Burying in Woollen Acts

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The Burial in Woollen Acts 1666-80 were Acts of the Parliament of England (citation 18 & 19 Cha. II c. 4 (1666),[1][2] 30 Cha. II c. 3 (1678) [3] and 32 Cha. II c. 1 (1680) [4]) which required the dead, except plague victims and the destitute, to be buried in pure English woollen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles.[5]


It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased), confirming burial in wool, with the punishment of a £5 fee for noncompliance. Burial entries in parish registers were marked with the word "affidavit" or its equivalent to confirm that affidavit had been sworn; it would be marked "naked" for those too poor to afford the woollen shroud.

The legislation was in force until 1814, but was generally ignored after 1770.[citation needed] The 1666 Act was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863.[6]

Use in genealogy

Burial records so annotated can be a source of genealogical information, providing evidence of economic status and relationships that may be otherwise unavailable or ambiguous.[7][8]


  1. "National Patterns, 1648–1815 > England, Scotland, and Ireland > England and Scotland > July 1664". The Encyclopedia of World History. bartleby.com. 2001. Archived from the original on 2 November 2002. Retrieved 19 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 'Charles II, 1666: An Act for Burying in Woollen only.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), p. 598. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47386. Date accessed: 6 March 2007.
  3. 'Charles II, 1677 & 1678: An Act for burying in Woollen.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 885-86. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47475. Date accessed: 6 March 2007.
  4. 'Charles II, 1680: An Additional Act for burying in Woollen.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), p. 940. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47486. Date accessed: 6 March 2007.
  5. Rivoli, Pietra (2005). The Travels of a T-Shirt in The Global Economy (first ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 155. ISBN 0-471-64849-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Statute Law Revision Act 1863 (26 & 27 Vict c 125) from Google Books
  7. Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History, Second Edition, by Mark Herber in association with the Society of Genealogists, Sutton Publishing Limited, Baltimore, MD 2004 p 362-3.
  8. Burial In Woollen Act 1666-1680 from traceyourpast.co.uk