Crazy English Laws is in three pages: 1 > 2 > 3 (this is page 3).


Well why not?

We found 'em ... we may as well publish 'em!


Why re-invent the wheel? Here's what Franklin Fiske Heard had to say about it quoting from an 1869 law book called Forsyth on Constitutional Law, page 178:

"The Royal fish are whales and sturgeons which, when cast ashore or caught near the coast, belong to the Crown.

"Blackstone notices a curious distinction made by the old authorities, which is that the whale is to be divided between the King and Queen, the King taking the head and the Queen the tail. The reason assigned being that the Queen might have the whalebone for her wardrobe, although in fact the whalebone is found in the head, and not the tail."


curser1623 would see more wild and crazy laws as James I also approved a bill put forward by his Parliament, An Act to Prevent and Reform Profane Swearing and Cursing.

The legislation implemented harsh justice upon foulmouthed offenders, especially the kids:

"Forasmuch as all profane swearing and cursing is forbidden by the Word of God, be it therefore enacted by the authority of this present Parliament, but no person or persons shall from henceforth profanely swear or curse. And that if any person or persons shall at any time or times hereafter offend herein.... or shall therefore be convicted by the oaths of two witnesses or by confession of the party, ... every such offender shall for every time so offending forfeit and pay to the use of the poor of that parish where the same offense is or shall be committed, the sum of 12 pence.

"The offender, if he or she be above the age of 12 years, shall by warrant from such justice of the peace or head officer be set in the stocks by three whole hours; but if the offender be under the age of 12 years, and shall not forthwith pay the said some of 12 pence, then he or she ... shall be whipped by the Constable, or by the parents or master in his presence."


Because intentional meaning and wounding was still a part of the English law of sentencing, in particular statute had to prohibit "malicious" maiming and wounding.

The context was a serious assault upon the person of John Coventry, who was a Knight and a member of the House of Commons. The old boys club quickly rounded up the members of the House of Commons and they struck a law which the King, Charles II signed into law.

The statute was unique and not just because of its name: An Act to Prevent Malicious Maiming and Wounding.

Symptomatic of the charged an emotional context in which it was drafted, the statute had a long preamble which refers to the suspects as having "fled from justice, not daring to abide a legal trial".

What was particularly quaint about this statute was section VII, inserted almost as an afterthought and presumably out of an abundance of caution, and which contains a requirement that the prosecuting attorney prove that the accused intended to maim whilst cutting the victims tongue:

"For the prevention of like mischiefs for the time to come, be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that any person or persons ... on purpose and of malice forethought, and by lying in wait, shall unlawfully cut out or disable the tongue, pull out and it, slit the nose, cut off a nose or lip, or cut off or disable any Liam or member of any subject of his Majesty, with intention in so doing to maim or disfigure in any the manners the before mentioned such his Majesty's subjects, that band and every such case the person or persons so offending ... shall be and are hereby declared to be felons, and shall suffer death...."

Crazy English Laws is in three pages: 1 > 2 > 3 (this is page 3)