VISIT CARLISLE & GET LASHED; Ancient Law Still Has Scots Visitors Whipped

The Mirror (London, England), July 18, 2002 | Go to article overview

VISIT CARLISLE & GET LASHED; Ancient Law Still Has Scots Visitors Whipped


Byline: JAMES TAIT

SCOTS could find themselves whipped and imprisoned just for wandering into Carlisle.

A medieval book which went on display for the first time this week reveals ancient laws which still exist today.

The dusty, 300-page Dormont Book states that any Scot who dares to dwell in Carlisle could be whipped, thrown in jail and have all his possessions confiscated.

Carlisle's mayor also has the power to do whatever he wants to a Scot - just for being a Scot.

And according to the 440-year-old manuscript, local residents can be fined, whipped and banished from Carlisle for throwing dead animals down city wells or leaving smelly dung piles outside their home for more than eight days.

The mayor can even enforce the ancient law if anyone simply criticises him.

Amazingly, these rules still exist because they have never been deleted from the book, created in 1561, and still form part of an official oath which is read out when a new mayor is appointed.

Because the book has been kept under wraps for so long even the current mayor didn't realise what he was promising to adhere to.

But, after reading the book, mayor Alan Toole said: "I took the oath in good faith and never realised anything like this applied.

"Now I have seen the Dormont Book I find some of the rules rather fantastic.

"I will inform members at the next council meeting that if they don't behave I can whip them.

"I am even considering purchasing a whip."

The 16th century book contains 300 pages of rules about finances, protecting the Cumbrian city from invaders and 129 laws relating to the behaviour of citizens. …

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VISIT CARLISLE & GET LASHED; Ancient Law Still Has Scots Visitors Whipped
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