Under the reign of Elizabeth I, any person found guilty of “harboring a Catholic priest” would be tortured or even hanged. Any priest of the Catholic faith that was caught would be hanged, drawn, and quartered.
With the exception of carrots, most goods may not be sold on Sunday.
All English males over the age 14 are to carry out 2 or so hours of longbow practice a week supervised by the local clergy. Explanation: This law dates from the middle ages when there was no standing army, so in times of war each gentry was required to produce a quota (depending on its size) of knights, archers, infantry, etc. As the church was the only centralized instrument of bureauacracy (the lords were independent for the most part), they were used for such tasks.
London Hackney Carriages (taxis/cabs) must carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats. Explanation: The London Hackney Carriage Laws covers hackneys in other towns too and have remained unaltered for over 100 years. Firms have been known to manufacture very small bales of hay to carry in a taxi during disputes during local councils (who license the
hackneys everywhere except London). Also the vehicle has to be tethered at a taxi rank,
and the council have to supply a water trough at said ranks (that could be fun on a Saturday night!). The one about urinating against the back wheel is a Hackney Carriage Law too, and has also been done, on mass, during taxi/council disputes (allegedly).
The severest Penaltys will be suffered by any commoner who doth permit his animal to have carnal knowledge of a pet of the Royal House (enacted by George I).
It is illegal to be drunk on Licensed Premises (in a pub or bar).
It is illegal for two adult men to have sex in the same house as a third person. Explanation: Introduced to outlaw “molly houses” which began to appear in the big cities of England in the late 16th Century. In these bordellos, homosexuals engaged in sex, sado
-masochism, transvestitism etc., and they were perceived as a threat to public morality, and so outlawed.
Any person found breaking a boiled egg at the sharp end will be sentenced to 24 hours in the village stocks (enacted by Edward VI).
It is illegal to stand within one hundred yards of the reigning monarch when not wearing socks (enacted by Edward VI).
Chelsea Pensioners may not be impersonated. Explanation: Chelsea Pensioners are entitled to enhanced state benefits and subsidized accommodation, so pretending to be one is simply fraud!
A bed may not be hung out of a window.
It is illegal for a lady to eat chocolates on a public conveyance.
Mince pies can not be eaten on Christmas day. Explanation: Ingredients of mince pies and plum puddings were pagan in origin, and their consumption part of ancient fertility rituals. The law dates from the Puritan era, the same time that dancing in church, maypoles, and holly and ivy decorations were outlawed. The laws were never officially repealed because upon the restoration of the monarchy, (in the form of Charles II) all laws formed under the protectorate were ignored as invalid.
Any boy under the age of 10 may not see a naked mannequin.
It is illegal to leave baggage unattended. Explanation: Many terrorists in the UK favor the practice of placing a bomb in a bag, then leaving the bag to explode later. Since this became a real threat, this law was passed to deter the crime and prosecute those who commit it.
Picking up abandoned baggage is an act of terrorism. See above.
Those wishing to use a television must buy a license. Explanation: Unlike the commercial TV channels of the United States the two major stations in the UK are government paid for (BBC1 and BBC2) and have no commercials. This is also the case for the 4 government stations of Sweden as well. It has only been recently that commercial TV channels have been available to the public. The licence pays for the shows and the costs needed to run the stations. It also covers various taxes not noticed in the US. The taxes exist in the States, but with several hundred million people more in the States the tax is divided up into MUCH smaller bits.
It is illegal for a Member of Parliament to enter the House of Commons wearing a full suit of armour. Explanation: The law dates from the renegotiation of royal/political power on the accession of Charles II, designed to stop the MPs storming the house if it makes a decision they disapprove of. The Monarch is not allowed to enter the House of Commons (the legislative house) for similar reasons
Destroying or defacing money is illegal.
If a steam locomotive is driven on roads, a man must walk in front of the vehicle with a red flag during the day and a red lantern at night to warn passersby.
All steam locomotives are limited to 4mph on roads.
Anal sex is prohibited.
You may not make out in public.
It is legal for a male to urinate in public, as long it is on the rear wheel of his motor vehicle and his right hand is on the vehicle. Explanation: One of many Hackney Carriage Laws that have been unaltered for over 100 years, and it has allegedly been done on mass during taxi/council disputes.
Committing suicide is classified as a capital crime.
Interfering with the mail or sleeping with the consort of the Queen is classed as treason, and as such, carries a maximum penalty of death.
Placing a postage stamp that bears the Queen (or King) upside down is considered treason.
One may not “blemish the peace”.
A license is required to keep a lunatic.
Damaging the grass is illegal.
In Chester, you can only shoot a Welsh person with a bow and arrow inside the city walls and after midnight.
You may not shoot a Welsh person on Sunday with a longbow in the Cathedral Close in Hereford.
In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless in public except as a clerk in a tropical fish store.
In London, companies may vote in local elections.
In York, excluding Sundays, it is perfectly legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow.