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Act for the Repression of Vagrancy (1597)

Act for the Repression of Vagrancy (1597):
  • Required than anyone deemed to be a rogue, vagabond, or sturdy beggar, who was found begging could be "stripped naked from the middle upwards and openly whipped until his or her body be bloody.
  • The person was then passed to his or her birthplace or last residence.
People falling within the scope of this Act included:
  1. Wandering scholars seeking alms.
  2. Shipwrecked seamen.
  3. Idle persons using subtle craft in games or in fortune-telling.
  4. Pretended proctors, procurers or gatherers of alms for institutions.
  5. Fencers, bearwards, common players or minstrels.
  6. Jugglers, tinkers, pedlars & petty chapmen.
  7. Able-bodied wandering persons & labourers without means refusing to work for current rates of wages.
  8. Discharged prisoners.
  9. Wanderers pretending losses by fire.
  10. Egyptians or gypsies.
Amendments to Act:
  • In the ensuing 2 centuries the list was amended from time to time to include any class of person now considered undesirable.
  • Examples included - unlicensed lottery ticket dealers, "end-gatherers" (persons buying ends of cloth), poachers, persons "in possession of burglarious implements", etc.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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