Curious English Laws

This is some more from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. Not sure about this first law. A handless man may be able to read, but can’t turn the pages. 

There are many curious laws and customs in England which fill up many volumes, for my part I will only relate what was told me. If a man murder another in anger and the criminal can read, he is shown mercy in so far as his hands only are cut off, that he may be able to read, in the hope that he may yet perform some good, but if he cannot read, then he forfeits his life according to the manner of the offence. If anyone steal a horse or a sheep, he is put to death, while if he remove an ox or a cow, his life is granted him for the first offence, for a horse or a sheep may be easily stolen, while an ox or a cow present great difficulty, surrounded as they are in their meadows by ditches, for since there are no wolves in England they require no shepherding.

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