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THE IMPACT OF STURGES BOURNE'S POOR LAW REFORMS IN RURAL ENGLAND*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2013

SAMANTHA A. SHAVE*
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
*
Faculty of History, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9EFsas206@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

England was blighted by frequent agricultural depressions in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Recurrent crises brought poor law reform to the parliamentary agenda and led to the passage of two non-compulsory pieces of legislation, Sturges Bourne's Acts of 1818 and 1819. These permissory acts allowed parishes to ‘tighten up’ the distribution of poor relief through two vital tools: the formation of select vestries, and the appointment of waged assistant overseers. Whilst previous studies have tended to represent the legislation as a failing reform in the dying days of the old poor law, we know remarkably little about the relief practices deployed by parishes operating under the auspices of Sturges Bourne's Acts. This article starts by detailing the genesis of the reforms before considering the provisions of the acts and their rates of adoption in rural England. Focusing upon administrative records from Wessex and West Sussex, the article proceeds to examine the inspection of relief claimants, and judgments made as to their ‘character and conduct’; the general measures taken to reduce outdoor relief; and their alternative strategies for allocating relief. It is argued that the reforms re-drew the distinction between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor, ultimately changing individuals' and families' entitlement to relief under the old poor laws.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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Footnotes

*

I would like to thank Carl J. Griffin, Bernard Harris, Keith D. M. Snell, and the two anonymous Historical Journal referees for their comments on drafts of this work. I presented different versions of this paper at the Rural History conference in Sept. 2010 and at the Department of History at the University of Sussex in May 2012. The research was funded by an ESRC Ph.D. Award (PTA-030–2005–00267) which I was very grateful to receive.

References

1 Wells, R., ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east; the impact of the “Sturges Bourne Acts” during the agricultural depression, 1815–1835’, Southern History, 23 (2001), p. 53Google Scholar; Eastwood, D., Governing rural England: tradition and transformation in local government, 1780–1840 (Oxford, 1994), p. 128Google Scholar.

2 Harris, B., The origins of the British welfare state: social welfare in England and Wales, 1800–1945 (Basingstoke, 2004), p. 43Google Scholar.

3 Eastwood, Governing rural England, p. 128.

4 Brundage, A., The English poor laws, 1700–1930 (Basingstoke, 2002), p. 48Google Scholar; Eastwood, D., ‘Bourne, William Sturges (1769–1845)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography (Oxford, 2004)Google Scholar. Online. Available: www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/3012 (accessed 17 Jan. 2009).

5 Poynter, J. R., Society and pauperism: English ideas on poor relief, 1795–1834 (London, 1964), pp. 223–48Google Scholar.

6 King, S., Poverty and welfare in England, 1700–1850: a regional perspective (Manchester, 2000), p. 26Google Scholar. See Wells's study of their adoption in two Sussex parishes: ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east’, p. 59.

7 Checkland, S. G. and Checkland, E. O. A., eds., The Poor Law Report of 1834 (1834; Harmondsworth, 1974), p. 199Google Scholar.

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9 Wells, ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east’, p. 59.

10 Examples include: Lees, L. H., Solidarities of strangers: the English poor laws and the people, 1700–1948 (Cambridge, 1998)Google Scholar, p. 41; Williams, S., Poverty, gender and life-cycle under the English poor law (Woodbridge, 2011), pp. 78, 95Google Scholar.

11 Wells, ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east’, pp. 52–115; Neuman, M., The Speenhamland county: poverty and the poor law in Berkshire, 1782–1834 (New York, NY, 1982), pp. 180–3Google Scholar; Digby, A., The new poor law in nineteenth-century England and Wales (London, 1982), p. 7Google Scholar; Green, D. R., Pauper capital: London and the poor law, 1790–1870 (London, 2009), pp. 8891Google Scholar.

