By the King a proclamation for preventing the dearth of corne and victual

By the King.

PUBLISHED BY Robert Barker



The Kings most Excellent Majestie (whose watchful eye of providence, for the publique good of his loving subjects, is always kept open) hath lately taken into his Princely consideration, the general scarcitie and dearth of graine and victuall like to fall out, and much feared this yeere following in many parts of this Kingdome. And having upon advice with the Lords of His Majesties Privy Counsell, considered of such good meanes as have been heretofore bsed upon the like occasion, and some others, which by a due and seasonable execution may (by Gods blessing) prevent those extremities, which otherwise the scarcitie threatned, may bring sooth, doeth by this his Proclamation publick and declare his Royall pleasure and Commandement therein, for the good of his people, in the severall Articles here ensuing.

First, whereas his Majestie hath with the advice of his said Privie Counsell, caused a Booke of Orders, for preventing and remedying the dearth of Graine and Victuall, (which was first conceived and made in the time of the late Queen Elizabeth, and afterwards renewed in the time of his Majesties Royall father of blessed memory) to bee again reused and enlarged with some necessary additions, grounded upon the Statutes made since the first publicking thereof, and hath taken care for reprinting of the same; whereby particular directions are given for suppressing the abuses and offences of Ingrossers, Badgers, [...], Carriers, and Buyers of Corne, Mault makers, Brewers, Bakers, Milners, and others trading in Corne, as also for causing the Assize of Bread and Beere to bee truely kept, and the Markets duely supplied with Corne, and the pooreste served and provided for, with other like clauses to the good purpose aforesayd: his Majestie straightly chargeth and commandeth, aswell the Lord Maior, Recorder, Aldermen and Sheriffes of the Citie of London, and all other Officers and Ministers of the sayd Citie, as also all and singular Sheriffes, Justices[Page] of Peace, and other Officers and Ministers in the severall Counties of this Realme, and all Maiors, Sheriffes, Bayliffes, Aldermen, and other Magistrates, Officers and Ministers of all other Cities and Towns Corporate, that they and every of them, within their severall Limits and Jurisdictions respectively, doe carefully and diligently put in due and speedy execution the said Orders and Directions, and every of them, according to his Majesties expresse pleasure therein signified, as they will avoyd his Majesties just indignation, and such further punishments as shall or may bee inflicted upon them, for their neglect of any the dueties of their severall places, and the contempt of this his Majesties Royall Commandement.

And because in the scarcitie of Corne, the plenty and cheapnesse of other Victualls, may help to give some ease and reliefe to the poore, and the forbearing of Flesh, as well in the time of Lent, as upon other high-dayes, may bee a good meanes to draw downe the prices of Flesh, and will also be a good incouragement to the Trade of Fishing, when the certain (illegible and Sale of Fish shall be provided for.

And whereas his Majestie upon some of these considerations, hath by his Highnesse Proclamation bearing date at the Court at White Hall, the eighteenth day of January last past, set downe certain Orders and particular Directions for restraint of killing, dressing, and eating of Flesh in Lent, and upon other high-dayes, to be duely and strictly observed, both for the time of Lent then following, and for all succeeding times, as thereby appeareth; his Majestie hath just cause to be offended at the Supine remissenesse, and willfull contempt generally committed and suffered by the inordinate libertie taken by all sorts of people against the good and wholesome Orders contained in the said Proclamation, upon such Weightie Reasons grounded, and in such strict termes delivered and enjoyed.

And therefore being resolved to take a more strict account thereof for the time to come, both at the hands of the Officers to whom the execution thereof is committed, and of every private person that shall presume to disobey the same; especially in this time of generall feare, and expectation of Dearth (if by good and politique rule and order the same be not in some good measure prevented) doth hereby straightly charge and command aswell the Lord Maior of the Citie of London, for and within the said Citie and the Liberties thereof, and all and singular Maiors, chiefe Officers of other Cities, and Townes Corporate, and also the Justices of Peace, within the severall counties of England and Wales, that they and every of them within the severall limits of their Commissions and Jurisdictions respectively, doe forthwith more diligently and carefully see and cause that the said Proclamation of the eighteenth of January last, and all Articles and Clauses therein contained, be both in Lent next, and at all other times from henceforth duely and strictly observed and performed in every point, upon paine of his Majesties high displeasure, and such penalties as by the Lawes of this Realme may bee inflicted upon the offenders, for their neglect or contempt of his Majestie or his Lawes, upon this second warning.

