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Title: The Early History of English Poor Relief
Author: Leonard, E. M.
Language: English
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                           THE EARLY HISTORY


                          ENGLISH POOR RELIEF

                     London: C. J. CLAY AND SONS,
                            AVE MARIA LANE.
                    Glasgow: 50, WELLINGTON STREET.


                       Leipzig: F. A. BROCKHAUS.
                   New York: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
                       Bombay: E. SEYMOUR HALE.


                             EARLY HISTORY


                          ENGLISH POOR RELIEF


                            E. M. LEONARD,

                       AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS.

                       [_All Rights reserved._]

                     PRINTED BY J. AND C. F. CLAY,
                       AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS.

                                TO THE

                 REV. WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, D.D., LL.D.


                         I DEDICATE THIS BOOK.


The present account of the early history of English poor relief is
chiefly derived from the municipal records of London and Norwich and
from the reports of the justices of the peace which are included
amongst the state papers. Information on the subject is also contained
in the Privy Council Register, while some of the orders of both Privy
Council and justices and a few of the overseers' accounts are to be
found in the collections of the British Museum.

A fairly effectual system of relieving the destitute by public
authority has had in England a continuous existence since the
seventeenth century. Attempts to found such a system of poor relief in
the sixteenth century were common to most of the countries of Western
Europe, but the continued existence of any organisation of the kind is
peculiar to England.

Possibly this fact has an important influence on our national history.
We are apt to consider the facts that we are a law-abiding people and
that we have not suffered from violent revolutions to be entirely due
to the virtues of the national character and the excellence of the
British Constitution. But before the introduction of our system of
relieving the poor we were by no means so free from disorder. The poor
laws themselves were at least partly police measures, and, until they
were successfully administered, the country was repeatedly disturbed by
rebellions and constantly plagued by vagrants. The connection between
the relief of the poor and orderly government in England appears fully
during the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and it
may be that our legal system of poor relief has ever since contributed
to the absence of violent catastrophes in our national history.

But although the continuous existence of a system of public poor
relief for nearly three centuries is peculiar to England, the English
organisation was at first only one of a series of similar systems which
began to arise during the sixteenth century in most of the countries
of Europe. Both in England and on the continent, however, poor laws
were difficult to administer. On the continent they fell gradually
into abeyance, and the English system of poor relief was by no means
enforced simply because a poor law was passed in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth. It survived almost alone among the similar organisations
of the time chiefly in consequence of the policy adopted by the Privy
Council in the reign of Charles I. and of the efforts made by English
justices of the peace as a result of that policy.

For nearly a century before the time of Charles I., however,
experiments had been made in the organisation of public poor relief.
Efforts in this direction were first undertaken by the towns, and
the provisions of the earlier English poor laws appear to have been
modelled on pre-existing municipal regulations. The City of London was
apparently the first English secular authority to organise the public
relief of the poor. Collections by the aldermen at the church doors
were decreed by the Court of Aldermen in 1532: compulsory taxation was
levied by the Common Council as early as 1547, while the Bishop and
citizens persuaded Edward VI. to grant the royal palace of Bridewell
for the creation of the first House of Correction. Before 1569
legislation also had been fashioned upon these pre-existing orders and
bye-laws of the towns, but neither statutes nor municipal orders were

Statute succeeded statute throughout the sixteenth century; during
the years 1594 to 1597, however, there was great scarcity of corn and
provisions; the poor died from starvation or rose in insurrection. The
whole question of poor relief was in consequence thoroughly thrashed
out in Parliament. Bacon and Burleigh, Whitgift and Raleigh took part
in the debates. A great committee appointed in 1597 held its meetings
in the Middle Temple Hall, and there Bacon, Coke, and the most
distinguished men in the House discussed at least thirteen bills on the
subject. This committee finally rejected all the bills referred to them
in favour of a new bill drafted by themselves which finally passed into
law. This was practically re-enacted in 1601 and has remained in force
until our own time as the basis of our organisation for the relief of
the poor.

But the question of poor relief was not settled by statutory enactment
any more than by municipal regulations. Administration and not
legislation has always been the difficulty in laws concerning the
poor. Until the end of the sixteenth century the history of relief in
England is parallel to that of France and Scotland; there were in all
three countries many poor laws but none were well administered. But
in the time of Charles I. the machinery for the execution of the law
is developed, and henceforward the history of poor relief in England
differs from that of the neighbouring countries.

The machinery for the execution of the law is created by means of
the pressure of the Privy Council on the justices of the peace. Even
in the reign of Elizabeth the Privy Council had occasionally issued
orders with the object of enforcing the poor law. But from 1629 to
1640 the Privy Council under the personal government of Charles
I. interfered constantly and regularly in the matter. The Council
attempted to provide work for the unemployed, to procure cheap corn in
years of scarcity, and to regulate wages in the supposed interests of
the workmen. It also established a new organisation for the ordinary
relief of the poor. In 1631 the justices still neglected to execute
the laws for the poor, but the Book of Orders issued in that year
ordered special meetings to be held and reports to be sent to the Privy
Council. Nearly a thousand of these reports remain, and in these we are
told that in many districts of the kingdom the execution of the law so
improved that it became part of the practice as well as of the law of
the land.

Moreover the whole of the Elizabethan Poor Law was administered: work
was provided for the unemployed, as well as pensions for the impotent.
In most places in south-eastern England, and in some districts of
almost every county, sums were levied in order that materials and
tools might be furnished to the unemployed.

Thus during the personal government of Charles I. we have not only
the first thorough execution of the poor law, but a more complete
organisation for the help of the weaker classes than at any other
period of our history.

The system thus established was successful in meeting the temporary
difficulties of the time. Some Shropshire justices worked "such effect"
by the execution of the Book of Orders that "there have not any rogues
or vagabonds appeared amongst us or walked abroad as wee heare of
since our first meetings." There were also no complaints from the
impotent poor, and the unemployed were set to work. There are similar
accounts from many different parts of the country which show that the
administration of the Poor Law had then much to do with making England
a law-abiding and orderly community.

But the outbreak of the Civil War rendered the finding of work for the
unemployed less necessary, and broke up the organisation established
by the Book of Orders. There are no reports after 1640, and probably
the special meetings of the justices were discontinued. The whole of
the poor law was laxly administered and only in a few places did this
provision for the unemployed outlast the Commonwealth. Still a part of
the poor law survived and has a continuous history from the time of
Henry VIII. In Scotland and France either the central government was
not so vigilant, or there were no efficient local officials, and in
both these countries therefore regulations for the relief of the poor
were issued but were not effectually executed. The English organisation
alone survived, and this probably in consequence of the enforcement of
the Book of Orders under the personal government of Charles I.

       *       *       *       *       *

During my investigations I have received valuable assistance. To the
Rev. Dr Cunningham of Trinity College, Cambridge, I am especially
grateful for much kindly advice and criticism. I began my researches
into this subject while I was a student of the London School of
Economics and desire to express my obligations to Mr Hewins, the
Director of the School, who first suggested the subject to me, and
also pointed out to me some of the printed sources of information. I
also thank Mr Hubert Hall of the Public Record Office for the ready
kindness with which he has always helped me. Mr Tigny of the Norwich
muniment room, Dr Sharpe of the Guildhall Record Office, and the
officials of the British Museum and Public Record Office have also
courteously assisted me while I was investigating the manuscripts under
their care. My thanks are also due to Mr S. H. Leonard of Lincoln's
Inn, Mr J. L. Burbey of Exeter College, and Miss Maud Syson of Girton
College. I desire also to express my gratitude to Mr Loch, Sec. of the
C. O. S., who, on behalf of the Syndics of the University Press, made
several suggestions of which I have been glad to avail myself.




  § 1. Anglo-Saxon times. § 2. The Labour statutes. § 3. The control
  of charitable funds by the state. § 4. The control of charitable funds
  by the towns. § 5. Summary of the main features of public control of
  poor-relief before the sixteenth century      pp. 1-10



  § 1. Increase of vagrants. § 2. Reasons for increase of beggars. § 3.
  Old methods of charity. § 4. Attempts to reorganise charitable funds
  on the Continent. § 5. Three factors in the making of the English
  system of poor relief      pp. 11-21




  § 1. Importance of municipal government in Tudor towns. § 2. London
  regulations for a constant supply of corn, 1391-1569. § 3. Regulations
  for the repression of vagrants and the relief of the poor, 1514-1536.
  § 4. Refoundation of St Bartholomew's Hospital and imposition of a
  compulsory poor rate, 1536-1547. § 5. Completion of the Four Royal
  Hospitals and establishment of a municipal system of poor relief in
  London, 1547-1557. § 6. Failure of the municipal system of London. §
  7. Provision of corn in Bristol and Canterbury. § 8. Lincoln. Survey
  of poor; and arrangements for finding work for the unemployed. §
  9. Ipswich. Survey of poor; imposition of compulsory poor rate and
  foundation of Christ's Hospital. § 10. Cambridge. Survey of poor and
  assessment of parishioners. § 11. Summary      pp. 22-46




  § 1. Efforts made by the Government to secure the employment of the
  clothmakers during the crisis in the cloth trade of 1527-8. § 2.
  Regulations for the supply of the markets with corn, 1527-8. § 3.
  Similar action in regard to corn in 1548 and 1563. § 4. Letters of the
  Privy Council to particular local officials in connection with the
  relief of the poor. § 5. Legislation concerning the relief of the poor
  during the reign of Henry VIII. § 6. The two earlier statutes of Edward
  VI. § 7. Legislation between 1551 and 1569. § 8. Summary      pp. 47-60


  RELIEF, 1514-1569.

  § 1. The action of municipal rulers precedes the action of Parliament.
  § 2. Advantages of the municipal system of relief. § 3. Connection
  between the municipal organisation of poor relief and the dissolution
  of the monasteries. § 4. Relation of beggary to the first schemes of
  relief. § 5. Parental government. § 6. Bridewell, the key-stone of the
  system      pp. 61-66




  A. _Parliamentary History._ § 1. Discussions, Bills and Statutes
  between 1566 and 1576. § 2. Parliamentary history between 1576 and
  1597. § 3. The Bills and Statutes of 1597. § 4. General features of the
  discussion in Parliament. B. _The action of the Privy Council._ § 5.
  The chief characteristics of the action of the Privy Council. § 6. The
  whipping campaign. § 7. The scarcity measures. § 8. The influence of
  the Privy Council on county and municipal officials      pp. 67-94



  YEARS 1594-1597.

