The seventh year of William III
An Act declaring which Days in the Year shall
be observed as Holy-Days.
WHERE AS many idle persons refuse to work at their
lawful calling and labour on several days in the year, on pretence that the
same is dedicated to some saint, or pretended saint, patron or pretended patron,
for whom they have or pretend to have reverence or respect, and chuse rather
to spend such dayes in idleness, drunkenness, and vice, to the scandal
of religion, rather than following and working in their lawful calling and usual imployment, which hath been found by experience to tend very much to the impoverishing and hindring the improvement of this kingdom : for remedy whereof, be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that if any common labourer, being hired or other servant retained, shall refuse to work upon any other day than the several days hereafter mentioned, being thereunto required, upon the usual and accustomed wages, (that is to say) all Sundays in the year, the day of the feast of the circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the epiphany, of the conversion of St. Paul, of the purification of the Blessed Virgin; of Saint Matthias the apostle, of the annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, of Saint Mark the Evangelist, of Saint Philip and Jacob the apostles, of Saint Barnabas the apostle, of the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the nativity of Saint John the Baptist, of Saint Peter the apostle, of Saint James the apostle, of Saint Bartholomew the apostle, of Saint Matthew the apostle, of Saint Michael the Arch-angel, of Saint Luke the Evangelist, of Saint Simon and Saint Jude the apostles, of All-saints, of Saint Andrew the apostle, of Saint Thomas the apostle, of the nativity of our Lord, of Saint Stephen the Martyr, of Saint John the Evangelist, of the holy innocents, Monday and Tuesday in Easter week, Monday and Tuesday in Whitson week, the twenty third of October, fifth of November, the thirtieth day of January, and twenty ninth day of May, yearly: and that no other day, except the days aforesaid, and such other days as on some extraordinary occasions shall hereafter be set apart by order of his Majesty, his heirs and successors, or the chief governor or governors of this kingdom for the time being, shall be kept, or commanded to be kept holy, or to abstain from lawful bodily labour; every such person or persons so refusing, being thereof lawfully convicted by his or their own confession, or by the testimony of one or more sufficient witness or witnesses upon oath before any justice of the peace in any county, mayor, or other chief officer of any city, burrough, town, or corporation, who shall have power by vertue of this statute to minister such oaths where the offence shall be committed, or the party offending apprehended, shall forfeit the sum of two shillings, to be paid at such time, or to such person as by the said justice of the peace, or other chief officer aforesaid, shall be appointed, to be disposed of to the poor of the parish where such offence shall be committed; and if such
offender or offenders shall neglect or refuse to pay the said sums to be assessed or appointed as aforesaid, then the said justice of the peace, or other head-officer aforesaid, shall commit all and every such offender and offenders to some constable, or other inferior officer of the county, city, town, or corporation, where the said offence shall be committed, or the party apprehended, to be publickly whipped; which punishment shall be publickly inflicted and executed upon such offenders within the space of twenty four hours after such order made.
And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any constable or inferior
officer aforesaid, do refuse, or do not at the commandment of any justice of
the peace, or other chief officer of any county, city, town, or corporation,
execute by himself, or by some other to be by him procured, the punishment aforesaid
upon all such offenders, that in that case it shall and may be lawful for the
said justice of the peace, and all and every other justice or justices of the
peace, or chief officer of any such county, city, town, or corporation upon
sufficient information thereof, to bind over such constable, or inferior town-officer,
to the next general quarter-sessions of the peace, or general assizes or goal-delivery,
which shall first happen, there to be proceeded against for such his contempt;
and in case he shall be found guilty thereof, upon examination of the one or
more witness or witnesses, he shall be fined at the discretion of the court,
so as such fine for every such offence do not exceed the sum of twenty shillings.
III. Provided always, That no justice of the peace, or head officer of any town or corporation, do execute this statute for any offence done unto himself, or whereof complaint was not made within ten days after such refusal to work, as aforesaid; and all justices of assize and goal-delivery are hereby required to give this act in charge at every assize or goal-delivery within the several counties of their circuits; and to enquire of, hear and determine the neglect of all justices of the peace, and others, in the due execution of this statute.
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