For punishment of the strang and ydle beggaris and releif of the pure and impotent, cap. 7

2Forsamekle as thair is sindrie lovable actis of parliament maid be oure soverane lordis maist noble progenitouris for the stancheing of the maisterfull and ydle beggaris, away putting of soirnaris and provisioun for the puyr, bearing that nane salbe thoilit to beg nouthir to burgh nor to land betwix xiiij and lxx yeiris, that sic as makis thame selffis fuilis and ar bairdis or utheris siclike rynnaris about, being apprehendit, salbe put in the kingis waird and yrnis salang as they have ony guidis of thair awin to leif on; and fra they have not quhairupoun to leif of thair awin, that thair earis be nailit to the trone or to ane uther trie and thair earis cuttit of and banist the cuntrie; and gif thairefter that they be found agane, that they be hangit. Item, that nane be thoilit to beg in ane parrochyne that ar borne in ane uther, that the heidismen of ilk parochyne mak teakynnis and gif to the beggaris thairof that they may be sustenit within the boundis of that parochyne, and that nane uther be servit with almous within that parrochyne bot they that beiris that teakyn allanerlie, as in the actis of parliament maid thairanent at mair lenth is contenit, quhilkis in tyme bigane hes not bene put to dew executioun throw the iniquitie and troublis of the tyme bipast. And be ressone that thair wes not heirtofoir ane ordour of punishment sa specialie divisit as neid requirit, bot the saidis beggaris, besydis the utheris inconvenientis quhilkis they daylie produce in the commoune welth, procuris the wraith and displesar of God for the wiked and ungodlie forme of leving usit amangis thame without mariage or baptizing of a greit nowmer of thair bairnis; thairfoir now, for avoiding of thir inconvenientis and eschewing of the confusioun of sindrie lawis and actis concerning thair punishment standing in effect, and that sum certane executioun and gude ordour may follow theiranent to the greit plesar of almichty God and commoun weill of the realme, it is thocht expedient, statutit and ordanit, alsweill for the utter suppressing of the saidis strang and idle beggaris, sa contageous innemyes to the commoun weill, as for the chearitable releving of aiget and impotent puyr people, that the ordour and forme following be observit: that is to say, that all personis being abone the aige of xiiij and within the aige of lxx yeiris that heirefter ar declarit and sett furth be this act and ordour to be vagabundis, strang and ydle beggaris, quhilkis salhappyne at ony tyme heirefter, efter the first day of Januar nixtocum, to be takin wandering and misordering thame selffis contrarie to the effect and meaning of thir presentis salbe apprehendit; and upoun thair apprehensioun be brocht befoir the provest and baillies within burgh, and in every parochyne to landwart befoir him that salbe constitutit justice be the kingis commissioun or be the lordis of regalities within the samyne to this effect, and be thame to be committit in waird in the commoun presoun, stokkis or irnis within thair jurisdictioun, thair to be keipit unlettin to libertie or upoun band or souirtie quhill thai be put to the knawlege of ane assyse, quhilk salbe done within sex dayis thairefter. And gif they happyne to be convict, to be adjuget to be scurget and brunt throw the ear with ane hett yrne, the proces quhairof salbe registrat in the court boukis, exceptit sum honest and responsall man will, of his charitie, be contentit then presentlie to act him self befoir the juge to tak and keip the offendour in his service for ane haill yeir nixt following, undir the pane of xx libris to the use of the puyr of the toun or parochyne, and to bring the offendour to the heid court of the jurisdictioun at the yeiris end, or then gude pruif of his death, the clerk taking for the said act xij d. onlie. And gif the offendour depart and leif the service within the yeir aganis his will that ressavis him in service, then being apprehendit, he salbe of new presentit to the juge and be him commandit to be scurgit and brunt throw the ear as is befoirsaid; quhilk punishment, being anys ressavit, he sall not suffer the lyk agane for the space of lx dayis thairefter, bot gif at the end of the saidis lx dayis he be found to be fallin agane in his ydill and vagabund trade of lyf, then, being apprehendit of new, he salbe adjuget and suffer the panes of deid as a theif. And that it may be knawin quhat maner of personis ar meanit to be strang