And whereas by an ancient and laudable Custome no suppers were wont to bee kept on Fridays, or the Eves of Fcasts commanded to be fasted, nor upon Wednesdays, or Saturdayes in the Ember Weekes and Time of Lent, but a general abstinence from Suppers on those nights: And the same course is to this day for the most part observed, not onely in his Majesties most honourable household, and in the families of most of his Nobilitie and great[Page] men of the Kingdome; but also in the Innes of Court and Chancerie, and in the Colledges and halls of both Universities, and all other publique places of good orders, and in the houses of many Knights and Esquires that are most commended for good housekeeping, according to the ancient manner of England, for which this Realme hath heretofore been so much hooured. Howbeit that good and laudable custome is daily more and more neglected, and that good order broken especially in Tavernes, Innes, Ordinaries, houses of Dicing and Playing, Cookes houses, and other Victualing houses, where commonly there is more waste and excess on the Fasting nights, then in any time of the weeke besides.

His majestie therefore doth straightly charge and command that this said ancient and laudable custome bee strictly observed in all and singular Tavernes, Innes, Ordinaries, houses of Dicing and Play, Cookes houses, and other Victualing houses, and that no Suppers bee in them, or any of them, or by the owners of them or any of them, or their servants had, dressed or provided for to be eaten either in their owne houses, or elsewhere, upon any the Fasting nights aforesaid; And that in the Bonds or Recognizances to bee taken of them for observation of Lent and high dayes, this Article specially remembred and provided for.

And as his Majestie doeth command this course to bee observed in the places aforesaid, so hee doth with the Advice of his Privie Counsell, commend the same course to the rest of his Subjects in their private families, in this time of scarcity, and that they would out of that which shall bee saved by this abstinence, and by their sober and moderate dyet at other times, charitably and bountifully employ some good proportion towards the relief of those, that shall bee in penury and want, and would bee glad to bee refreshed with the meanest of that food which is superfluously spent in Rich mens houses.

And for the same end, his Majestie by like advice of his Privy Counsell doeth will and ordayne, that the Feastes at the Halles of Companies in London, which at other times have beene, and may bee , bee, during the time of Sickenesse or Dearth, this yeere . And because the sayd Societies and Companies shall by this means of putting over their Feastes, spare much money of that which hath beene heretofore spent that way, his Majestie doeth specially recommend it unto them; that those who should have borne the Charge of those Feastes, would allow, if not more, yet at the least the one halfe of what that Charge would have come unto, towards the reliefe of the poore, which being orderly disbursed, will bee a great comfort unto them, and will bee a matter of great Charitie in the doers thereof, and beeing by them accordingly performed, his Majestie will graciously accept thereof, and will finde meanes to give them their due commendation and Right, as on the contrary, hee shall have cause to remember the hardnesse of their hearts, which in this time of want shall shew themselves so mercilesse, as not to distribute upon the poore, one halfe of that, which they would bee contend to spend on a Feast, which may well bee spared.

And whereas his Majestie is informed, that sundry Merchants, Strangers and Aliens of Foreigne Countreys, in Amitie with his Majestie, have been heretofore accustomed to bring their Shippes and other Vessels from their owne Countreys, into some of the[Page] Portes, Havens, or Creekes of England or Wales, of purpose, that under colour of taking in a supply of Fresh Victuals for their necessities, they might Victuall themselves, and their Shippe Company from hence for other long Voyages, whereby such Strangers have beene suffered to carry away much of the Corne and Victuals, wherewithal his Majesties owne subjects should have beene sustained and relieved, and they by that meanes pinched with want, which in time of Scarcitie is by no meanes to bee suffered.

