Every country and city has some pretty bizarre laws to its name.
Take Milan, for example, where it’s a legal requirement to smile in public at all times, unless you’re attending a funeral or in a hospital, or the Australian state of Victoria, were it’s illegal to change a light bulb unless you’re a registered electrician, and you can’t be going forgetting your wife’s birthday in Samoa, because that’s against the law too.
But did you know that there’s plenty of bizarre laws in England as well?
Of course, we wouldn’t manage to just fly under the radar when it comes to obscure and somewhat archaic laws, would we?
And there’s a good chance you could have broken on or two of them over your lifetime too, as the vast majority of the population aren’t even aware of their existence.
So, believe it or not, here are eight laws that somehow still stand in England to this day.
1. Walking Cows Down the Street in Daylight
Ever done this?
Let’s face it, this is a fairly niche law to break.
There’s a pretty good chance you haven’t tried walking a herd of cows down a public highway at any time of day, but just for future reference if you ever find yourself in this situation, it is actually against the law in England to do this during daylight hours.
The Metropolitan Streets Act states that: “Cattle are not to be driven through streets within certain hours.”
As explained by Oxbridge, the law originated “back in 1867 [when] section seven of the act forbade cattle lovers and farmers alike to walk their prized livestock during the day. Unless given permission from the Commissioner of Police himself, if you were caught rallying your precious bovines down the street between 10am and 7pm, you would have been committing a crime.”
2. Using Your Phone to Pay at a Drive-Thru
Now, this is one that a good number of us will probably have to hold our hands up to.
You may not have walked cows down the street in daylight, but who’s remembering to turn off their car engine and engage the handbrake before paying for a Maccie’s with Apple Pay?
According to Oxbridge once again: “The law is incredibly strict about the using phones behind the wheel of a car. Even if you’re tapping a contactless pad with your phone at a drive-through to pay for a meal, if your engine is running and your handbrake is unlocked, you’re using your phone while managing a car and this is against the law.
“The penalty for breaking this law is £200 and six points on your license.”
3. Entering the Houses of Parliament Wearing Armour
Yeah, if you were planning on doing this by any chance, don’t.
According to the 1313 Statute – which refers to forbidding bearing of armour – does in fact forbid Members of Parliament from entering the House of Commons while wearing a full suit of armour at any point.
This particular statute was put into place after a period of political turmoil.
4. Misplacing a Postage Stamp is Treason
This is one many of us can admit to over our lifetimes and as harsh as it sounds, it’s true.
Placing a postage stamp which bears the monarch’s head upside down on an envelope is considered as act of treason.
Also, just to add to that, the defacing or destroying of anything that bears a likeness of the monarch is also illegal, so this means that burning paper money, bending coins or tearing a postage stamp could actually land you in big trouble if caught.
5. It’s Legal to Shoot a Scotsman
Now, we hope none of you have, or would have a reason to do this, but just in case you were wondering, it is actually legal to shoot a Scotsman under some circumstances.
Only in York though.
According to The Fact Site, the law states that it is legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow upon seeing one, except for on Sundays, however, any Scotsman caught drunk or with a weapon can still be shot on a Sunday, except with a bow and arrow.
Similarly, in Chester – a little bit closer to home – it is also legal to shoot a Welsh person with a crossbow, as long as it is within the city walls and is done after midnight.
6. You Can’t Shake Carpets in London
Another good reason not to live in London, right?
Not like us Mancunians are particularly well known for wanting to shake carpets, but if you ever find yourself needing to do so in the capital, you’ll have to find another way to dust it off, because it’s simply a criminal act.
Under the Metropolitan Police Act of 1839, it’s illegal to beat or shake a mat, carpet, or a rug in the streets of London.
The only time you may beat them is before 8am.
7. Handling Salmon in Suspicious Circumstances
This really is an odd one.
To make matters even crazier too, it’s actually a fairly recent law, but under the Salmon Act of 1986 – yes, we’re really not making this up – it is an offence to receive or dispose of salmon under “suspicious circumstances”.
Now, what circumstances are considered suspicious, we couldn’t tell you.
But believe it or not, police officers in England actually have a right to investigate you if they have reason to believe that the salmon has been illegally fished.
8. Beard Tax
Not good news for the hipsters among us.