and idle beggaris and vagabundis and worthie of the punishment befoir specifiit, it is declarit that all ydle personis ganging about in ony cuntrie of this realme using subtill, crafty and unlauchfull playis, as juglarie fast and lowis, and sic utheris, the idle people calling thame selffis Egyptianis, or ony utheris that fenyeis thame selffis to have knawlege of prophecie, charmeing or utheris abusit sciences, quhairby they persuaid the people that they can tell thair weardis deathis and fortunes and sic uther fantasticall imaginationes; and all personis being haill and stark in body and able to wirk, allegeing thame to have bene heryit or brunt in sum far part of the realme, or allegeing thame to be banist for slauchter and utheris wicked deidis, and utheris nouthir having land nor maister, nor useing ony lauchfull merchandice, craft or occupatioun quhairby they may wyn thair leavingis, and can gif na rekning how they lauchfullie get thair leving, and all menstrallis, sangstaris and tailtellaris not avowit in speciall service be sum of the lordis of parliament or greit barronis or be the heid burrowis and cieties for thair commoun menstralis, all commoun lauboraris, being personis able in body, leving ydillie and fleing laubour, all counterfaittaris of licences to beg, or useing the same knawing thame to be counterfaittit, all vagabund scolaris of the universities of Sanctandrois, Glasgw and Abirdene not licencit be the rectour and deane of facultie of the universitie to ask almous, all schipmene and marinaris allegeing thame selffis to be schipbrokin, without they have sufficient testimoniallis, salbe takin, adjuged, estemit and punist as strang beggaris and vagabundis. And gif ony persone or personis efter the said first day of Januar nixtocuin gevis money, harbry or ludgeing, settis housis or schawis ony uther releif to ony vagabund or strang beggar, merkit or not merkit, wanting a licence of the provest and baillies within burgh or juge within that parochyne, the same being dewly provin at the court, they sall pay sic unlaw to the use of the puyr of the parochyne as be the juge at the court salbe modifiit sa the same exceid not v lib. And alsua gif ony persone or personis disturbis or lettis the executioun of this act ony maner of wys, or makis impediment aganis the jugeis and ordiner officiaris or utheris personis travelling for the dew executioun heirof, they sall incur the same pane quhilk the vagabund sould have incurrit incais he had bene convictit; providing alwayis that schipmene and suldartis landing in this realme, haveing licence of the provest or baillie of the toun or juge in the parochyne quhair they wer schipbrokin or first enterit in the realme, sall and may pas according to the effect of thair licences to the rowmes quhair they intend to remane; and that the licences onlie serve in the jurisdictioun of the gevar, sa that gif the persone travelling have further jorney, he procuir the like licences of the juge of the nixt parrochyne or toun throw quhilkis he mon pas, and sa fra parochyne to parochyne quhill he be at his resting place. And that thair be certane personis, ane or ma, nominat in every paroche and burgh be the officiaris and juge thairof for searcheing, ressaving and convoying of the vagabundis to the commoun presoune, yrnis or stokkis upoun the commoun charges of the parochyne, quhilkis personis sa electit salbe haldin to do thair dewitie diligentlie as the saidis jugeis will ansar thairupoun. And sen charitie wald that the puyr, aiget and impotent personis sould be as necessarlie providit for as the vagaboundis and strang beggaris repressit, and that the aiget, impotent and puyr people suld have ludgeing and abyding places throchout the realme to settle thame selffis intill, it is thairfoir thocht expedient, statutit and ordanit that the lord chancellair, according to the directioun of sindrie lovable actis of parliament heirtofoir maid, sall call for the erectionis of all hospitallis to be producit befoir him, and inquire and consider the present estate thairof, reduceing thame sa far as is possible to the first institutioun as may best serve for the help and releif of the saidis aiget, impotent and puyr people. And als that the provest and baillies in ilk burgh and toun, and the justice constitutit be the kingis commissioun in every parochyne to landwart, sall betwix and the said first day of Januar nixtocum tak inquisitioun of all aiget, puyr, impotent and decayed personis borne within that parrochyne or quhilkis