Some Union Workhouse Minutes for 20th May 1840

Virtually all of the stories I post are linked to events from times gone by.  Today’s story takes us back 177 years to extracts from the Union Workhouse Minutes of the day for the town of Stamford in eastern England.  These stories are taken from actual events and with these brief records we get a feel to what life was like for people coping with the downside of life.

We’ll start with these two positive events:
‘Leave was given to Mary Blades to become servant to Mrs Thorpe of Rutland Terrace and to Elizabeth Andrew to go as nursemaid to Mrs Somers of Ryhall at 30/- per annum.  Necessary apparel was ordered for both.’

Work in progress is tells us that:
‘On 29th April 1840 an order for the discharge from prison of Francis Eaglesfield belonging to St Martins, to be delivered to his friends, was produced.  No order was made thereon, the Board being of opinion that the magistrates might safely discharge him under the order.  If he was quite destitute he would be received into the workhouse in the usual way. The master was directed to apply to the Surveyors of the Highways of the parish of St, Martin to employ Francis Eaglesfield.’ 

In a similar vein:
‘It was reported that, in the case of John Houldsworth, 21 days had expired since notice was sent of an order to remove him and his wife from St. Michael’s in Stamford to Spittlegate near Grantham.  No notice of appeal had been delivered and the clerk stated that, as Houldsworth was now able to work, he had, at the request of the parish officers, written to the clerk of the Grantham Union to acknowledge the settlement without being at the expense of executing the order.’
It was also reported that:
‘21 days had expired since the order was granted to remove Tho’ Wilborn and his wife and family from St Michael to Pickworth {a small hamlet in Rutland}, and it being understood that the latter parish did not mean to appeal, an acknowledgement of the paupers and an undertaking to provide for them was drawn out by the clerk and delivered to the relevant officer to be signed by the churchwardens and overseers of Pickworth’.

Sometimes everything went as was hoped and a community could move individuals or families on other Union Workhouses.  This is one:
‘The clerk had a letter which he had received from the Revd. Henry Fludyer of Thistleton {the most northerly village in Rutland} enclosing a sovereign to be applied in conveying Ann Messenger and her family to Stevenage, where her husband resides, and the relevant officer stated that after much difficulty he had succeeded in sending them off. 

This situation had been discussed and recorded last week (13th May 1840) when the relieving officer had reported that Ann Messenger travelling through the town with 6 children had applied for relief in consequence of Eliza Messenger her daughter, aged about 13, having met with an accident which would detain her in the workhouse for about a fortnight. 
The clerk having reported that he had written to her friends at Thistleton, the case was directed to stand over till an answer was obtained.’

 I don’t know about you but I think I’ll put up with my life in the 21st century.

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