12 Neuman, The Speenhamland county, p. 183, cited in Brundage, The English poor laws, p. 51.

13 For an introduction to the politics of the parish see Wrightson, K., ‘The politics of the parish in early modern England’, in Griffiths, P., Fox, A., and Hindle, S., eds., The experience of authority in early modern England (London, 1996), pp. 1046CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Research with a focus on the micro-politics of poor relief includes: Eastwood, D., ‘The republic in the village: the parish and poor at Bampton, 1780–1834’, Journal of Regional and Local Studies, 12 (1992), pp. 1828Google Scholar; Hindle, S., ‘Power, poor relief, and social relations in Holland Fen, c. 1600–1800’, Historical Journal, 41 (1998), pp. 6796Google Scholar; idem, On the parish? The micro-politics of poor relief in rural England c. 1550–1750 (Oxford, 2004); Healey, J., ‘The development of poor relief in Lancashire, c. 1598–1680’, Historical Journal, 53 (2010), pp. 551–72Google Scholar.

14 Lees, Solidarities of strangers, p. 33; Hindle, On the parish?, p. 363.

15 A brief examination of one of these parishes is also offered by Ellacott, Peter in ‘The poor of the parish and the work of the Westbourne select vestries 1819–1835’, Westbourne Local History Group's publication Bygone Westbourne, 3 (1986), pp. 125Google Scholar.

16 58 Geo. III c. 69; Keith-Lucas, B., The unreformed local government system (London, 1980), pp. 98–9Google Scholar.

17 59 Geo. III c. 12, i.

18 59 Geo. III c. 12, i. The select vestry could operate from any time, but it would expire fourteen days after the annual appointment of overseers.

19 59 Geo. III c. 12, i.

20 59 Geo. III c. 12, i.

21 59 Geo. III c. 12, xxix. Magistrates could have also made an order for the repayment of a loan, and non-payments could result in imprisonment in a common gaol or house of correction.

22 Eastwood, Governing rural England, pp. 129, 176.

23 Wincanton, vestry minutes of 2 May and 25 May 1798, Somerset History Centre (SHC) D\PC\winc/1/3/1.

24 59 Geo. III c. 12, vii. An assistant overseer could continue working until he resigns, dies, or the parish revokes his appointment.

25 Eastwood, Governing rural England, p. 177; Brundage, The English poor laws, p. 52.

26 The assistant overseer was from Bampton; Eastwood, Governing Rural England, pp. 177–8.

27 Chew Magna, vestry minutes of 23 Jan. 1769, SHC D\P\che.m/9/1/1.

28 Nicholls, G., History of the English poor law, ii: 1714–1853 (London, 1898)Google Scholar, p. 187.

29 Bruton, vestry minute of 15 Apr. 1811, SHC D\P\brut/9/1/2.

30 Also mentioned in Griffin, C. J., ‘Parish farms and the poor law: a response to unemployment in rural southern England, c. 1815–35’, Agricultural History Review, 59 (2011), p. 184Google Scholar.

31 59 Geo. III c. 12, xii, xiii and xiv, and viii. Section x also gave parishes permission to sell workhouses. This was not necessarily contradictory because this measure would have assisted parishes to purchase or build larger premises to house parishioners.

32 59 Geo. III c. 12, xi. Two magistrates had to ratify the arrangement, whilst the workhouse could not be located more than three miles from the parish; for further information on Gilbert's Act see Shave, S. A., ‘The welfare of the vulnerable in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: Gilbert's Act of 1782’, History in Focus, 14 (2008)Google Scholar, http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/welfare/articles/shaves.html (accessed 31 Oct. 2012); idem, ‘Poor law reform and policy innovation in rural southern England, c. 1780–1850’ (Ph.D. thesis, Southampton, 2010), pp. 80–132.

33 Wells, ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east’, p. 88. Note that Wells does not cite Sturges Bourne's Act itself.

34 Parishes of Boldre, Millford and Milton (Hampshire); British Parliamentary Papers (BPP) 1834 (44), xxxii, Report from His Majesty's Commissioners for Inquiring into the Administration and Practical Operation of the Poor Laws. Appendix B.1, Answers to the Rural Queries in Five Parts (hereafter BPP 1834). Part 2. Question 22.

