You would expect laws passed 700 years ago would be well and truly past their ‘sell-by date’, right?
As an example, take the 1322 UK law ‘All beached whales and sturgeons must be offered to the Reigning Monarch’.
This doggedly hangs on and indeed came into play as late as 2004.
Robert Davies caught a 9lb sturgeon off the Welsh coast and obviously with a comprehensive knowledge of the law, duly sent the fish to the Queen.
Her Majesty was evidently happy with her fish stock and wrote back saying she was happy for him to “dispose of the fish as he saw fit”.
The trouble was, Mr Davies had overlooked the fact that it is also an offense to deliberately catch or kill a sturgeon as they are protected.
This lead to a short criminal investigation.
Fortunately sense prevailed.
Stanley the Sturgeon is now proudly displayed in the Natural History Museum in London.
Still on the subject of animal-based laws, how about the fact that…
‘It is an offense to be drunk and in charge of cattle in England and Wales’
But there again, there is also a law that states it’s illegal to be drunk in a pub!?
It makes you wonder if you’d be in SERIOUS trouble if you got drunk in a pub whilst looking after cattle? 🙂
…and back to animals…
(One from the recent past; 1986 to be precise):
‘It is illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances.’
My mind goes to truly dark places when I try to imagine what this means.
Other bizarre legislation that remains on the statute books includes the 1313 law that it is illegal to wear armour in parliament?!
Although with the way politicians are perceived following their performance over recent years…
…I think they could do with the protection!
And one final weird, and yet active still active English law…
‘It is an offence to beat or shake any carpet, rug, or mat (except doormats before 8 am) in a thoroughfare in the Metropolitan Police District’.
So whether you plan to get jiggly with a salmon, beat a rug or get smashed with a bovine…
…just watch out for the law.