Egyptians Act 1530

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Egyptians Act 1530
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act concerning Egyptians.
Citation22 Hen. 8. c 10
Territorial extent 
Royal assent31 March 1531
Repealed21 July 1856
Other legislation
Repealed byRepeal of Obsolete Statutes Act 1856
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted

The Egyptians Act 1530 (22 Hen. 8. c 10) was an Act passed by the Parliament of England in 1531 to expel the "outlandish people calling themselves Egyptians",[1] meaning Roma. It was repealed by the Repeal of Obsolete Statutes Act 1856.[2]


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

an outlandish people, calling themselves Egyptians, using no craft nor feat of merchandise, who have come into this realm, and gone from shire to shire, and place to place, in great company; and used great subtlety and crafty means to deceive the people--bearing them in hand that they, by palmistry, could tell men's and women's fortunes; and so, many times, by craft and subtlety, have deceived the people for their money; and also have committed many heinous felonies and robberies, to the great hurt and deceit of the people that they have come among.... ... the Egyptians now being in this realm, have monition to depart within sixteen days.... from henceforth no such person be suffered to come within this the King's realm and if they do, then they and every of them so doing, shall forfeit to the King our Sovereign Lord all their goods and titles and then to be commanded to avoid the realm within fifteen days under pain of imprisonment....[3]

Egyptians Act 1554[edit]

The 1530 act was not successful in its aim of expelling all Roma, 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 newer act allowed some Roma 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. ^ Raithby, John, ed. (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. Vol. III. From Hen.VIII.A.D.1509-10.—To 7 Edw.VI.1553. George Eyre and Andrew Strahan. p. 89. 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. pp. 205. from henceforth no such person be suffered to come within this the King's realm and if they do.
  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]. Vol. 6. J. Bentham. p. 28. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  5. ^ Mayall, David (1995). English Gypsies and State Policies. Univ of Hertfordshire Press. ISBN 9780900458644.


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

External links[edit]