- Apr 9, 2007WARNING: Historical Content
One of the things about laws like this is that the reason they are instituted is because people are using these longer
The timing thus is interesting as it is several years before the folklore story of Rowland Yorke bringing rapier into
England in or around 1587.
So this adds credence to the idea that there were Spanish masters operating in London, presumably coming over with
Philip II when he married Queen Mary in 1554/5. Unfortunately I cannot remember where I read this, and thus cannot
validate it as anything more than hearsay at the moment. The fact that the edict also targets ruffs--if memory
serves--may well be an edict targeting Spaniards in general. But that is merely supposition as well.
Needless to say like a majority of laws of this period it is unlikely that it was generally enforced. Lacking paid
constabulary meant that anyone enforcing the rule had to weigh getting run through to the amount they were being paid as
volunteers. So the anti-spanish intent is likely as it was perhaps only enforcable at court, or places with large
bodies of professional guards.
But there seems to be a number of communities targeted. Bucklers with bosses were more the tools of the lower class
sword and buckler men that were common is West Smithfield. One of the liberties--the suburbs outside the walls of
London--where fencing could be practiced as a trade. Actors and prostitutes were confined to these regions as well, and
the relation between all three trades is very ancient indeed.
Anyway.... there are some historical notes if anyone wanted more context.
Lente autem non celer sum.