One of the earliest government interventions came in 1351, after the Black Death had caused an acute shortage of labour. The statute attempted not only to control wages and enforce contracts but declared punishment for persons fleeing from one shire to another. Another flurry of legislation came after the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. An Act of 1383 authorized JPs to apprehend vagabonds and another Act of 1388 insisted that anyone leaving his abode or service must carry letters patent explaining the purpose of his journey. Tudor legislation on the subject was both frequent and fierce. The Parliament of Henry VII in 1495 enacted that vagabonds should be put in the stocks for three days and three nights on bread and water. Henry VIII improved upon this in 1531 declaring that an able-bodied vagrant should be ‘tied to the end of a cart naked and be beaten with whips till his body be bloody’, and then sent back to his place of birth or last employment. In 1535 it was announced that on a second offence any ‘valiant beggar or sturdy vagabond’ would lose part of his right ear, and on a third offence would be hanged. Branding was introduced in 1547 and the vagabond was to be sold into slavery. By 1572 they were to be flogged and have their ears bored and by 1604 they would be branded on their shoulder with the letter ‘R’ for rogue. Hanging for repeat offences was certainly no idle threat: four vagrants, including one woman, were hanged in Middlesex in 1575/6. Transportation was also introduced after 1597, mainly to the new American colonies. A different approach was Bridewells, where work was provided: opened in London in 1553, they were soon imitated in other towns and counties. After the Restoration the problem of vagrancy diminished, partly because paupers were given help in their parishes of origin, partly because an expanding economy provided better opportunities for employment. The increasing expense of poor relief led in the early 19th cent. to reorganization of the whole system, but vagabondage had ceased to terrify.
J. A. Cannon
"Vagrancy Acts." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vagrancy-acts
"Vagrancy Acts." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved July 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vagrancy-acts
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.