Overseer for the Poor

During the reign of Elizabeth I, each parish was made responsible for its poor, i.e. those too old, too young or too feeble to work. Three or four people from each parish were appointed by a magistrate to assess each households ability to pay a levy; four pence for an oxgang of land, four pence for a score of sheep and two pence or more for a cottage. The Winthorpe overseer's accounts are from 1790 to 1826 and these show income from other sources.

In 1790 the following sums were recorded:-

"From Roger Pocklington £5.10. 0  Levy 4d in the £1 £4.11.10 of predecessor £11.15. 4

From Constables account £4.15. 0

In 1825 the income was £115.16.10. By 1800 the levy was one shilling in the pound so bringing in £35.14.11.

Some examples of expenditure follows:-

1790  -  Coat for Wm. Stacy  9/2d

            Pair of breeches  7/-

            2 shirts (making)  l/-

            Cloth for mending shirts l/3d

            2 prs. stocking footing 6d


Help was given to Ann Booth with an illegitimate child:-

Support for Ann Booth 2/6d weekly

Support for Ann Booth laying in 5/-

Support for Ann Booth 5/- and a second 5/-

Mrs. Vason for midwife 5/-

Ann Bpoth 2/3d weekly

Blankets 5/-

In 1792 payments were still made, but reduced to l/3d weekly. Was the father found? The next items entered were:-

Expenses on apprehending James Dunn for bastard, 17/2d.

James Dunn paid 19/6d into receipts. The same year £1.17.6d was paid to a militia substitutes family and the militia substitutes bounty was £11.15.0. John Broadberry received shirts, lodgings, blankets, coals, nursing and a saucepan costing 10d. A coffin for Sarah Crow was 15/-. Hibbert was paid during illness, and then came his funeral. His children were boarded out - 4 weeks for 3 children, £1.18.0. In 1815 repair of the stocks was £5.4.5d.

In 1782 an act was passed to allow parishes to provide "poor houses," where the aged or sick could be accommodated. About 7 or 8 parishes could combine to support one house. By the early 1800's these had become "workhouses" and in this area there was one at Claypole, one at Southwell and a third in Newark. Of course inhabitants did not always remain in the village of their birth and could only qualify for help if they had been granted a "Certificate of Settlement." Those not qualifying had to return to the village of their birth. If they could not do so and were accepted in a workhouse, then the parish would receive a bill. One such account from Gedling workhouse was £4.5.2d and various payments were made to Southwell. In 1821 a doctor's bill for £6.6.0 was paid.

Claypole workhouse was demolished in 1930's. The one at Southwell became a home for the elderly and the Newark building became part of Hawtonville Hospital. It nows belongs to The National Trust.

Miss K.E. Euston.

Extract from Focal Point.



Further reading can be found in

         Local Government in Volume 1.