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KING'S MAJESTY'S DECLARATION
TO HIS SUBJECTS,
LAWFUL SPORTS TO BE USED.
Imprinted at London, by Robert Barker, printer to the King's Most Excellent
Majesty; and by the Assigns of Jobn Bill, 1623. Quarto, containing twenty pages.
BY THE KING.
coming through Lancashire, found that his subjects were debarred from lawful recreations upon Sundays, after evening prayers ended, and upon holidays; and he prudently considered, that, if these times were taken from them, the meaner sort, who labour hard all the week, should have no recreations at all to refresh their spirits. And, after his return, he farther saw, that his loyal subjects, in all other parts of his kingdom, did suffer in the same kind, though, perhaps, not in the same degree; and did, therefore, in his princely wisdom, publish a declaration to all his loving subjects, concerning lawful sports to be used at such times; which was printed and published, by his royal commandment, in the year 1618, in the tenor which hereafter followeth ;
BY THE KING.
WHEREAS, upon our return the last year out of Scotland, we did publish our pleasure, touching the recreations of our people in those parts, under our hand; for some causes us thereunto moving, we have thought good to command these our directions, then given in Lancashire, with a few words thereunto added, and most applicable to these parts of our realms, to be published to all our subjects.
Whereas we did justly, in our progress through Lancashire, rebuke some puritans and precise people, and took order, that the like unlawful carriage should not be used by any of them hereafter, in the prohibiting and unlawful punishing of our good people, for using their lawful recreations and honest exercises, upon Sundays and other holi
days, after the afternoon sermon or service: we now find, that two sorts of people, wherewith that country is much infected (we mean papists and puritans) have maliciously traduced and calumniated those our just and honourable proceedings ; and therefore, lest our reputation might, upon the one side (though innocently) have some aspersion laid upon it, and, upon the other part, our good people in that country be misled, by the mistaking and misinterpretation of our meaning, we have therefore thought good hereby to clear and make our pleasure to be manifested to all our good people in those parts.
It is true, that, at our first entry to this crown and kingdom, we were informed (and that too truly) that our county of Lancashire abounded more in popish recusants, than any county of England, and thus hath still continued since, to our great regret with little amendment; save that now of late, in our last riding through our said county, we find, both by the report of the judges, and of the bishop of that diocese, that there is some amendment now daily beginning; which is no small contentment to us.
The report of this growing amendment amongst them made us the more sorry, when, with our own ears, we heard the general complaint of our people, that they were barred from all lawful recreation and exercise upon the Sunday's afternoon, after the ending of all divine service; which cannot but produce two evils: the one, the hindering of the conversion of many, whom their priests will take occasion hereby to vex, persuading them, that no honest mirth or recreation is lawful, or tolerable, in our religion; which cannot but breed a great discontentment in our peoples's hearts, especially of such as are, peradventure, upon the point of turning. The other inconvenience is, that this prohibition barreth the common and meaner sort of people from using such exercises, as may make their bodies more able for war, when we, or our successors, shall have occasion to use them; and in place thereof, sets up filthy tipplings and drunkenness, and breeds a number of idle and discontented speeches in their alehouses : for, when shall the common people have leave to exercise, if not upon the Sundays and holidays ? Seeing they must apply their labour, and win their living in all working days.
Our express pleasure therefore is, that the laws of our kingdom, and canons of our church, be as well observed in that county, as in all other places of this our kingdom; and, on the other part, that no lawful recreation shall be barred to our good people, which shall not tend to the breach of our aforesaid laws, and canons of our church: which to express more particularly, our pleasure is, that the bishop, and all other inferior churchmens, and churchwarden, shall, for their parts, be careful and diligent, both to instruct the ignorant, and convince and reform them that are misled in religion ; presenting them that will not conform themselves, but obstinately stand out, to our judges and justices ; whom we likewise command to put the law in due execution against them.
Our pleasure likewise is, that the bishop of that diocese take the like straight order with all the puritans and precisians within the șame, either constraining them to conform themselves, or to leave the county, according to the laws of our kingdom, and canons of our church ; and so to strike equally, on both hands, against the contemners of our authority, and adversaries of our church. And, as for our good people's lawful recreation, our pleasure likewise is, That, after the end of divine service, our goud people be not disturbed, letted, or discouraged from any lawful recreation, such as dancing, either men or women ; archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any other such harmless recreation; nor from having of May-games, Whitson-ales, and morrice-dances; and the setting up of May-poles, and other sports therewith used, so as the same be had in due and convenient time, without impediment or neglect of divine service; and that women shall have leave to carry rushes to the church, for the decoring of it, according to their old custom. But, withal, we do here account still as prohibited all unlawful games to be used upon Sundays only, as bear and bull-baitings, interludes, and, at all times, in the meaner sort of people by law prohibited, bowling.