wer duelling and had thair maist commoun resort in the said parochyne the last sevin yeiris bipast, quhilkis of necessitie mon leif be almous; and upoun the said inquisitioun sall mak a register buik contening thair names and surnames, to remane with the provest and baillies within burgh and with the justice in every parochyne to landwart. And to the effect that the nowmer of the puyr people in every parochyne may be knawin, statutis and ordanis that all puyr people within xl dayis efter the proclamatioun of this present act at the mercat croce of Edinburgh repair to the parochyne quhair they wer borne or had thair maist commoun resort or residence the last sevin yeiris bipast, and thair settle thame selffis undir the pane to be punist as vagabundis, contravenaris of this present proclamatioun; and the said space of xl dayis being bipast, that then the provest and baillies within burrowis, and the juge constitutit be the kingis commissioun in ilk parochyne to landwart, mak a catholog of the names of the saidis puyr people, inquire the men and wemen quhair they wer borne, quhether they ar mariit or unmariit, quhen and be quhome they wer maryed, and quhat bairnis they have and quhair thair bairnis wer baptized, and to quhat forme and trade of lyff they addres thame selffis and thair saidis bairnis, gif they be diseased or haill and able in body, and quhat they get commonlie on the day be thair begging, and sic as necessarlie mon be sustenit be almous, to see quhat they may be maid content of thair awin consentis to accept daylie to leif on unbeggit and to provide quhair thair remaning salbe, be thame selffis or in hous with utheris, with avise of the prochynnaris quhair the saidis puyr people may be best ludged and abyd; and thairupoun, according to the nowmer, to consider quhat thair neidfull sustentatioun will extend to in the oulk and then, be the gude discretionis of the saidis provestis and baillies and jugeis in the parrochynnis to landwart and sic as they sall call to thame to that effect, to taxt and stent the haill inhabitantis within the parrochyne according to the estimatioun of thair substance, without exceptioun of personis, to sic ouklie charge and contributioun as salbe thocht expedient and sufficient to sustene the saidis puyr people; and the names of the inhabitantis stentit togider with thair taxatioun to be likewise registrat; and that at thair discretioun they appoint oversearis and collectoris in every burgh, toune and paroche for the haill yeir for collecting and ressaving of the said ouklie portioun, quhilkis sall ressave the same and deliver samekle thairof to the saidis puyr people and in sic maner as the saidis provest and baillies in burgh and juges in the prochyne to landwart respective sall ordane and command; and that ovrsearis of the saidis puyr people that be appointit be thair discretionis to continew alsua for a yeir, and at the end of the yeir the taxatioun and stent roll be alwayis maid of new for the alteratioun that may be throw deith or be incres or diminutioun of mennis guidis and substance. And that the provest and baillies in burrowis or townis and the saidis jugeis in the parochynnis to landwart sall gif a testimoniall to sic puyr folk as they fynd not borne in thair awin parochyne or making residence thairin the last sevin yeiris, sending or directing thame to the nixt parochyne, and sa fra parochyne to parochyne quhill they be at the place quhair they wer borne or had thair maist commoun resort and residence during the last sevin yeiris preceiding, thair to be put in certane abyding places and sustenit upoun the commoun almous and ouklie contributioun as is befoir ordanit, except leprous people and bedfast people quhilkis may not be transportit, providing that it be lefull to the puyr people sa directit to thair awin abyding places with testimoniallis to ask almous in thair passage, sa as they pas the directit way, not resting tua nychtis in ony ane place, without occasioun of seiknes or storme impeid thame; and gif ony of the puyr people refuis to pas and abyd in the places appointit, or efter the appointment be found begging, then to be punishit be scurgeing, impresonment or byrning throw the ear as vagabundis and strang beggaris; and for the secund falt to be punishit as thevis as is befoir appointit. And gif the personis chosyne collectouris refuisis the office, or, haveing acceptit the same, beis found negligent thairin, or refuisis to mak thair comptis every half yeir anys at the leist to the provest