An Act for taking away of Clergy from Offenders against a certain Statute made in the third Year of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh, concerning the Taking away of Women against their Wills unlawfully. [1597.]
Whereas of late Times divers Women, as well Maidens as Widows and
Wives, having Substance, some in Goods moveable, and some in Lands and
Tenements, and some being Heirs apparent to their Ancestors, for the Lucre of
such Substance been oftentimes taken by Misdoers contrary
to their Will, and afterward married to such Misdoers,
or to others by their Assent, or defiled, to the great Displeasure of God, and
contrary to your Highness Laws, and Disparagement of the said Woman, and great
Heaviness and Discomfort of their Friends, and ill Example of others ; (2) which
Offences, albeit the same be made Felony by a certain Act of Parliament made in
the third Year of King Henry the
Seventh, yet forasmuch as Clergy hath been heretofore allowed such Offenders,
divers Persons have attempted and committed the said Offences, in Hope of Life
by the Benefit of Clergy ;’ Be it therefore enacted by the Queen’s most
excellent Majesty, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, in this
present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That all and
every such Person and Persons, as at any Time after the End of this present
Session of Parliament shall be convicted or attainted of or for any Offence to
be committed after the End of this present Session of Parliament, made Felony
by the said Act of the third Year of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh, or which shall be indicted and arraigned of or
for any such Offence, and stand mute, or do make do direct Answer, or shall
challenge peremptorily above the Number of twenty, shall in every such Case
lose his and their Benefit of Clergy, and shall suffer Pains of Death without
Benefit of Clergy ; any former Law to the contrary notwithstanding.
II. Provided always, That this Act, nor any Thing therein contained, shall not extend to take away the benefit of Clergy, but only from such Person or Persons as hereafter shall be Principals, or Procurers or Accessaries before such Offence committed.
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