35 59 Geo. III c. 12, xxxvi. One section of Sturges Bourne's 1819 Act referred to the stipulations of Gilbert's Act about the sale, purchase, and renting of land and buildings for the use of the poor, 59 Geo. III c. 12, xviii.

36 59 Geo. III c. 12, ii.

37 Dunkley, P., ‘Paternalism, the magistracy and poor relief in England, 1795–1834’, International Review of Social History, 24 (1979), pp. 371–97Google Scholar.

38 King, Poverty and welfare, p. 32.

39 Wells, R., ‘Social protest, class, conflict and consciousness in the English countryside, 1700–1880’, in Reed, M. and Wells, R., eds., Class, conflict and protest in the English countryside, 1700–1880 (London, 1990), pp. 145–7Google Scholar.

40 King, P., ‘The rights of the poor and the role of the law: the impact of pauper appeals to the summary court 1750–1834’, in King, S., ed., Poverty and relief in England, 1500–1800Google Scholar (forthcoming); also see Williams, Poverty, gender and life-cycle, p. 93.

41 Webb, S. and Webb, B., The parish and the county (1906; London, 1963), p. 166Google Scholar; BPP 1834. Part 3. Question 32.

42 BP 1834. Part 3. Question 32, select vestry: Bramshaw (Hampshire); alternative wording of assistant overseer: Pitton and Farley (West Sussex) and North Bavant (Wiltshire).

43 Ibid., Pulborough (West Sussex).

44 Ibid., North Curry (Somerset).

45 Ibid., Eling and Romsey Extra (Hampshire); Arundel (West Sussex); Box, Chippenham, Fisherton Anger, and Ramsbury (Wiltshire).

46 Ibid., Amport, East Woodhay, Minstead, Odiham, Sherfield English, Weyhill, and Widley (Hampshire); Batcombe, Brompton Regis, Crowcombe, Nether Stowey, Nether Wallop, Stogumber, and Stoke St Gregory (Somerset); Rogate (West Sussex); Corsham (Wiltshire).

47 Neuman, The Speenhamland county, p. 183.

48 BP 1834. Part 3. Question 32, Bentley Liberty, Whitchurch (Hampshire); Bishop's Hull, Curry Rivell (Somerset); Tillington (West Sussex).

49 Ibid., Burghclere (Hampshire).

50 Colonel Charles Ashe A'Court, ‘Notes on every parish in the Winchester division’; ‘Notes on the several parishes in the division of Romsey’, Nov. 1834, The National Archives (TNA) MH32/1.

51 In Old Shoreham (West Sussex) there were only three farmers: BPP 1834. Part 3. Questions 28 and 32. In 1870, Wilson classified 65 per cent of parishes in Sussex (using a sample of 300 parishes) as either ‘one estate’, ‘not much divided’, or ‘in few hands’. Wilson, J. M., The imperial gazetteer of England and Wales (6 vols., Edinburgh, 1870)Google Scholar, cited in Short, B., ‘Landownership in Victorian Sussex’, in Leslie, K. C. and Short, B., eds., An historical atlas of Sussex: an atlas of the history of the counties of East and West Sussex (Chichester, 1999), pp. 98–9Google Scholar.

52 Green, Pauper capital, p. 89.

53 BPP 1823 (570), Report from the Select Committee on Poor Rate Returns, Appendix E, ‘Somerset’, ‘Charterhouse Hinton’, p. 18. It is well known that small farmers and crafts producers supported the plight of the labouring class during the Swing Riots, not least because of their own economic insecurity. See Hobsbawm, E. J. and Rudé, G., Captain Swing (London, 1969)Google Scholar; Griffin, C. J., The rural war: Captain Swing and the politics of protest (Manchester, 2012)Google Scholar.