and baillies in burrowis and the saidis jugeis in landwart and to delyver the superplus of that quhilk restis in thair handis at the end of the yeir or half yeir to sic as salbe chosyne collectouris of new, then ilk ane of the collectouris sa offending sall incur the pane of xx lib. to the use of the puyr of that parochyne and inpresonment of thair personis during the kingis will, for quhilkis panes the saidis provest, baillies and jugeis sall poynd and distrenyie. And gif ony personis being able to further this chearitable werk will obstinatlie refuis to contribute to the releif of the puyr or discourage utheris from sa chearitable a deid, the obstinat and wilfull persone being callit befoir the provest and baillies within burgh or jugeis in the parochyne to landwart and convict thairof be ane assyis or sufficient testimony of tua honnest and famous witnessis, his nyghtbouris, upoun the supplicatioun of the saidis provest, baillies and jugeis to the kingis majesties and his privie counsale, the obstinat and wilfull persone or personis salbe commandit to waird in sic part as his hienes and his counsall sall appoint and thair remane quhill he be content with the ordour of his said parrochyne and performe the same in deid. And gif the aiged and impotent personis not being sa diseased, lame or impotent, bot that they may wirk in sum maner of werk, salbe be the oursearis in ony burgh or parrochyne appointit to wirk and yit refuis the same, then first the refusar to be scurget and put in the stokkis and for the secund falt to be punishit as vagabundis as said is. And gif ony beggaris bairne being abone the aige of v yeiris and within xiiij, maill or femaill, salbe lykit of be ony subject of the realme of honnest estate, the said persone salhave the bairne be ordour and directioun of the provest and baillies within burgh or juge in landwart parrochynnis, gif he be a manchylde to the aige of xxiiij yeiris and gif she be a woman chylde to the aige of xviij yeiris; and gif they depart or be takin or intysed fra thair maister or maistres service, the maister or maistres to haif the like actioun and remedy as for thair feit servand or prenteis alsweill aganis the bairne as aganis the taikar and entysair thairof. And quhair collecting of money can not be had and that it is ower greit a burding to the collectoris to gather victualis, meit and drink or utheris thingis for releif of the puyr in sum parochynnis, that the provest and baillies in burrowis and the saidis jugeis in the prochynnis to landwart, be avise of certane of the maist honest parrochynnaris, gif licence undir thair handwrittis to sic and samony of the saidis puyr people, or sic utheris for thame as they sall think gude, to ask and gather the chearitable almous of the prochynnaris at thair awin housis, sa as alwayis it be specialie appointit and aggreit how the puyr of that prochyne salbe sustenit within the same, and not to be chairgeable to utheris nor troublesum to strangearis. And seing be ressone of this present act and ordoure the commoun presonis, irnis and stokkis of every heid burgh of the schire and utheris townis ar like to be fillit with a greitair nowmer of presoneris nor of befoir hes bene accustumat in safer as the saidis vagabundis and utheris offendoris ar to be committit to the commoun pressone of the schire or toun quhair they wer taikin, the same peresonis being in sic townis quhair thair is greit nowmer of puyr people mair nor they ar weill able to sustene and releif, and sua the presoneris ar like to perishe in default of sustenance, thairfoir the expense of the presoner salbe pait be a part of the commoun distributioun and ouklie almous of the parochyne quhair he or she wes apprehendit, allowand to ilk persone daylie ane pund of aitbreid and watter to drink; for pament quhairof, the presentair of him or hir to presone sall gif suirtie or mak present pament. And that the schireffis, stewartis and baillies, lordis of regalities and thair baillies ourall the realme see this present act put to dew executioun in all poyntis within thair boundis and jurisdictionis respective as they will anser to God and our soverane lord thairupoun, and quhatevir doubt or ambiguitie salhappyne to arrys upoun this present act, or ony part thairof, oure soverane lord, with avise of his saidis estaitis, committis the interpretatioun, explanatioun and supplement and full executioun thairof to his majestie with avise of his privie counsale.

  1. NAS, PA2/12, ff.25r-26v.
  2. 'P' written in margin.