Britain's Strangest Laws: Cromwell Bans Christmas, Dead Whale Ownership And More...

The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: 4/04/2012 18:24 Updated: 5/04/2012 13:17

Cromwell

The Law Commission for England and Wales released its 19th report on Wednesday, compiling a list of defunct or out-dated laws that no longer apply to modern society.

Among them are age-old finance laws, exile rulings and pieces of legislation on railway funding, which have all become redundant.

Within the report, the commission's chairman, Sir James Munby, called for the repealing of hundreds more laws, which clog up the rule book and need to go.

"Getting rid of statutory dead wood helps to simplify and modernise our law, making it more intelligible," Munby said.

"It saves time and costs for lawyers and others who need to know what the law actually is, and makes it easier for citizens to access justice."

As a region with a long, and nuanced, history, including plenty of religious toing-and-froing in the Tudor, Stuart and Cromwell era, a number of bizarre laws have cropped up that have never been repealed.

Cromwell, for example, is famous for banning Christmas and Maypole dancing, both due to his strict Puritan beliefs, which urged restraint in religious observance, and a burning hatred of Pagans.

There are plenty that are true, and plenty that you've probably heard but are really urban myths.

Here's a list of some of the bonafide weird laws passed in Britain over the years. Some have since been repealed, whereas others remain on the books but are simply not enforced. Let us know if we've missed any out.

Treason!
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Although it is incredibly, vastly unlikely that anyone has been accused, let alone charged, with treason for sticking the monarch's head upside down on an envelope, it was nonetheless considered an affront to the monarch, bordering on treason.
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