54 Wells, ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east’, p. 96.

55 BPP 1834. Part 3. Question 32. Amport (Hampshire).

56 Colonel Charles Ashe A'Court, ‘Notes on the several parishes in the division of Romsey’, Nov. 1834, TNA MH32/1.

57 A fine of 2s 6d was levied in Nether Wallop, 1s in Shipley and 6d in Hartley Wintney; Nether Wallop, select vestry minute of 11 Apr. 1825, Hampshire Record Office (HRO) 93M83/PV1, Shipley, select vestry minute of 16 Apr. 1829, West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) Par162/12/1; Hartley Wintney, vestry minute of 25 Mar. 1830, HRO 85M76/PV2.

58 Wells, ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east’, pp. 82 and 88.

59 BPP 1823 (570) Report from the Select Committee on Poor Rate Returns, Appendix E, ‘Somerset’, ‘Lydeard St. Lawrence’, p. 18; BPP1824 (420) Report from the Select Committee on Poor Rate Returns, Appendix F.1., ‘Somerset’, ‘Banwell’, p. 21.

60 Ibid., ‘Shepton Mallet’, p. 18; there is no evidence to suggest that the vote was not legitimate and no reason for the magistrates’ refusal to ratify the measure is given in this report.

61 Snell, K. D. M., Annals of the labouring poor: social change and agrarian England, 1660–1900 (Cambridge, 1985), p. 117Google Scholar.

62 Millbrook, vestry minute of 9 Nov. 1820, Southampton City Record Office (SCRO) PR10/8/1.

63 BPP 1826 (330) Report from the Select Committee on Poor Rate Returns, Appendix F, ‘Somerset’, ‘Holcombe’, pp. 18, 20–1.

64 BPP 1834. Part 4. Question 44. Chiddingly (East Sussex).

65 Ibid. My review of the answers given to Question 44 of the Rural Queries, ‘What do you think would be the effect, immediate and ultimate, of making the decision of the Vestry or Select Vestry in matters of Relief final?’ for the counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, and West Sussex. For instance in Downton (Wiltshire), Samuel Payne (assistant overseer) expressed that the decisions made by the vestry should not be final because it ‘[w]ould not be beneficial. Magistrates in this neighbourhood rarely supersede the decisions of Select Vestries of character. In small parishes where no Gentry reside great oppression from the Farmers would follow this plan. Magistrates seldom or never order relief, if the Overseer offers to take the Pauper into the Poorhouse.’ The Castle Coombe (Wiltshire) parish answered that the removal of the magistrate from the welfare process would cause ‘an immediate rural rebellion throughout the country’.

66 Droxford, vestry minute of 11 Nov. 1819, HRO 66M76/PV3.

67 Bishop's Waltham, vestry minute of 9 July 1819, HRO 30M77/PV1.

68 Botley, select vestry minute of 22 May 1822, HRO 40M75/PV2.

69 Fareham, select vestry minute of 22 May 1819, Portsmouth City Record Office (PCRO) CHU43/2C/1.

70 Winsford, select vestry minute of 15 and 29 Apr., 13 May 1833, SHC D\P\wins/9/1/1.

71 Corsham, select vestry minute of 4 Apr. 1824, Wiltshire & Swindon Archives (W&SA) PR/Corsham: St. Bartholomew/1812/9.

72 Botley, select vestry minute of 6 Sept. 1825, HRO 40M75/PV2.

73 Wimborne Minster, select vestry minutes of 6 Oct., 3 Nov. and 1 Dec. 1829, Dorset History Centre (DHC) PE/WM VE2/3.

74 Whiteparish, select vestry minute of 22 Sept. 1832, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

75 Fareham, select vestry minute of 23 June 1819, PCRO CHU43/2C/1.

76 Corsham, select vestry minute of 18 Aug. 1826, W&SA PR/Corsham: St Bartholomew/1812/9.

77 Chew Magna, vestry minute of 3 Dec. 1824, SHC D\P\che.m/9/1/1.

78 Wimborne Minster, select vestry minute of 22 July 1831, DHC PE/WM VE2/3. There is evidence that the vestries of Wimborne Minster had been held in the ‘Club Room’ since 1809 and select vestries had been meeting there into the 1830s indicating a close relationship between the two, Wimborne Minster, vestry minutes, 1809–49, DHC PE/WM VE1/2.

