Penalties for 'seditious words and rumours'
against the queen, 1580-1

The penalties for disloyalty and treason steadily increased during the Tudor period. As tension escalated between England and Spain, so too did official suspicion of anyone disseminating information critical of the monarchy. This Act of Parliament from the reign of Elizabeth I, specifies capital punishment for anyone writing seditious books, while the spreading of seditious rumours was punishable either by the pillory or the loss of both ears or by a fine of £200 plus six months' imprisonment. If anyone was foolish enough to commit a second offence, it would be adjudged a felony and the punishment would be death and forfeiture of property and possessions.
Catalogue reference: C 65/172, no. 2 (1580-1)




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