  § 1. The organisation of London with regard to the poor. § 2. The
  organisation of Norwich. § 3. The action of other towns (1) concerning
  the settlement of new comers; (2) concerning the unemployed; (3)
  concerning the raising of funds. § 4. The events of the years of
  scarcity 1594-1597. § 5. Summary of the period 1569-1597      pp. 95-131




  § 1. Characteristics of the period. § 2. Legislation from 1597 to 1644.
  _Administrative machinery._ § 3. Action of the Privy Council before 1629.
  § 4. Action of the Privy Council after 1629 with regard to the provision of
  corn. § 5. Action of the Privy Council after 1629 with regard to the
  unemployed. § 6. The Book of Orders as a whole and the royal commission
  of 1630/1. § 7. Interference with wages as a method of helping the poor.
  § 8. Summary      pp. 132-164




  § 1. Powers of the justices. § 2. Work of the justices in first putting
  the law in execution (_a_) in the West Riding during 1598, (_b_) in
  the North Riding during the years immediately following 1605. § 3.
  Reports of the justices in response to the Book of Orders. § 4. The
  work of the judges: (_a_) Authoritative decisions on points of law;
  (_b_) Administrative work as the link between the Privy Council and
  the justices. § 5. The work of the overseers (_a_) in 1599; (_b_) when
  stirred to greater activity by scarcity measures; (_c_) after the issue
  of the Book of Orders      pp. 165-183


  METHODS OF RELIEF, 1597-1644.

  A. _In times of emergency._

  § 1. The methods by which the scarcity orders of the Privy Council
  were executed in 1623 and 1630-1: (_a_) the suppression of alehouses
  and restriction of malting; (_b_) the regulations for serving the
  markets with corn; (_c_) selling corn to labourers under price; (_d_)
  other methods of providing food for the poor. § 2. Evidence as to
  the success or failure of the corn regulations. § 3. Reasons for
  adopting them. § 4. Bearing of the scarcity measures on the history
  of poor relief, (_a_) because of the growth of organisation; (_b_)
  as an indication of the standard of life of the poorer classes. § 5.
  Provision of fuel for the poor in winter. § 6. Help afforded in times
  of plague and sickness. § 7. Contributions to sufferers from fire.
  § 8. Two characteristics of seventeenth century poor relief: (_a_)
  little distinction between paupers and non-paupers; (_b_) little
  distinction between relief afforded by voluntary contributions and
  that provided by poor rates      pp. 184-205

  B. _Ordinary relief._

  α. _Impotent Poor._ § 1. Almshouses and endowed
  charities. § 2. Relief for the old from county and parochial rates.
  β. _Children._ § 3. Apprenticeship. § 4. Schools for
  little children and orphanages. γ. _Able-bodied poor._
  § 5. Relief given to prisoners. § 6. Provision of funds to provide
  work for the unemployed. § 7. Methods of providing work: (_a_) Stocks
  used to employ the poor in their homes; (_b_) Introduction of new
  trades; (_c_) Workhouses and Jersey schools; (_d_) Bridewells; (_e_)
  Emigration; (_f_) Pressure on employers; (_g_) Advancement of capital
  without interest      pp. 206-236




  § 1. Importance of the period 1597-1644. § 2. Negligent administration
  of the Poor Law in the North and extreme West. § 3. Administration in
  the rest of England varied with the action of the Privy Council. § 4.
  Action of the Privy Council and administration between 1597 and 1605.
  § 5. Action of the Privy Council and administration between 1605 and
  1629. § 6. Action of the Privy Council and administration between 1629
  and 1644. § 7. Improvement effected in 1631 especially concerned the
  unemployed. § 8. Detailed report from Bassetlaw. § 9. Provision for the
  unemployed (_a_) in the North and extreme West; (_b_) in the towns;
  (_c_) in the Western counties; (_d_) in the Eastern counties. § 10.
  Summary      pp. 237-266



  § 1. Lax administration of poor relief in England during the years of
  Civil War. (_a_) Decline of charitable institutions; (_b_) Neglect
  in execution of ordinary law; (_c_) Instances of corrupt practices.
  § 2. Attempts to regain a good organisation of poor relief under the
  Commonwealth. § 3. Reasons why disorganisation especially affected the
  provision of work for the unemployed. § 4. State of poor relief after
  the Restoration. § 5. Reasons for the failure to restore the old state
  of things during the Commonwealth. § 6. History of legislation on
  poor relief in Scotland (_a_) before 1597; (_b_) between 1597-1680.
  § 7. Failure of administration of poor relief in Scotland during the
  seventeenth century. (_a_) Responses of the Scotch justices to the
  orders of Council in 1623 show that they were unable or unwilling to
  enforce the Poor Law themselves, and left it to the kirk sessions;
  (_b_) Inadequate poor relief granted by the kirk sessions of Banff;
  (_c_) Relief of the poor in Aberdeen shows that the relief considered
  sufficient by the municipal rulers was double that which could be
  granted from the funds at the disposal of the kirk sessions; (_d_)
  Infrequency of assessment in Scotland before 1818; (_e_) Insufficiency
  of relief during the years 1692-1699; (_f_) Prevalence of begging in
  Scotland; (_g_) Reasons for the failure of Scotch administration. §
  8. The history of poor relief in France. § 9. Comparison between the
  history of poor relief in England and that in France and in Scotland
      pp. 267-292



  § 1. Summary of history of English poor relief before the Civil
  War. § 2. The political significance of the paternal measures of
  the Government. (_a_) Possible attempt to attach to the Government
  the poorer part of the nation; (_b_) Habitual use of proclamations
  and orders in Council for a popular purpose. § 3. Success of the
  enforcement of the Book of Orders in the reign of Charles I. § 4.
  Results of the effectual administration of the Poor Law on English
  social history      pp. 293-304


  APPENDIX I. Extracts from the Journals of the Common Council of London.

  A. Copy of a precept issued for a collection for the poor issued
  in 1563. _Journals_ XVIII. f. 145 b      p. 305

  B. Copy in the Journals of a precept for a collection in February
  1573/4. _Journals_ XX. I. f. 119      pp. 306-307

  APPENDIX II. Extract from the census of the poor taken at Norwich
  recorded in the "Maioris Bocke for the Pore"      pp. 308-310

  APPENDIX III. Extracts from the "Orders for the poor" drawn up in
  Norwich, May 1571:      pp. 311-315

  Orders for the poor, p. 311; for the balie of Bridewell, p. 312;
  orders for children and others in wardes, p. 313; orders for the
  deacons, p. 314. _The Book for the Poore_, Norwich.

  APPENDIX IV. Report concerning scarcity from Norfolk, 1586. _Dom.
  State Papers Queen Eliz._, Vol. 191, No. 12      pp. 316-317

  APPENDIX V. Part of a draft of orders for remedying the scarcity of
  corn in 1586. _Lans. MSS. Brit. Mus._ No. 48, f. 128      pp. 318-326

  APPENDIX VI. Accounts of the Churchwardens and Overseers of the parish
  of Staplegrove, co. Somerset, for the year 1599. _Brit. Mus. Add. MSS._
  30,278      pp. 327-330

  APPENDIX VII. Orders made by the justices responsible for Aylesham and
  Reipham, co. Norfolk, 23rd October 1622. _Brit. Mus. Add. MSS._ No.
  12496, f. 222      pp. 331-333

  APPENDIX VIII. Report of the justices from Lackford and the half
  hundred of Exning, February 7th, 1622/3. _Dom. State Papers James I._,
  Vol. 142. 14. I      pp. 334-335

  APPENDIX IX. Extract from the Privy Council Register. Copy of a letter
  sent to the Deputy Lieutenants and Justices of the Counties of Suffolk
  and Essex concerning the employment of the Poor. _Privy Council
  Register Chas. I._, Vol. V. f. 263. 22nd May 1629      pp. 336-337

  APPENDIX X. Letter concerning the restoration of order and relief of
  the poor in Rutland. _Privy Council Register_, Vol. VI. f. 345. 15th
  Feb. 1630/1      pp. 338-339

  APPENDIX XI. Letter from Sir Thomas Barrington concerning the eight
  hundreds of Yorkshire. Vol. 177, No. 31. 21st Dec. 1630      pp. 340-341

  APPENDIX XII. Justices' reports on the execution of the Book of Orders
  of January 1630/1      p. 342

  A. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 188, No. 85. Question asked by
  the justices responsible for the division of Fawley, Hants.      pp. 342-344

  B. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 189, No. 80 and Vol. 197, No.
  69. Extracts from two reports from the hundred of Braughing concerning
  proceedings from Feb. 7th 1630/1 to June 27th, 1631      pp. 344-351

  C. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 190, No. 10. Part of the Report
  of Bridewell, 2nd May 1631      pp. 351-356

  D. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 191, No. 42. Report concerning
  Guildford, 7th May 1631      pp. 357-358

  E. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 216, No. 45. Report of the
  justices of Cambridge for the Hundreds of Chesterton, Papworth and
  North Stow, May 13, 1632      pp. 358-360

  F. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 226, No. 78. Part of the
  certificate of the justices of Middlesex for the Finsbury division
  concerning the sums received from penalties levied on alehouse keepers
  in 1630, 1631, 1632      pp. 360-361

  G. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 349, No. 86. Part of the
  certificate from Bassetlaw, co. Notts., 10th March 1636/7      pp. 361-365

  H. _Dom. State Papers Chas. I._, Vol. 395, No. 55. Certificate
  concerning the Book of Orders from Loes, Wilford, Thredling and
  Plomesgate, 14 July 1638      pp. 365-366

  APPENDIX XIII. The division of the monies collected for the poor
  January 1642/3 in Norwich. _Add MSS. Brit. Mus._ No. 22619, f. 11
        pp. 367-368