79 Chew Magna, vestry minute of 3 Dec. 1824, SHC D\P\che.m/9/1/1.

80 Wimborne Minster, vestry minute of 26 Mar. 1833, DHC PE/WM VE1/2.

81 Corsham, select vestry minute of 29 Sept. 1826, W&SA PR/Cosham: St Bartholomew/1812/9.

82 Winsford, select vestry minute, 31 Mar. 1834, SHC D\P\wins/9/1/1.

83 Corsham, select vestry minute of 14 Oct. 1825, W&SA PR/Cosham: St Bartholomew/1812/9.

84 Wimborne Minster, select vestry minute of 9 Mar. 1830, DHC PE/WM VE2/3.

85 Clutton, vestry minute of 14 Aug. 1835, SHC D\P\clut/9/1/1.

86 Hindle, On the parish?, p. 257.

87 Harris suggests that commentators believed a distinction had not been maintained in the late nineteenth century under the new poor law, Harris, J., ‘From poor law to welfare state? A European perspective’, in Winch, D. and O'Brien, P. K., eds., The political economy of British historical experience, 1688–1914 (Oxford, 2002), pp. 431–2Google Scholar; Alannah Tomkins starts her book with an example of relief given in 1739 to a man, Francis Wheeler, who would have normally been viewed as ‘undeserving’ at the time, Tomkins, A., The experience of urban poverty, 1723–1782 (Manchester, 2006), pp. 13Google Scholar.

88 Hindle, S., ‘Civility, honesty and the identification of the deserving poor in seventeenth-century England’, in French, H. and Barry, J., eds., Identity and agency in England, 1500–1800 (Basingstoke, 2004), p. 38Google Scholar.

89 Whiteparish, vestry minute, 5 Dec. 1834, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

90 Botley, select vestry minute, 17 July 1822, HRO 40M75/PV2.

91 For instance, in Bury it was ‘Agreed that all Pauper's that do not attend their church regular on Sunday's shall not receive any Parochial pay unless they can show any just cause why they absented themselves'; Bury, vestry minute of 29 May 1828, WSRO Par33/12/1.

92 Fareham, select vestry minute, 22 May 1819, PCRO CHU43/2C/1.

93 Whiteparish, select vestry minute of 6 July 1832, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

94 Botley, select vestry minute of 19 May 1823, HRO 40M75/PV1.

95 Wincanton, select vestry minute of 29 Dec. 1831, SHC D\PC\winc/1/3/2.

96 Chew Magna, select vestry minute of 1 Oct. 1819, SHC D\P\che.m/9/1/3.

97 Wincanton, select vestry minute of 20 Dec. 1831, SHC D\PC\winc/1/3/2.

98 Botley, vestry minute of 6 Jan. 1833, HRO 40M75/PV1.

99 Fareham, select vestry minute of 10 Nov. 1819, PCRO CHU43/2C/1.

100 Wimborne Minster, select vestry minute of 19 June 1821, DHC PE/WM VE2/1.

101 Wincanton, select vestry minute of 20 Dec. 1831, SHC D\PC\winc/1/3/2.

102 Winsford, select vestry minute of 9 Dec. 1833, SHC D\P\wins/9/1/1.

103 Whiteparish, select vestry minute of 11 Oct. 1834, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

104 Botley, select vestry minute of 17 July 1822, HRO 40M75/PV2.

105 For the use of dogs to poach see Hay, D., ‘Poaching and the game laws on Cannock Chase’, in Hay, D., Linebaugh, P., and Thompson, E. P., eds., Albion's fatal tree: crime and society in eighteenth-century England (London, 1975), pp. 189253Google Scholar.

106 Botley, vestry minute of 27 Apr. 1834, HRO 40M75/PV1; Neuman found the same order had been created in the select vestry of Thatcham (Berkshire), Neuman, The Speenhamland county, p. 182.