King Henry VIII imposed a beard tax that every man must pay to wear facial hair.
He introduced a beard tax that lined his pockets and filled his dinner table, what’s more is that the higher your social standing, the more you had to cough up.
What if you cannot pay? Shave it away.
This simply meant that beards became a symbol of status and money under his reign.
‘Provocative’ life insurance firm hit with advertising restrictions after using Harold Shipman picture
A life insurance company that controversially used a picture of Harold Shipman in a recent advertisement is to have all of its future marketing campaigns restricted.
Leicester-based firm DeadHappy – which is known for its strapline ‘life insurance to die for’, and has a reputation for shocking adverts – grabbed headlines last week after it used a picture of the infamous Manchester serial killer alongside the text “Life insurance: Because you never know who your doctor might be.”
The use of Shipman’s picture understandably received a barrage of backlash online, and was consistently branded “tasteless” and “disgusting” by critics.
The advert was even condemned by the families of some of Shipman’s victims.
A “popular” and “well-liked” local doctor, Shipman had been practising in Hyde for over 20 years, but went on to become Britain’s most prolific serial killer after doubts were raised over the validity of the will left by one of his patients following her death in 1998.
Shipman was eventually found guilty of killing 15 of his patients back in 2000, with his total number of victims said to be around 250.
After the advert continued to draw backlash, and a number of formal complaints were made by industry professionals, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – which is responsible for regulating the financial services industry – has now ruled that all of DeadHappy’s future adverts and marketing campaigns must be cleared by its risk carrier before being allowed to run, according to BBC News.
The FCA now states that the company “must cease to communicate any further financial promotions that have not received prior approval”, which means future adverts will need to be cleared by DeadHappy’s insurance provider, Shepherds Friendly.
On top of being hit with these restrictions, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has also said it is currently in the process of reviewing more than 50 complaints about the Harold Shipman advert.
DeadHappy has now apologised for the advert.
Addressing the FCA’s ruling, Andy Knott – founder of DeadHappy – said: “In our attempt to be provocative and make people really stop and think about their need for life insurance, we have made a mistake and for this we apologise.
“We will now go away and immediately review all of our current and future marketing campaigns to ensure we learn from this mistake.”
Shepherds Friendly says it is “committed” to its values and the advert “does not align” with them.
Although the sudden signing might have seemed like it came out of nowhere, ten Hag clearly had him on his shortlist and for any fans still sceptical as to whether it was the right move, a recently surfaced clip of the Bayern Munich man speaking at Old Trafford will no doubt have gone down well.
Speaking ahead of his former club RB Leipzig’s match against his new team in the Champions League over two years ago, the 28-year-old was asked if he felt nervous about playing in such an iconic stadium and big competition.
While his nerves were evidently calm ahead of the game, the Austrian midfielder stated, “I’m just happy to be here because I used to see this stadium on TV as a kid and I always wanted to come here… being here as [the] opposition is something very special”.
The interviewer went on to ask how he felt being part of the squad expected to win the tie, to which Sabitzer responded: “In my opinion, United are a big name, a good team and therefore favourites as well”.
Despite acknowledging the size and history of the club, the dynamic midfielder (who has often been used as a defender too) also insisted that he and his teammates “won’t hide from them” — yet another positive soundbite for United fans hoping he can carry the weight of the shirt and show up in big games.
Not only is the sort of thing Reds will be pleased to hear from the fairly impromptu signing, especially given the scattergun approach to the club’s recruitment strategy over the past decade, but Sabitzer is a key player in his national team and captained Leipzig during the most successful spell in their history.
It isn’t the only old video of a new United face fans have been enjoying recently either:
Moreover, the deal seems to have worked out for all parties. With Sabitzer looking for more game-time at the top level and having moved down another notch in the pecking order now the equally versatile João Cancelo has joined Bayern on loan, City looked to have done their neighbours a favour.
Issuing a statement on the club’s website confirming the move, Sabitzer said: “Sometimes in life you have to make quick and important decisions. From the moment I heard about this opportunity I knew it was right for me. I am a competitive player; I want to win and help the club achieve its aims this season.”
That kind of attitude is music to any fans ears.
They’ll also be looking forward to hopefully seeing worldies like this: