Witchcraft Act 1580
An Acte against sedicious Wordes and Rumours uttered againste the queenes moste excellent Majestie.
[Clause 5] And for that divers persons wickedlye disposed. and forgetting their Duetie and Allegiaunce, have of late not onlye wisshed her Maties Deathe, but also by dyvers meanes practised and sought to knowe howe longe her Highenes should lyve, and who should raigne after her Decease, and what Chaunges and Alteracones shoulde therebye happen; To the entent that suche Mischeifes and Inconveniences as maye thereby growe in the Comon Weale to the greate Disturbance of the same, maye be cut of and pvented; Be yt also enacted by the aucthoritie aforesaid. That yf any person or psons, of what Estate Condicon or Degree soever he or they bee, at any tyme, after the ende of the said fortie dayes, and during the lief of our sayde Soveraigne Ladye the Queenes Matie that nowe ys, eyther within her Highenesses Dominions or without, shall by setting or erecting of any Figure or Figures, or by casting of Nativities, or by calculacon, or by any Prophecieng Witchcrafte Cunjuracons or other lyke unlawfull Meanes whatsoeve. seeke to knowe and shall set forth by expresse Wordes Deedes or Writinges, howe longe her Matie shall lyve or contynue, or who shall raigne as King or Queene of this Realme of England after her Highenesse Decease, or els shall advisedlye and with a maliciouse intent againste her Highenes, utter any manner of directe Pphecies to any suche Intent or Purpose, or shall malitiouslye by any Wordes Writing or Printing wishe will or desier the Deathe or Deprivacon of our Soveraigne Ladye the Queenes Matie (that nowe ys,) or any Thing directlye to the same Effecte, That then everye offence shalbe Felonye, and everye Offendour and Offendours therein, and also all his or their Aydours Procurers and Abettors in or to the said Offences, shalbe judged as Felons, and shall suffer paynes of Deathe and [Forfeyte] as in Case of Felonye ys used, without any Benefite of Cleargie or Sanctuarye.
The general pardon of 23 Eliz., c. 16, excepted inter alia “all offences of Invocations Conjurations Witchcrafts Sorceries Inchauntments and Charmes, and all offences of procuring abetting comforting of the same, and all persons now attained or convicted of any of the said offences.”