The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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380                   THE SUSSEX COAST
he keepeth the king's highway towards the port that he hath chosen for his passage.
"And when any is found cutting a purse, or of taking and picking silver or other money out of any purse in the market-place, or any other place, at the suit of the appellant, it is accustomed that the said cut-purse or pick-purse shall have one of his ears cut off from his head; and then he shall be led unto the town's end, and there to swear and to abjure never to come within the town again upon the pain of losing his other ear, and to abjure the town upon pain of losing his life; and if he be found the third time, whether he were before marked, within the town or with­out, he shall suffer judgment. . . .
"If any man set any hand or weapon with violence upon the mayor, or saith him evil in the court or out of the court, or else maketh resistance against him, let him be immediately taken and grievously punished by his body; and by the jurats of the said town he shall be taken to make fine unto the town because of the offence, and to make fine unto the mayor because of his trespass; and if the mayor be stricken by hand, or by weapon, he that striketh him shall lose that hand that he striketh with, if the mayor will."
Mediaeval population being somewhat scanty, and the demands of their fleet both for fishing and commerce being very great, it was altogether an advantage for the Ports to receive new settlers, their naturalisation laws were accordingly very liberal. The crowded conditions in Rye made it somewhat subject to epidemics, and its death-rate was undoubtedly high. And so the Customal proceeds to provide for easy granting of the
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