107 For an early example, see Whitechurch Canonicorum, vestry minute of 2 Aug. 1796, DHC PE/WCC VE1/3.

108 Southampton Herald, 31 May 1824.

109 Broomfield, allowances of the poor, select vestry minute of 16 May 1821, SHC D\P\broo/13/2/2. Pigs, unlike all other animals, caused a noticeable odour as well, leading to complaints from fellow parishioners, Winsford, vestry minute book, select vestry minute of 15 Sept. 1834, SHC D\P\wins/9/1/1.

110 Corsham, select vestry minute of 7 May 1824, W&SA PR/Cosham: St Bartholomew/1812/9.

111 Chew Magna, select vestry minute of 31 Oct. 1834, SHC D/P/che.m/9/1/3.

112 Neuman, The Speenhamland county, p. 182.

113 Whiteparish, select vestry minute of 22 Sept. 1834, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

114 Millbrook, vestry minute of 25 June 1821, SCRO PR10/8/1.

115 See also Shave, S. A., ‘The dependent poor? (Re)constructing the lives of individuals “on the parish” in rural Dorset, 1800–1832’, Rural History, 20 (2009), pp. 6797Google Scholar.

116 Nether Wallop, select vestry minute of 21 June 1822, HRO 93M83/PV1.

117 East Woodhay, select vestry minute of 23 Apr. 1822, HRO 27M77/PV1.

118 Hambledon, select vestry minutes of 7 Aug. 1824 and 23 July 1825, HRO 46M69/PV1.

119 For instance, Broomfield, allowances to the poor, select vestry minutes of 16 May, 13 June, and 27 June 1821, SHC D\P\broo/13/2/2.

120 From 1820, Beaminster kept a book containing similar tables, containing the names of individuals and families, plus their ages and respective earnings, Beaminster, lists of families with earnings, 1820–36, DHC PE/BE OV9/1. Large printed forms were used in the parish of Lindfield recording similar demographic detail in addition to a range of relief headings: ‘Flour’, ‘Potatoes’, ‘Work’, ‘Or Other Relief’, and ‘Money’, Lindfield, Sept. and Nov. 1820, WSRO Par416/13/2 and 3.

121 Wimborne Minster, select vestry minute of 11 Aug. 1829, DHC PE/WM VE2/3.

122 Fareham, select vestry minute of 21 July 1819, PCRO CHU43/2C/1.

123 Fareham, select vestry minute of 16 June 1819, PCRO CHU43/2C/1.

124 Botley, select vestry minute of 29 Apr. 1823, HRO 40M75/PV2.

125 Hambledon, select vestry minutes of 21 Jan. 1826 and 20 Nov. 1830, HRO 46M69/PV1.

126 BPP 1834. Part 2. Question 21 (‘Are Cottages frequently exempted from Rates? and is their Rent often paid by the Parish?’). From the returns received from parishes in Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, and West Sussex which answered this question, 93.9 per cent of parishes frequently or occasionally exempted labouring families and poor parishioners from paying the poor rates; 71.4 per cent of parishes used the poor rates frequently or occasionally to pay or subsidize the house rents of labouring and poor parishioners. The latter figure includes parishes which mentioned they rented cottages and other accommodation on behalf of parishioners. For more information about the provision of parish housing under the old poor law, see Broad, J., ‘Housing the rural poor in southern England, 1650–1850’, Agricultural History Review, 48 (2000), pp. 151–70Google Scholar; and what happened to parish property after the Poor Law Amendment Act, Wells, R., ‘The Poor Law Commission and publicly-owned housing in the English countryside, 1834–1847’, Agricultural History Review, 55 (2007), pp. 181204Google Scholar.

127 East Woodhay, vestry minute book, select vestry minute of 3 May 1825, HRO 27M77/PV1; Corsham, select vestry minute of 9 Dec. 1825, W&SA PR/Cosham: St. Bartholomew/1812/9.

128 For instance, the Broomfield select vestry decided in 1821 to have two days in the year on which clothing would be allowed, a policy extended to four days in 1825: select vestry minutes, 18 Sept. 1821 and 29 Apr. 1825, SHC D\P\broo/13/2/2. Also see the separate ‘Clothing accounts’, 1810–36, SHC D\P\can 13/2/10.