  APPENDIX XIV. Report of the Four Royal Hospitals, 1645. _King's
  Pamphlets_ 669, f. 10, No. 2      pp. 369-370

  APPENDIX XV. Ordinance of the Lords for putting in execution the laws
  for the relief of the poor. _King's Pamphlets_ 669, f. 9, No. 81
        p. 371


P. 50, n. 4. _For_ Amysbury _read_ Amesbury, _for_ Boscum _read_
Boscombe, _for_ Alyngton _read_ Allington and _for_ Fiddelldene _read_

P. 102, n. 1, p. 106, n. 2, p. 142, n. 3 _for_ Maiores Booke for the
Poore _read_ Maioris Bocke for the Pore.

P. 118, l. 18. _For_ Twiford _read_ Twyford.

P. 168, l. 10. _For_ Arkesey _read_ Arksey.

P. 169, n. 3. _For_ Dewisburie _read_ Dewsbury, _for_ Shelfe _read_
Shelf, and _for_ Northowrom _read_ Northowram.

P. 170, n. 2. _For_ Thirske _read_ Thirsk.

P. 173, l. 22. _For_ Fropfield _read_ Froxfield.

P. 214, n. 2. _For_ Easbie _read_ Easby.

NOTE. P. 141, n. 1. The decision of Lord Romer was reversed by the
Court of Appeal on March 7th, 1900; it was decided that the Guardians
were not entitled to relieve the colliers during a strike.




  1. Anglo-Saxon times.
  2. The Labour Statutes.
  3. The regulation of charitable funds by the state.
  4. The control of charitable funds by the towns.
  5. Summary of the main features of public control of poor relief
before the sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: Introduction.]

The English system of Poor Relief presents a striking contrast to the
rest of our national institutions. In most departments of our social
organisation, public control is less extensive in England than in the
other countries of Western Europe. But, in regard to the relief of the
poor, we have adopted an opposite policy. Since the reign of Charles
I., Englishmen have made themselves responsible for the maintenance of
those who are destitute. All, who cannot obtain food or shelter for
themselves or from their nearest relatives, have a right to relief from
compulsory rates levied upon the rest of the community.

It will be our object, in the following pages, to trace the growth
of this system. We will examine the causes which led the public
authorities of state and town to control the relief of the poor, and
the steps which they took to render its administration effective and
successful. There can be no doubt, that an organisation of this kind
was not suddenly imposed by a single Act of Parliament. Under Henry
VIII., the first enactment was passed ordering the regular collection
and distribution of alms for the relief of the poor[1], but it was not
until forty years later that the amount to be paid by each individual
was assessed and its payment compulsorily enforced[2], while even
after ninety years had elapsed, the English organisation of poor
relief was still irregularly carried out and of little practical
effect[3]. Like other and more famous English institutions, the
making and administration of the English Poor Law was a growth, not a
creation. It was during the sixteenth and early part of the seventeenth
centuries that the chief experiments were made in methods of relieving
the poor by secular public authorities. But, even before that time,
the beginnings of the later organisation may be traced both in the
provisions of the statutes and in the regulations of the towns.

[1] 27 Hen. VIII. c. 25, 1535-6.

[2] 14 Eliz. c. 5, 1572.

[3] Preamble to Orders and Directions of 1631.

[Sidenote: 1. Anglo-Saxon times.]

We will now briefly consider the chief ways in which public secular
authorities interfered in the relief of the poor before the sixteenth
century. In Anglo-Saxon times, the administration of poor relief
was almost entirely under the control of the Church. Almsgiving and
hospitality were however inculcated as religious duties of considerable
importance, and there is much to make us think that they were
extensively practised by Anglo-Saxon kings and noblemen. Bede tells
the following story of King Oswald. He was about to dine sumptuously
from a silver dish of dainties one Easter day, when the servant who
distributed relief to the poor came before him, and told him that there
were many needy persons outside the gate, who were begging some alms
of the king. The king left the dish untasted and ordered the contents
to be carried to the beggars[4]. This story incidentally lets us see
that a distribution of alms and a special servant for the purpose were
part of the regular organisation of the household. King Alfred also, we
are told, "bestowed alms and largesses on both natives and foreigners
of all countries[5]," and it was the custom of the Anglo-Saxon kings
to keep open house for several days and to entertain all comers three
times a year, at Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide.

[4] Bede's _Eccles. Hist._, Bk. III. c. VI. King Athelstan ordered the
distribution of much help to the poor. He ordered each of his reeves
every year to redeem one "wite theow" (penal slave) and to entirely
feed one poor Englishman. Thorpe, p. 84.

[5] Asser, Bohn, p. 68.

But the greater part of the relief of the time was administered by
ecclesiastics. Some help was given to the poor in famous abbeys
like those of Ely, Croyland and Glastonbury[6], and there were the
offerings distributed by the priests. The nearest approach we have to
state interference with the relief of the poor is found in the law of
Ethelred, which probably enforced the existing custom with regard to
tithe. One third part "of the tithe which belonged to the Church" was
to be given to "Gods poor and needy men in thraldom[7]."