And likewise we bar, from this benefit and liberty, all such known recusants, either men or women, as will abstain from coming to church or divine service, being therefore unworthy of any lawful recreation after the said service, that will not first come to the church and serve God: prohibiting, in like sort, the said recreations to any that, though conform in religion, are not present in the church, at the service of God, before their going to the said recreations. Our pleasure likewise is, that they, to whom it belongeth in office, shall present, and sharply punish all such as, in abuse of this our liberty, will use these exercises before the ends of all divine services, for that day. And we likewise straightly command, that every person shall resort to his own parish church to hear divine service, and each parish by itself to use the said recreation after divine service; prohibiting likewise any offensive weapons to be carried, or used in the said times of recreations. And our pleasure is, that this our declaration shall be published, by order froin the bishop of the diocese, through all the parish churches; and that both our judges of our circuit, and our justices of our peace, be informed thereof.
Given at our mannor of Greenwich, the four-and-twentieth
day of May, in the sixteenth year of our reign of England,
France, and Ireland, and, of Scotland, the one-and-fiftieth. Now, out of a like pious care for the service of God, and for suppressing of any humours that oppose truth, and for the case, comfort, and recreation of our well-deserving people, we do ratify and publish this our blessed father's declaration; the rather, because of late, in some counties of our kingdom, we find, that, under pretence of taking away abuses, there hath been a general forbidding, not only of ordinary meetings, but of the feasts of the dedication of the churches, commonly called Wakes. Now our express will and pleasure is, that these feasts, with others, shall be observed ; and that our justices of the peace, in their several divisions, shall look to it, both that all disorders there may be prevented, or punished, and that all neighbourhood and freedom, with manlike and lawful exercises, be used. And we farther command our justices of assize, in their several circuits, to see, that no man do trouble or molest any of our loyal and dutiful people, in or for their lawful recreations, having first done their duty to God, and continuing in obedience to us and our laws: and of this we command all our judges, justices of the peace, as well within liberties as without, mayors, bailiffs, constables, and other officers, to take notice of, and to see observed, as they tender our displeasure. And we farther will, that publication of this our command be made, by order from the bishops, through all the parish churches of their several dioceses respectively.
Given at our palace of Westminser, the eighteenth day of
October, in the ninth year of our reign.
GOD SAVE THE KING,
OLD, OLD, VERY OLD MAN*:
THE AGE AND LONG LIFE OF
TH O M AS PA RR,
County of Salop, (or Shropshire),
Who was born in the Reign of King Edward the Fourth, ia the Year 1483.
and departed this life, at Westminster, the fifteenth of November,
WRITTEN BY JOHN TAYLOR.
London : printed for Henry Gosson, at his Shop on London-bridge, near to the
Gate, 1635. Quarto, containing thirty-two pages.
To the High and Mighty Prince Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.
OF subjects, my dread liege, 'tis manifest,
Y’have had the old'st, the greatest, and the least:
That, for an old, a great, and little man,
may be great in spir't, though small in sight,
was, to be in place,
The occasion of this Old Man's being brought out of Shropshire to
S it is impossible for the sun to be without light, or fire to have
addicted to virtue, as the steel to the loadstone ; and, without great violence, neither the one or the other can be sundered. Which mani. festly appears in the conveying out of the country of this
ancient man; a monument, I may say, and almost miracle of nature.
For the Right Honourable Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Earl Marshal of England, &c. being lately in Shropshire to visit some lands and manors which his Lordship holds in that country, or for some other occasions of importance, which caused his Lordship to be there: the report of this aged man was certified to his honour; who hearing of so remarkable a piece of antiquity, his lordship was pleased to see him, and, in his innate noble and Christian piety, he took him into his charitable tuition and protection: commanding that a litter and two horses (for the more easy carriage of a man so enfeebled and worn with age) be provided for him; also, that a daughter-in-law of his, named Lucy, should likewise attend him, and have a horse for her own riding with him; and, to chear up the old man, and make him merry, there was an antick-faced fellow, called Jack, or John the Fool, with a high and mighty no beard, that had also a horse for his carriage. These all were to be brought out of the country to London by easy