His Majestie therefore doeth by this Proclamation give in expresse Charge and Command, as well as Lord Maior of London, for the Port of London, as to all Maiors and other Magistrates of the Out-Ports, and all Creekes and harborough Townes, and to all Sheriffes and Justices of Peace of the Maritime Counties, as also to all Customers, Comptrollers, Searchers, and other his Majesties Officers of his Customes, and to every of them respectively, that they in no wise suffer any such thing to bee done hereafter: Notwithstanding, if any such Aliens or Strangers shall with their Ships or other Vessels by distresse of weather at Sea, or other inevitable accident bee driven into any the Ports, Havens, Creekes or Harboroughs aforesayd; his Majestie is well pleased, that they shall have libertie to provide and take up such quantities of Victuals, and proportion of necessaries for their Ship-Company onely, as by the Lord Maior of London for the Port of London, or by the Maior or chiefe Magistrate of the sayd Port Towne, Haven or Creeke in the Out Ports, where the sayd Ship shall be driven in, and by two of the next Justices of Peace of the County adjoyning, shall bee thought fit to bee allowed for their necessary sustenance, in their returne into their owne Countreys only, and not otherwise: And these proportions so allowed by them to be set downe in writing, under their hands, to be certified to the Lord Treasurer of England, within fourty dayes after such allowance given. And in like manner, his Majestie doeth hereby give a speciall Charge as well to the Lord Maior of the Citie of London, and all Maiors and Magistrates of the Out-Ports, as also to all Sheriffes, and Justices of Peace of the Maritime Counties, and all and singular his Majesties Officers of his Customes, for their severall Limites, places of attendance, and Jurisdictions respectively, that the Articles specified in the said Imprinted Booke of Orders for restrayning the Exportation of Corne and Victuall be duely and carefully observed and put in execution.

Lastly, his Majestie doeth hereby signifie and declare to all and singular Maiors, Sheriffes, Justices of Peace, Bayliffes, Aldermen, and other his Officers, Ministers, and Subjects whome it may concerne; That as his Majestie hath published this his Royall Proclamation, and the sayd Imprinted Orders for the safety, weale and plenty of his people, and for the preserving of the lives and health of the poore, against famine, and the diseases which follow the want of wholesome foode, and doubteth not but good effects will ensue thereof, if every man in his place will readily and willingly put to a helping hand[Page], for the execution of the good Orders conteined in the sayd Booke, and in this his Proclamation: So, if by neglect, or contempt hereof, those evill effects which may then bee feared, doe ensue, his Majestie and his Throne are innocent; And the Offendours as they may well expect the just Judgement of Almighty God, so let them bee assured, that his Majestie will require a strict and severe account of them, and inflict such punishment on them, as those persons deserve, who doe incurre his high displeasure and indignation, and as may justly bee inflicted upon the contemners of his Royall Commandement, in a case of such necessity and importance. Given at His Majesties Court at Hampton, the eight and twentieth day of September, in the fixt yeere of his Majesties Reigne of Great Britaine, France and Ireland.

God save the King.

This is the full version of the original text


flesh, law, penalty, penury, poor, relief, reuse, victuals

Source text

Title: By the King a proclamation for preventing the dearth of corne and victual.

Author: England and Wales. Sovereign (1625-1649 : Charles I)

Publisher: Robert Barker

Publication date: 1630

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bib name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 8966 Physical description: [5] leaves. Notes: Requiring observance of STC 9253, and enforcement of STC 8937, etc. "Given at His Majesties Court at Hampton, the eight and twentieth day of September, in the sixt yeere of His Majesties Reigne of Great Britaine, France and Ireland." Reproduction of original in: Society of Antiquaries. Copy from: Society of Antiquaries UMI Collection /reel number: STC / 1876:128

Digital edition

Original author(s): England and Wales. Sovereign (1625-1649 : Charles I)

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > official legislation

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.