quill Act Against Papists
Elizabeth I, England

An act against popish recusants. For the better discovering and avoiding of all such traitorous and most dangerous conspiracies and attempts as are daily devised and practised against our most gracious sovereign lady, the queen's majesty, and the happy estate of this commonweal by sundry wicked and seditious persons, who, terming themselves Catholics and being indeed spies and intelligencers, not only for her majesty's foreign enemies, but also for rebellious and traitorous subjects born within her highness's realms and dominions, and hiding their most detestable and devilish purposes under a false pretext of religion and conscience, do secretly wander and shift from place to place within this realm to corrupt and seduce her majesty's subjects and to stir them to sedition and rebellion: be it ordained and enacted. . . . that every person above the age of sixteen years, born within any the queen's majesty's realms or dominions or made denizen, being a popish recusant...and having any certain place of dwelling and abode within this realm, shall within forty days next after the end of this session of parliament. . . . repair to their place of dwelling where they usually heretofore made their common abode, and shall not any time after pass or remove above five miles from thence. . . .

Provided always, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all such persons as. . . . aforesaid shall within twenty days next after their coming to any of these said places, as the case shall happen, notify their coming thither and present themselves and deliver their true names in writing to the minister or curate of the same parish and to the constable, headborough, or tithingman of the town; and thereupon the said minister or curate shall presently enter the same into a book to be kept in every parish for that purpose. And afterward the said minister or curate and the said constable, headborough, or tithingman shall certify the same in writing to the justices of the peace of the same county at the next general or quarter sessions to be holden in the said county; and the said justices shall cause the same to be entered by the clerk of the peace in the rolls of the same sessions.

And to the end that the realm be not pestered and overcharged with the multitude of such seditious and dangerous people as is aforesaid, who, having little or no ability to answer or satisfy any competent penalty for their contempt and disobedience of the said laws and statutes and being committed to prison for the same, do live for the most part in better case there than they could if they were abroad at their own liberty. . . : if any such person or persons, being a popish recusant. . . , shall not...repair to their place of usual dwelling [etc.]. . . . as is aforesaid. . . , and shall not. . . . conform themselves to the obedience of the laws and statutes of this realm in coming usually to the church to hear divine service, and in making such public confession and submission as hereafter in this act is appointed. . . , such offender. . . . shall, upon his. . . . corporal oath before any two justices of the peace or coroner of the same county, abjure this realm of England and all other the queen's majesty's dominions forever.

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« About Elizabeth I
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