Egyptians Act 1530

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The Egyptians Act 1530 (22 Henry VIII, c. 10) was an Act passed by the Parliament of England in 1531 to expel the "outlandish people calling themselves Egyptians",[1] meaning Gypsies. It was repealed by the Repeal of Obsolete Statutes Act 1856.[2]


The Act accused Gypsies of using crafty and subtle devices to deceive people, notably by claiming to tell fortunes whilst also frequently committing felonies such as robbery. The statute forbade any more Gypsies from entering the realm and gave those already in England sixteen days' notice to depart from the realm. Goods which Gypsies had stolen were to be restored to their owners and property confiscated from Gypsies was to be divided between the Sovereign and the Justice of the Peace or another arresting officer.

Egyptians Act 1554[edit]

The 1530 act was not successful in its aim of expelling all Gypsies, for Mary I passed the Egyptians Act 1554 (1 & 2 Philip & Mary, c. 4), which complained that "Egyptians" were plying their "devilish and naughty practices and devices".[4] However, the new act allowed the Gypsies to escape prosecution so long as they abandoned their nomadic lifestyle, or as the act put it, their "naughty, idle and ungodly life and company".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Great Britain; Edlyne Tomlins, Thomas; Raithby, John (1811). The statutes at large, of England and of Great Britain: from Magna Carta to the union of the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The Statutes at Large, of England and of Great Britain:. 3. John Raithby - G. Eyre. (printer - A. Strahan). p. 89.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) In fact, "gypsies" are now known to be descendants of migrants from Northern India, from around 600AD, G Tremlett, 'Gypsies arrived in Europe 1,500 years ago, genetic study says' (7 December 2012) The Guardian
  2. ^ The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland [1807-1868/69]. His Majesty's Statute and Law Printers. 1856. p. 323.
  3. ^ Great Britain (1763). Danby Pickering (ed.). The statutes at large from the Magna Charta, to the end of the eleventh Parliament of Great Britain. J. Bentham. p. 205.
  4. ^ Pickering, Danby, ed. (1763). The Statutes at Large: From the Magna Charta, to the End of the Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain, Anno 1761 [continued to 1806]. 6. J. Bentham. p. 28. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  5. ^ Mayall, David. English Gypsies and State Policies.


  • Stanford Lehmberg, The Reformation Parliament 1529-1536 (Cambridge University Press, 1970).

External links[edit]