from his majesty or lords of secret council for their remaining within this realm, as surreptitiously and deceitfully obtained by their knowledge, annulling all such warrants purchased or hereafter to be purchased by any subject of whatsoever rank within this kingdom for their reset, entertaining or doing of any manner of favour to the said Egyptians at any time after the said 1 August next for now and ever.

  1. NAS, PA2/17, f.46r. Back
  2. '20' written in margin beside heading. Back
  3. APS corrects this to '[clenge]', meaning clear. Back