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Penal laws applied to the Welsh in 1402

This is the abridged text of six of the penal laws.

Englishmen shall not be convict[ed] by Welshmen in Wales
Item, it is ordained and stablished that no Englishman liege to our Sovereign Lord the King be convict[ed by] any Welshman…but by Englishmen… nor that the English burgesses1, which have married Welsh women, have franchises2 with the English burgesses.

Against wasters3 minstrels etc. in Wales
Item, to eschew many diseases and mischiefs, which have happened before this time in the land of Wales…: it is ordained and stablished that no waster, rhymer, minstrel nor vagabond be in any wise sustained in the land of Wales…

Against congregations4 in Wales
Item, it is ordained and stablished that no congregations be made nor suffered to be made by the Welshmen in any place of Wales, for to make or take any counsel unless it be for an evident and necessary cause, and by licence of the chief officers and ministers of the [same seignory5] where such things shall be done, and in the presence of the same officers and ministers, upon pain of imprisonment…

Welshmen shall not be armed
Item, it is ordained and stablished that from henceforth no Welshman be armed nor bear defensible armour…in affray of the peace or the king's liege people, upon pain of imprisonment…

No victual or armour shall be carried into Wales
Item, it is ordained and stablished, than no Englishman nor Welshman… send or bring… any victual or armour to any parts of Wales, without the special licence of our sovereign lord the King or of his council, unless it be for stuffing or enstoring of castles and English towns… and that in every part of the Marches of Wales… there be English Constables for to enquire, search and arrest all such victuals and armour…

Welshman shall not have castles, etc.
Item, it is ordained and stablished, that no Welshman shall have castle, fortress nor house defensive of his own nor of other to keep, otherwise than was used in the time of King Edward, Conqueror of Wales…

No Welshman shall bear office
Item, it is ordained that no Welshman be made Justice, Chamberlain, Chancellor, Treasurer, Sheriff, Steward, Constable of Castle, Receiver, Escheator, Coroner, nor Chief Forester nor any other Officer, nor Keeper of the Records, nor Lieutenant in any of the said Offices in no part of Wales, nor of the Council of any English lord…

1burgesses: Elected borough officials of incorporated towns.

2franchises: In this context, the legal privileges of English burgesses.

3wasters: Those with an idle and extravagant lifestyle.

4congregations: Meetings.

5seignory: Feudal lordship or dominion.

 
 
 
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