Ale Houses Act 1551
The Ale Houses Act 1551 (5 & 6 Edw. 6 c. 25), or An Act for Keepers of Ale-houses to be bound by Recognisances, sometimes the Licensing Act 1551, was an Act of the Parliament of England passed in 1552. It was passed to control the "abuses and disorders as are had and used in common ale-houses", and laid the foundation of modern licensing law. It provided that the Justices of the Peace were given power within their jurisdiction to stop the common selling of ale and beer in common ale-houses and tippling-houses, where they felt it to be appropriate and convenient. No-one was to be permitted to keep an ale-house without being so licensed by the Justices at Quarter Sessions, and the Justices were to take bond and surety of the keepers of common ale-houses and tippling-houses. This surety was to prevent the playing of unlawful games as well as for the maintenance of public order. Common selling of ale in booths at a fair by any person was permitted, however, "for the relief of the King's subjects that shall repair to the same", notwithstanding the rest of the Act.
It was repealed by section 35 of the Alehouse Act 1828 (9 Geo.4 c.61).
- Tanner, J. R. (1951). Tudor Constitutional Documents, AD 1485–1603. Cambridge University Press. p. 500.