129 Angmering, vestry minute, 27 May 1829, WSRO Par6/12/1.

130 Whiteparish, select vestry minute of 12 Apr. 1833, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

131 Bruton, select vestry minute of 31 Dec. 1815, SHC D\P\brut/9/1/2.

132 Jones, P., ‘Clothing the poor in early nineteenth-century England’, Textile History, 37 (2006), pp. 1737Google Scholar; Richmond, V., ‘“Indiscriminate liberality subverts the morals and depraves the habits of the poor”: a contribution to the debate on the poor, parish clothing relief and clothing societies in early nineteenth-century England’, Textile History, 40 (2009), pp. 5169Google Scholar.

133 Rules to join the society were clarified in a meeting on 27 Jan. 1832: Wincanton, select vestry minutes of 12 and 27 Jan. 1832, SHC D\PC\winc/1/3/2; Wimborne Minster, select vestry minute of 18 Nov. 1831, DHC PE/WM VE2/3.

134 Whilst some people still had their turf cut by someone employed by the parish, some individuals’ claims were refused, such as Grace Grunter who had previously benefited from the service: Winsford, vestry minute book, select vestry minutes of 23 June 1834 and 20 July 1835, SHC D\P\wins/9/1/1.

135 Wells, ‘Poor-law reform in the rural south-east’, p. 65.

136 Fareham, select vestry minute of 7 July 1819, PCRO CHU43/2C/1.

137 Neuman, The Speenhamland county, p. 182.

138 Chew Magna, vestry minute of 15 Feb. 1833, SHC D\P\che.m/9/1/1; Whiteparish, select vestry minute of 15 Sept. 1834, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

139 Fareham, select vestry minutes of 9 June 1819 and 14 June 1823 PCRO CHU43/2C/1; Horsted Keynes, select vestry minute of 26 Mar. 1832, WSRO Par384/12/2. Shipley had a price scale fixed in 1829 (under twelve years of age 4d per day, between twelve and fifteen 6d, over fifteen 9d, and ‘Old Men’ 12d) and regulated the hours of parish work, Shipley, select vestry minutes of 16 and 30 Apr. 1829, WSRO Par162/12/1.

140 For instance, Shipley, where the general vestry was asked by the select vestry to obtain a contractor and the select vestry subsequently revised the workhouse regulations, select vestry minute book, select vestry minute of 29 Apr. 1830, WSRO Par162/12/1.

141 Corsham, select vestry order book, 22 Apr. 1825 (adverts) and 20 May 1825 (appointment and terms of agreement, articles 6, 7, and 21), W&SA PR/Corsham: St Bartholomew/1812/9.

142 Bishop's Waltham, vestry minute, vestry minute of 17 Mar. 1828, HRO 30M77/PV1.

143 Bishop's Waltham, vestry minute book, select vestry minute of 28 Apr. 1828, HRO 30M77/PV2.

144 Corsham, select vestry order book, select vestry minutes of 22 Apr. and 20 May 1825, W&SA PR/Corsham: St Bartholomew/1812/9.

145 Fareham, select vestry minute book, vestry minute of 1 Mar. 1826, PCRO CHU/43/2B/3.

146 Griffin, ‘Parish farms and the poor law’; Blaug, M., ‘The myth of the old poor law and the making of the new’, Journal of Economic History, 23 (1963), pp. 151–84Google Scholar; idem, ‘The Poor Law Report re-examined’, Journal of Economic History, 24 (1964), pp. 229–45Google Scholar; Boyer, G., An economic history of the English poor law, 1750–1850 (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 1521Google Scholar; For an analysis of when relief recipients were employed by the parish during their life-course see Shave, ‘The dependent poor?’.