[6] Athelstan the Atheling gave lands to Ely on condition that they
fed a hundred poor men on his anniversary at the expense of his heirs.
Kemble, _The Saxons in England_, II. p. 510.

[7] _Ib._ p. 545. Eadgar, Archbishop of York, and Aelfric in the canons
which bear his name both order the same proportion of tithe to be set
aside for the poor. Thorpe, pp. 326 and 345.

But, from the beginning of the thirteenth century, we find greater
activity in the matter. Two causes seem to have influenced the secular
public authorities of the time to interfere; first, the desire to
repress vagrants, and secondly, the wish of state and town to control
some of the charitable endowments.

[Sidenote: 2. Labour statutes.]

Many of the regulations, made with the object of repressing vagrants
and able-bodied beggars, were closely connected with the statutes
concerning labour, enacted from the middle of the fourteenth century

After the Black Death of 1348-9, labourers were scarce and wages rose
rapidly; a series of enactments was therefore passed, designed to force
every able-bodied man to work, and to keep wages at the old level.

In the first regulation of this kind, the Ordinance of Labourers of
1349, the first step is taken towards the national control of poor
relief. The proclamation restrains the liberty of the giver; the
private individual may no longer give to whom he chooses. It is
provided that no one is to give relief to able-bodied beggars, and the
ground of the prohibition is expressly stated to be "that they may be
compelled to labour for their necessary living."

The first provision of funds for the relief of the poor made by law,
is embodied in one of the same series of labour statutes. The wages
of priests were regulated and it was ordered that the fines of those
parishioners who paid more than the statutory rate, should be given to
the poor[8].

[8] 36 Edw. III. c. 8.

Almost as soon as these labour statutes were passed, we hear that
labourers fled from county to county in order to elude the operation
of the law[9]. The workmen adopted many devices, in order to escape
from any part of the country where these regulations were enforced.
Some seem to have pretended to be crippled and diseased, and so, when
undetected, could wander and beg with impunity. Others, apparently,
joined bands of pilgrims, like the famous travellers from the Tabard to
Canterbury, and, journeying with them, would reach a district, where
they could obtain good wages and be undisturbed by the execution of the
labour laws. In 1388, therefore, regulations were made, restricting the
movements, not only of able-bodied beggars, but of all beggars and of
all labourers and, at the same time, admitting the right to relief of
those who were unable to work for themselves[10]. Servants who wished
to depart from the hundred in which they lived, under colour of going
a pilgrimage, or in order to serve or dwell elsewhere, were to have
a letter, stating the cause of their journey and the time when they
were to return, duly signed by the "good man of the hundred" appointed
for the purpose. If they were found away from their district, without
a letter of this kind, they were to be placed in the stocks and kept
there, until they found surety to return to their own neighbourhood.
However, a servant who had a certain engagement with a master in
another part of the country, was always to be allowed to have a
letter, allowing him freely to depart. Thus the statute prevented a
man from wandering about in search of work, but did not prevent him
from migrating, when an engagement was already concluded. All these
regulations affected beggars: an able-bodied beggar who begged without
a letter was to be put in the stocks in the same manner as a labourer
without a letter. He could not escape by pretending that he was a
labourer, because both were liable to punishment. Neither could he
elude the vigilance of the law, by pretending to be disabled, because
the impotent poor also were forbidden to wander; they were to stay
where they were at the passing of the Act, or, if the people there were
unable to support them, were to go, within forty days, to other towns
in the same hundred or to the place where they were born.

[9] _Rolls of Parliament_, 46 Edw. III. II. p. 312. Petition of the

[10] 12 Richard II. c. 3 and c. 7.

This statute is often regarded as the first English poor law, because
it recognises that the impotent poor had a right to relief, and because
it carefully distinguishes between them and the able-bodied beggars.
The provisions also imply the responsibility of every neighbourhood for
the support of its own poor. Moreover, this enactment may be regarded
as a law of settlement. Not only were the impotent poor confined
to their own district, but all unlicensed labourers were likewise
forbidden to migrate. Probably the Act had little effect because it was
too stringent to have been enforced.

Not only Parliament, but the municipal rulers also, made regulations
for the restraint of vagabonds. The authorities of the City of London,
in 1359 and in 1375, forbade any able-bodied person to beg, and at the
end of the fifteenth century the constables were ordered to search,
not only for the vagabonds themselves, but also for the people who
harboured them[11].

[11] Riley's _Memorials of London_, pp. 304, 390.

Two statutes relating to beggars and vagabonds were passed in the reign
of Henry VII.[12], but in both the severity of the punishment was
decreased, because the king wished by "softer meanes" to reduce them
to obedience. The decrease in the severity of this punishment seems to
show that there was as yet little sign of the crowds of vagrants, who
were a terror to the country under Henry VIII. So far the wanderers
were men who had no difficulty in obtaining work, but who wanted
better terms. Under Henry VIII. they include also unemployed labourers,
and the legislation dealing with them concerns the provision of work
for the able-bodied as well as assistance for the impotent poor; still
the regulations concerning vagrants were already connected with the
relief of the poor because the efforts made to keep at work the valiant
beggars had made it necessary to distinguish between them and the old
and disabled, and had led to some provision being made for those really
unable to help themselves.

