1639: “The pigs have liberty”


From the Ancient Records of the town of Ipswich, January 13, 1639

“Agreed that if any swine shall be taken within two miles of the towne, after the tenth day of April next, running, the owners of such swine shall forfeit five shillings a piece for every such swine, the one half to the towne, the other to them that take them, provided that such small piggs as are pigged after the first of February shall have liberty to be about the towne, not being liable to pay any damage in house lotts or gardens, but if any hurt be done in house lotts or gardens, the owners of the fence through which they came shall pay the damage. The piggs have liberty until the 16th of August next.

“If the sayd piggs doe hurt in planting lotts, they shall pay double damage. Also if any bigger swine do hurt the corn, or in particular the meadows, they shall pay double damage penalty.

“Ordered that no great cattle, except cows and working cattle that are there in the night, shall be put upon the cow common, on either side of the River, under the penalty of five shillings for every offence.

“In the case that any other cattle shall stray thereinto, and the owner thereof fetch them not out, and put them again to the place after one days warning, he shall forfeit 2 schillings for every offence.

“Also it is agreed that whosoever shall find mares, horses or oxen in the cow common two hours after sunrising and bring same either to the pound or to the owner of the same, the said owner shall give to such party double recompense for his pains. The forfeits of 10 schillings are to goe half to the town and half to him that shall impound such trespassing cattle.” Robert Lord, Clerk

The great need for livestock contributed to other unexpected difficulties.

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