33 Hen. 8, c. 6, § 1, An Act Concernin Crossbows and Handguns (1541).
Where in the Parliament holden at Westminster the fifteenth day of January in the twenty-fifth year of the King’s most gracious reign, and there continued and kept until the thirtieth day of March then next ensuing, among diverse and sundry wholesome and laudable acts, statutes, and ordinances one statute and ordinance was made and ordained for the avoiding and eschewing of shooting in crossbows and handguns; since the making of which act diverse malicious and evil disposed persons not only presume willfully and obstinately the violation and breach of the said Act, but also of their malicious and evil disposed minds and purposes have willfully and shamefully committed perpetrated and done diverse detestable and shameful murders, robberies, felonies, riot and rout with crossbows little short handguns and little hagbut, to the great peril and continual fear and danger of the Kings most loving subjects, and also diverse keepers of forests, chases and parks as well of our aid Sovereign Lord as other his Nobles and Commons and diverse Gentlemen, Yeomen and serving men now of late have laid apart the good and laudable exercise of the long bow, which always heretofore hath been the surest safeguard and continual defense of this Realm of England, and an inestimable dread and terror to the enemies of the same, and now of late the said evil disposed persons have used and yet do daily use to ride and go in the King’s highways and elsewhere having with them crossbows and little handguns, ready furnished with Quarrel (gunpowder, fire and touche to the great peril and fear of the King’s most loving subjects : For reformation whereof be it enacted, ordained and established by the King our Sovereign Lord the Lords spiritual and temporal and the Commons in the Present Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same, in manner and form following that is to say; that no person or persons of what estate or degree he or they be, except he or they in their own right or in the right of his or their wife to his or their own uses or any other to the use of such person or persons, have lands, tenements, fees, annuities or office to the yearly value of one hundred pounds, from or after the last day of June next coming shall shoot any crossbow, handgun, hagbutt or demy hake, or use or keep in his or their houses or elsewhere any Crossbow, handgun, hagbutt or demy hake, otherwise or in any manner then is hereafter in the present Act declared, upon pain to forfeit for every time that he or they so offending contrary to this act Ten Pounds. And further be it enacted by authority aforesaid that no person or persons, of what estate or degree soever he or they be, from or after the said last day of Une shall shoot in, carry, keep, use, or have in his house or elsewhere any handgun other than such as shall be in stock and gun of the length of one whole yard, or any hagbutt or demy hake being not of the length of three quarters of a yard, ten pounds sterling and that it shall be lawful to every person and persons who have lands, tenements, fees, annuities or office to the yearly value of one hundred pounds as is aforesaid, to seize and teake every such crossbow and also every handgun being in stock and gun shorter in length than one whole yard and every hagbut and demyhake being shorter in length than three quarters of a yard, or any of them; from the keeping or possession of every such offender contrary to the form of this act, and the same crossbow or crossbows to keep and retain for his or their own use and also the same handguns, hagbut and demy hake so seized and taken within twenty days next after the same seizure of taking to break and destroy upon pain of fourteen shillings for every gun so seized and not broken and destroyed, and th same so broked and destroyed to keep and retain to his own or their own use. And be it further enacted by authority aforesaid, that no person or persons, other than such as have land, tenement, fees annuities or office, to the yearly value of one hundred pounds as aforesaid, from or after the said last day of June shall carry or have, in his or their Journey, going or riding in the King’s highway or elsewhere, any crossbow bent or gun charged or furnished with powder, fire or touche for the same, except it be in time and service of war, upon pain to forfeit for every such offense ten pounds; the present act or any thing therein contained to the contrary notwithstanding. And be it further enacted by authority aforesaid, that no person or persons form the last day of June shall in anyways shoot in or with any handgun demyhake or hagbutt at any thing at large, within any city, borough, or market town or within one quarter of a mile of any city, borough or market town, except it be at a butt or bank of earth in place convenient, or for the defense of his person or house, upon pain to forfeit for every such shot ten pounds; the present act or anything therein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.