Is it legal to shoot a Welshman with a longbow on Sunday in the Cathedral Close in Hereford; or inside the city walls of Chester after midnight; or a Scotsman within the city walls of York, other than on a Sunday?
It is illegal to shoot a Welsh or Scottish (or any other) person regardless of the day, location or choice of weaponry. The idea that it may once have been allowed in Chester appears to arise from a reputed City Ordinance of 1403, passed in response to the Glyndŵr Rising, and imposing a curfew on Welshmen in the city. However, it is not even clear that this Ordinance ever existed. Sources for the other cities are unclear; Hereford, like Chester, was frequently under attack from Wales during the medieval period. Unlawful killings are today covered by the criminal law; see also Art. 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to life.But some silly laws actually are true:
It is illegal to beat or shake any carpet or rug in any street. However, beating or shaking a doormat is allowed before 8am.
This is an offence under s60 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. In other districts, it is an offence under s28 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. Other offences covered by s28 include:This New York Times article has more details about other unusual laws.
- keeping a pigsty in front of your house;
- slaughtering cattle in the street;
- erecting a washing line across the street;
- singing profane or obscene songs or ballads in the street;
- wilfully and wantonly disturbing people by ringing their doorbells or knocking at their doors.