Old England had the strangest of laws. Charles Dickens called the law an idiot and an ass.
Although old England had so many strange laws in times past. Those laws made complete sense as at then, but in recent times the commission have been repelling some of them.
In 1965, the Law Commission was commissioned and was charged with the mandate of repealing ancient English laws and also updating them. The law commission is responsible for reviewing ancient laws and recommending appropriate changes to be made.
It is not an easy job wading through dusty statute books that are ancient searching for old English laws that are strange and adding them to the Repeal Bill, they do this because they have no jurisdiction crossing these laws out. It is only the parliament that has this power after deliberating on them for some time.
One example of England weird laws;
In 1307,a law was passed, that stated that the whales that are dead and seen on the British coast automatically becomes the king’s property. Also, the tail of the whale is to be given to Queen to make her corset. Looking at history, in the year 1307, on 7th July that same year, Edward I died and as his dying wish, Edward I asked his son to take his bones along, when going to conquer Robert the Bruce of Scotland.
Placing a stamp that bears British monarch in a wrong way, is an act of treason and it is punishable by death.
On the 25th of December, It was also illegal to eat mince-pie and this was applied in all of England.
Another English law states, not disclosing information to the taxman is illegal, but disclosing information you don’t mind telling him, is not. This was the law under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006.
In the 1800, many criminals were sentenced to death on the bases of different crimes committed, such as; impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner, picking pockets, forgery, murder,sheep-stealing, treason, stealing money, horse-stealing,damaging properties and so much more, there are about two hundred in total.
It is mandatory for males who are English and above the age of fourteen to take longbow lessons every weekend for two hours. a church official supervises. As at that time, since no armies existed, only trained infantry, knights, archers and others that existed. Trotters Bottom in Hertfordshire was one of the oldest archery range that still exists till date. Archery ranges were usually located on the extreme end of the field.
Shooting of a Welsh person on Sunday in Hereford was prohibited except with a Longbow, murdering a Welsh person at all hours of the day, so far he is within the city walls.
It is illegal in York, to kill a Scotsman carrying a bow and arrow within the city of York, but this law is not applicable on a Sunday.
English Laws that are Weird
Seeing a mannequin that is naked is illegal for all ten year old boys.
Hanging a bed from a window is illegal.
Leaving and picking up luggage that was abandoned is also illegal.
It is allowed for all English males to urinate behind the wheel of his vehicle but he must place his right hand on it.
In the late 16th Century, a law was introduced to outlaw “molly houses” where homosexuals committed immoral acts. This law banned two or more males from having sexual activities in a house.
English females eating chocolate in public is illegal.
It is a crime to commit suicide in England. Although this law was repealed.
It is considered an offence to be drunk in an inn, this is because the premise is licensed.
It was illegal not to carry bags of oats and bales of hay, when using Carriages in London. The reason for this is that in ancient times horses drawn. In 1976, This law was repealed. Even till this day, all public transport drivers must ask their passengers their smallpox status and it is illegal to carry corpse or sick dogs in your cab without asking for permission from your passengers. At that time it was illegal to impersonate or dress like a Chelsea Pensioner in order to get unmerited pensions. There were brave men who risked their lives for their country and less brave men who were cowardly laying claims to another’s pension. Impostors were sentenced to death when caught.
In 1682, King Charles II Founded The Men in Scarlet. It is a sanctuary for veterans to get relief and treatment from war injuries. It can still be seen, if you are visiting Westminster.
Christmas was considered illegal at 1647, by the English parliament. A Puritan leader banned all festivities relating to Christmas, but after the Puritans left the governing authority in 1660, Christmas was made legal. Then, anyone who celebrated Christmas was arrested.
Keeping a pigsty is allowed for all Londoners, especially in front of their house.
In 1797, John Hetherington who hated London, publicly carried his Top Hat he created. As a result he pulled a large crowd of people but unfortunately for him many women fainted as a result of the noise and a little boy broke his arm. He was fined fifty pounds for disturbing the king’s peace and coming out of his house wearing a shining lustre that was tall, it was seen by the court as a way of frightening people. He was charged and fined.
Shaking a carpet in the street of the Metropolitan Police District was illegal, but this action becomes legal before 8am and nothing later.
Dyeing was illegal in the Houses of Parliament Wearing a full suit of armor by a member of parliament is illegal when worn to the House of Commons.
Trading on Sundays.
Only carrots were allowed to be sold on a Sunday. This law made it relatively illegal to sell anything else. Those business owners that wished to sell their wares sold carrots for huge sums of money, but gifted their wares in return.
Buying and selling of the bible on Sunday was illegal, but Buying and selling dirty magazines was legal on a Sunday.
A Chinese shop can open on Sunday and must sell chips and fish only, but the opening of an English traditional shop that sells fish and chips on Sunday was illegal.
It is a popular saying that you should not beat your spouse with anything wider than your thumb, this is derived from an ancient law (rule of thumb).
I have searched hard for the original document that contain wife beating and the rule of thumb. My search proved futile but I found a saying that a carpenter measures with his thumb as a ruler, substituting it for a measuring stick. I apologise for straying of topic but debunking the ancient English law (the rule of thumb), was my aim.
Giving breadcrumbs to a pregnant woman is a must for a baker. Also refusing a woman that is pregnant the right to use a toilet is illegal for a pharmacist.
A woman with an unborn child has the right to urinate anywhere she wants to. In the whole of England this law is enforced.