Sturdy beggars (vagabonds) are those beggars classed in the English Poor Law of 1531 as able-bodied persons who chose not to work. This presumed, wrongly, that there was enough work for everyone to do. Those who took to the roads, seeking jobs or charity, were severely punished. This was because Tudor governments regarded them as threats to public order, especially returned soldiers who organised themselves into bands and robbed travellers. By the end of the century new poor laws made parishes provide work for the genuinely unemployed, while 'incorrigible rogues' were to be whipped, returned to the parishes whence they had come, or even banished overseas for persistent offences.
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