OWLING, in English law, the offence of transporting wool or sheep out of the kingdom, to the detriment of the staple manufacture of wool. The name is said to owe its origin to the fact that the offence was usually carried on at night-time, when the owls were abroad. The offence was stringently regulated by a statute of Edward III. (1336-7), while many subsequent statutes also dealt with it. In 1566 the offence was made punishable by the cutting off of the left hand and nailing it in a public place. By a statute of 1660 the ship and cargo were to be forfeited. In the reign of George I. (1717-1718) the penalty was altered to transportation for seven years. The offence was abolished in 1824.
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This page was last modified 29-SEP-18
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