[12] 11 Hen. VII. c. 2, 19 Hen. VII. c. 12.

[Sidenote: 3. Control of charitable endowments by the State.]

But there was another cause for the public regulation of the relief of
the necessitous. From the thirteenth century onwards there are signs
that men had ceased to leave charitable endowments entirely in the
hands of ecclesiastics. A growing desire was felt, that Parliament and
Town Governments should share in the administration of some of the
funds for the relief of the poor.

We find indications of this both in the statutes and in the action
of the burgesses. Almost at the same time that the statute of 1388
ordered beggars to remain in their own neighbourhood, another statute
of Richard II. was passed which regulated the revenues of the Church
in the interests of the poor. A portion of the tithe had been commonly
distributed by the resident rector to the poor[13], but, when a living
became part of the possessions of a monastery, the poor parishioners
were often forgotten. In order therefore that the parishioners might
not be injured, this enactment provided that when the revenues of a
living were appropriated by a monastery, a portion of the revenue
should be assigned to the poor, so that they might not lose the
alms formerly distributed by the rectors[14]. Under Henry IV. this
statute was re-enacted, and it was ordered that appropriations made
since the 15 Rich. II. should be reformed[15]. The earlier statute
had thus probably not been well observed: the second was apparently
more successful, for in _The Complaynt of Roderyck Mors_, written in
1542, it is stated that "if the personage were improperd, the monkes
were bound to deale almesse to the poore and to kepe hospitalyte as
the writings of the gyftes of such personages and landes do playnly
declare[16]." In any case this legislation indicates a desire on the
part of the state to interfere, in order to reform the administration
of ecclesiastical revenues in the interest of the poor.

[13] The following incident in the reign of Edward II. shows us the
bishop interfering in order to enforce the distribution to the poor
of part of the revenue of a church. Richard, Bishop of Durham, in
the course of the visitation of his diocese, came to the parish of
Wessington. The people there complained that hospitality was not shown
by the Church and that alms were not given to the poor. The bishop
therefore ordered that a portion of the revenue should be given to the
poor, and especially set aside the tithes of the new assarts of Sir
Walter de Wessington for this purpose. _Hist. Man. Com._, MSS. of J. R.
Ormsby, Esq., 1020 B. The statutes of Richard II. and Henry IV. seem to
have aimed at doing exactly what the Bishop did at Wessington, whenever
a living was impropriated by a monastery.

[14] 15 Rich. II. c. 6.

[15] 4 Hen. IV. c. 12.

[16] _The Complaynt of Roderyck Mors_, E. E. T. S., p. 33.

[Sidenote: 4. Control of charitable endowments by the town.]

In the towns also, the civic governors and the guilds began to control
some of the endowments for the relief of the poor. Even in Anglo-Saxon
times, the distribution of alms formed part of the functions of the
guilds, and it is not unlikely that it was partly owing to customs
formed by the municipal rulers through their association in guilds
that the towns began to take an active part in the administration of
poor relief. Thus at Lynn, one of the ordinances of the town guild
provided that relief should be given to any brother in poverty,
either from the common fund or from the private purses of the guild
brothers. A piece of land was bequeathed to the guild, partly for
the purpose of relieving the poor, and, we are told, £30 a year was
distributed to the poor brethren, to blind, lame and sick persons,
and for other charitable purposes. The whole charity distributed by
this association must have been considerable, for though only four
great meetings of the guild were held during the year, one of these
was especially concerned with the management of its charities[17]. At
Sandwich also[18], the burgesses or the town rulers controlled the two
hospitals dedicated respectively to St Bartholomew and St John. Both
were virtually almshouses providing for a certain number of old people.
The Mayor and Jurats of Sandwich, not only appointed the governors of
St Bartholomew's, but audited the accounts, controlled the management
and appointed new recipients of the charity. The whole was connected
with an annual festal procession to the hospital in which many of the
townsfolk took part[19].

[17] C. Gross, _The Gild Merchant_, vol. II. pp. 159-161.

[18] Boy's _History of Sandwich_, pp. 3 and 127. The references to this
and several of the following examples of municipal action are quoted by
Mrs Green, _Town Life in the Fifteenth Century_, vol. I. p. 41, note 2.

[19] In Hereford also, St Giles' and the Sick Man's hospital were
governed by the Corporation from the time of Rich. II. (_Reports of
Char. Com._), and in Exeter, the town rulers at one time exercised
rights over St Mary Magdalen's hospital, and afterwards exchanged these
for power over St John's hospital for lepers. Freeman's _Exeter_, pp.
68, 174, etc.

At other times, the municipalities, not only exercised control over
institutions founded by private people, but also themselves contributed
to the endowments. At Scarborough, Henry de Bulmer gave a site for St
Thomas hospital which was finished and endowed by the burgesses[20]. At
Chester the town gave land, on condition that certain almshouses were
built[21]; and Ipswich in 1469 granted the profits of St James' fair
to the lazars[22]. At Lydd, sums were given for "Goderynges dowghetyr,
pour mayde, for hosyne, shoys and other thyngses" and payments were
made for her clothes and keep on several occasions[23]. In this town
also gifts of corn were regularly distributed at Easter and Christmas
from 1439 onwards[24]. In most of the great towns the Chamberlain
was the especial guardian of orphans[25], and sometimes there was a
Court of Orphans in which matters affecting the property of orphans
were managed. The arrangement rather concerned orphans with property,
than the poor, but still it shows that the municipality recognised a
responsibility with regard to a helpless class of the community.

