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A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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RYE                                   379
by-laws for its own internal concerns, and these formed its Customal; a few extracts from that belonging to Rye will give an idea of its organisa­tion in days gone by.*
" These be the usages of the commonalty of the town of Rye, used the time of mind which men's minds can not think the contrary. Written in a.d. 1568, being the ninth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. . . .
" And if the new mayor, so chosen and elected, will not take the charge, but refuse it, all the whole commons together shall go beat down his chief tenement. . . .
" And, when any man taketh the degree of the holy church, the mayor (as coroner) shall go unto him to inquire the cause why he runneth to holy church ; and if he will acknowledge his felony, let it be recorded, and immediately he loseth all his goods and chattels as forfeited, of the which the mayor shall answer unto the town ; and, if he will, he may remain in the church and churchyard by the space of forty days, and, at the end of forty days, he shall forsake the land. And he, sitting upon the churchyard-stile, before the mayor, shall his own self choose his port of passage, and, in case he will make his abjuration within forty days, he shall be accepted, and, anon, the abjura­tion done, he shall take cross; and the mayor shall do to be proclaimed, in the king's name, that no man, upon the pain of life and member, shall do him harm or molestation all the while
* It is printed in William Holloway's Histcn*y and Antiquities of Rye, 1847, a useful but very discoursive work, in reading which we rather tire of the author's religious views and of his trip to Boulogne,
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