147 Wincanton, vestry minute book, vestry minutes of 9 Mar. 1832 and 24 Oct. 1833, SHC D\PC\winc/1/3/2.

148 Wincanton, vestry minute book, vestry minutes of 3 Nov. 1832, 14 Dec. 1832, and 12 Dec. 1833, SHC D\PC\winc/1/3/2. The labour rate system is where a parish agrees ‘a rate, levied against the poor rate assessment, which either had to be paid or the rate-payer had to “discharge” the rate by employing “surplus” labour (defined as the number of labourers left over after an allocation of labourers based on either the rates, rental or acreage) at a set wage’, C. J. Griffin, ‘“Employing the poor”: the experience of unemployment in post-Napoleonic rural England’ (unpublished paper), p. 29; also see references in n. 146.

149 Ibid., p. 29; Wells, ‘Social protest, class, conflict and consciousness’, p. 142; Rose, M., The English poor law, 1780–1930 (Newton Abbot, 1971), pp. 57–8Google Scholar.

150 Eversley, select vestry minute of 17 Nov. 1822, HRO 6M77/PV1; Wells, ‘Social protest, class, conflict and consciousness’, p. 142. The act was passed on 9 Aug. 1832 and was officially entitled ‘An Act for the better Employment of Labourers in Agricultural Parishes until the Twenty-fifth Day of Mar. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four’ (2 & 3 Geo. IV c. 96).

151 The scheme was repeated on 9 Oct. 1834, Bruton, vestry minutes of 11 Oct. 1833, SHC D\P\brut/13/1/3.

152 Whiteparish, select vestry minutes of 22 Sept. 1832 and 23 Nov. 1832, W&SA PR/Whiteparish: All Saints/830/32.

153 New Alresford, vestry minute book, select vestry minute of 2 Nov. 1832, HRO 45M83/PV1.

154 Broughton, select vestry minute of 8 May 1823, HRO 137M71/PV1.

155 Fareham, select vestry minute of 29 May 1819, PCRO CHU43/2C/1.

156 Burchardt, J., The allotment movement in England: 1793–1873 (Woodbridge, 2002), p. 34Google Scholar.

157 Horsted Keynes, select vestry minute of 26 Mar. 1832, WSRO Par384/12/2.

158 If any rent after the first year was irrecoverable, the overseers were obliged to pay for it from the parish rates, Wimborne Minster, select vestry minute of 27 Nov. 1829, DHC PE/WM VE2/3.

159 Wimborne Minster, select vestry minute of 27 Nov. 1829, DHC PE/WM VE2/3. Plans were mentioned but there is no evidence that the policy was undertaken, Wimborne Minster, vestry minute of 26 Nov. 1831, DHC PE/WM VE1/2. The piece of land desired was offered by the landowner (Mr Machell) at £50 per year, an offer which was rejected by the vestry, Wimborne Minster, vestry minute of 28 Nov. 1831, DHC PE/WM VE1/2.

160 New Alresford, select vestry minute of 29 Nov. 1833, HRO 45M83/PV1. As Burchardt notes, deciphering the precise motivations behind the creation of allotments is difficult. Either way, Sturges Bourne's Act of 1819 facilitated parishes to act as the regulators of such schemes: Burchardt, The allotment movement, passim.

161 Shipley, select vestry minute of 16 Apr. 1829, WSRO Par162/12/1.

162 Burchardt, J., ‘Rural social relations, 1830–1850: opposition to allotments for labourers’, Agricultural History Review, 45 (1997), p. 166Google Scholar. For research on the work of the Labourer's Friend Society and other societies during this period also see Wells, R., ‘Historical trajectories: English social welfare systems, rural riots, popular politics, agrarian trade unions, and allotment provision, 1793–1896’, Southern History, 25 (2003), pp. 100–5Google Scholar; Burchardt, The allotment movement, pp. 70–97.

163 Griffin, C. J., ‘The violent Captain Swing?’, Past and Present, 209, (2010)Google Scholar, pp. 167, 173–4; idem, The rural war: Captain Swing and the politics of protest (Manchester, 2012), pp. 134, 183–4.

164 Ibid., p. 54; Sussex Winter Assizes, 12 Nov. 1822, TNA Assi94/1896.

165 Griffin, Rural war, p. 55; Sussex Advertiser, 10 Jan. 1825.