Here ye, below ye: No more smoochies! That"s what Henry by means of proclaimed ~ above July 16, 1439, not since he to be a romance-hating monster; he simply wanted to keep as plenty of of his topics alive together possible. During the 15th century, the bubonic plague devastated Europe, and also even before social distancing to be a thing, Henry realized it was among the finest ways to keep civilization from acquiring sick. Obviously, kissing was right out. Henry"s proclamation certainly saved a few lives, yet it took an ext than a ban on kissing come pull society back from the brink of black color Death.

You are watching: What was made illegal in england in 1439

The torment Crisis

Beginning around 1348, this tiny thing referred to as the plague tore v Europe. Initially appearing top top England"s south coast, the Plague worked its way inward till nearly fifty percent of the populace perished native the illness. It melted itself out after a few years, yet strains that the bacteria ongoing to ravage the country on a consistent basis transparent the 1400s.

Born in 1421, what King Henry using lacked in modern scientific knowledge, he made up for in experience. The pester was simply a means of life by the moment he came on the scene, so he clearly construed the threat the condition posed and how it appeared to be transmitted. It"s generally accepted that the very first quarantine occurred in 1377, and while news didn"t travel as conveniently in the Dark periods as it does today, it"s most likely that Henry or his world were conscious of the services of maintaining your street from who who could be sick.


(National Portrait Gallery/Wikimedia Commons)

Just One big Makeout Sesh

In 15th-century Europe, kissing to be as usual as shiver hands today. It didn"t matter who you to be greeting: Men, women, family, and strangers every kissed one an additional as casually together we toss off a "Good morning!" ~ above our way to the subway. You can recognize this as a great way to spread out germs, and also while no one ago then knew the mechanics the the infection of disease via bodily fluids, Henry was smart enough to observe that those who acquired too close come sick world tended to end up being sick people.

He might be recognized as a mad king, but Henry"s kissing ban was fairly top top point. He may have ordered his world to loss in line because he didn"t want his subjects putting their mouths on the personally, however by issuing the proclamation that July 16, 1439, he showed that he cared around the people he was governing.



A Panicked Parliament

By 1439, Parliament had failed to convene for almost a year and a half due come the Plague, yet a unavoidable military situation in France expected that the governing body of England had actually to get together and sort the end the financial mess. Everyone that encountered the King was required to kiss his ring, however, and also members of parliament specifically had actually to offer him the "kiss the homage," so prior to agreeing to meet at Westminster, lock drafted a letter to him asking if they could maybe just present their respect in creating instead. They composed in part:

Wherefore we, your negative true liege people, considering and desiring the health and welfare the your most noble person above all earthly points ... Beseech your most noble grace, in conserving of your many noble person ... In avoiding any type of such infection to autumn on you, God forbid, graciously to conceive that whereas any type of of your said Commons who host of you by knight"s service, in law homage come you ... Should kiss you, to ordain and also grant, by the government of this existing Parliament, that each of her lieges in the doing of their claimed homage might omit the claimed kissing the you and be excused thereof at your will, the homage being of the same pressure as though they kissed you, and also have their letters of act of their homage, nevertheless the skipping kissing the you.

There"s no day on the letter, but it"s thought to have actually been composed in loss 1439, so Parliament either didn"t know about the kissing ban or they were simply making extra-sure that it was cool that if didn"t kiss the monarch. They were clearly pretty stressed out around it.

See more: How Many Skittle Colors Are There ? How Many Different Packs Of Skittles Are There


(Pinacoteca di Brera/Wikimedia Commons)

Hard come Enforce

Unfortunately, put on impose the kissing half was a high order. Henry couldn"t location sentries in each city to make certain that human being were maintaining their lips turn off one another, and also many people certainly either doubted his thinking or simply loved smashing deals with too much to care. There room no reports that people outright refused the King"s command, however there"s no evidence that they obeyed it, either. Henry was just 17 at the time of his proclamation, and also it"s an extremely likely the no one wanted to listen to a kid king on problem of what they could and also couldn"t perform with their mouths. Whatever the case, the kissing half didn"t automatically put anyone turn off smackers as well as Henry"s instant subjects, who probably would have been boiled if he caught them. The whole "mad king
" thing was type of earned.