EVERYONE knows you can be executed by arson in the Royal Dockyards for shooting a Welshman from Chester’s walls on a Sunday. Like these laws, it was never repealed:
Any Lancastrian makyng a crossyng may be stripped of worldley goods
Still on the books from the War of the Roses, all travellers from Garstang to Wigglesworth can be legally robbed in case they show an ‘intention of waging warful acts on the populace’. Last to be prosecuted was costermonger Nathaniel Muir in 1822 who during a snowstorm strayed into Keighley, where he was bombarded with cabbages by angry townsfolk.
No citizen is permitted to ask an officer of the law the time
Before 1851, London pickpockets employed gangs of urchins to hinder police by repeatedly asking them the time. The ruse became so widespread that officers complained they often spent five hours a day telling the time and were unable to inspect apple freshness on market stalls. Lord Russell’s government acted and anyone found guilty was fined a shilling or sent to debtor’s prison.
No seat on a train may face that which it travels from
Backward-facing train seats were outlawed in 1829 after the Duke of Wellington and his wife Kitty travelled to Brighton for a day’s cockle picking. The Prime Minister was horrified to find he had to sit facing his wife, who he ‘was not fond of to any degree’. On his return to London, he swiftly enacted legislation to ensure he never had to suffer her visage again.
Thee Lord alone may reste on his day, and no other
Sunday naps were outlawed by Lord Protector Cromwell in 1654, after he personally witnessed the ‘insidious practice of the feckless peasantry to slumber on the Lord’s Day’. Cromwell’s own gardener was charged and fled to Ireland rather than face execution. Offenders are still liable to be fined a half-peck of wheat.
Couples may only conceive before a portrait of the King
Made law in 1942, when it was feared the war could last generations, the requirement for His Majesty to oversee all acts of procreation was intended to encourage women to produce soldiers. To this day any reproductive acts not performed before the King’s image are illicit and the resulting offspring bastards. A 1976 amendment confirmed blowjobs are fine.