[20] Tanner's _Notitia_, Yorkshire, CVI. The burgesses of Scarborough
are said to have founded and maintained another hospital, dedicated to
St Nicholas, and in both poor men and women were maintained.

[21] _Hist. Man. Com._, Rep. VIII. p. 371. 24 Hen. VII.

[22] Nathaniell Bacon's _Annalls of Ipswiche_, p. 129. In Rye also
payments were made to the poor from municipal funds as early as 1474.
_Hist. Man. Com._ V. p. 494.

[23] _Hist. Man. Com._ V. 527. In 1482-3, 3_s._ 4_d._ was paid to
Thomas Maykyne "to kepe Goderyng's doughtyr," and in 1485 there is
another entry of the same kind, "Paid for a kertylcloth for Herry
Goderyng's doughtyr and for making thereof, 3_s._ 1_d._"

[24] Payments in connection with this distribution of corn continue to
be mentioned, down to the end of an account book containing municipal
accounts from the beginning of the fifteenth century until the reign of
Richard III. _Hist. Man. Com._ V. 519.

[25] London had a regular Court of Orphans: see also _Southampton_,
John S. Davies, p. 159, and _Exeter_, Freeman, p. 154.

The municipal authorities at Southampton, however, undertook much more
extensive measures for preventing want, and it is interesting to notice
that this action was very probably undertaken in consequence of the
customs of the ruling guild. In ordinances at least as early as the
fourteenth century forfeits and alms were awarded to the poor, and
members were to be assisted when in poverty. In the fifteenth century
"the townys almys were settled on a plan," and lists were kept of the
weekly payments. The Steward's book of 1441 states that the town gave
weekly to the poor £4. 2_s._ 1_d._ which, according to the value of
money at the time, might have furnished relief for about one hundred
and fifty people[26].

[26] John S. Davies, _Southampton_, pp. 139, 294, and C. Gross, _The
Gild Merchant_, vol. II. p. 231.

[Sidenote: 5. Summary.]

Thus, before the sixteenth century, state and town had begun to make
regulations for the relief of the poor. Some of these regulations were
dictated by a desire to repress vagrants. They were closely connected
with the enforcement of the labour legislation of the time, and were
embodied in the same statutes, and administered by the same officials.
But other provisions were due to the fact that there was a growing
tendency for the state to interfere to prevent the maladministration
of ecclesiastical revenues, and for non-ecclesiastical bodies to
undertake the administration of charity. Still, before the sixteenth
century, most of these measures were negative rather than positive. The
orders concerning the repression of sturdy beggars were more prominent
than those concerning the relief of the poor. The latter were as yet
infrequent and had little practical effect. The main part of the
charity of the time was still administered by ecclesiastics and was
obtained from endowed charities and from voluntary gifts.

But, in the sixteenth century, the older methods of relief failed to
cope with the new social difficulties, and the older feeling in favour
of the ecclesiastical control of charity was considerably lessened.
At the same time, the tendencies that already led to the management
of relief by public secular authorities were accentuated. During the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, therefore, the organisation of
poor relief was more and more undertaken by municipality and state, and
the English system of poor relief was created and first administered.



  1. Increase of vagrants. (1) Harman's description of vagrants in
England. (2) Bands of vagrants on the Continent.
  2. Reasons why men became beggars. (1) The destruction of the
feudal system destroyed employments furnished by war and service.
(2) Manufactures on a large scale less stable than old occupations.
(3) Rise of prices affected food earlier than wages. (4) In England
enclosures were made because sheep were more profitable than corn.
  3. Old methods of charity. (1) Private individuals. (2) Monasteries.
(3) Hospitals.
  4. Attempts at reorganisation on the Continent.
  5. Three factors in making of English poor relief: (1) the orders of
the towns; (2) the regulations of the statutes; (3) the efforts of the
Privy Council to secure the administration of adequate relief. Three
periods in the history of the first making of the English system: (1)
1514-1569; (2) 1569-1597; (3) 1597-1644.

The earlier years of the sixteenth century began a period of great
changes in the position of the poorer classes, and these changes soon
resulted in a series of attempts to reform and reorganise the whole
system of poor relief.

[Sidenote: 1. Increase of vagrants.]

[Sidenote: (1) Harman's description of the bands of vagrants in England.]

The desire to repress vagrants had already led state and town to make
regulations concerning the relief of the poor, but whereas, before
the sixteenth century, beggars were only an occasional nuisance,
they now became a chronic plague. The great increase in the numbers
of these vagabonds appears to have begun early in the reign of Henry
VIII. Thomas Harman, a gentleman of Kent, in about 1566, wrote an
elaborate description of twenty-three varieties whom he had found
to be in existence[27]. One of his anecdotes shows that they were
already numerous soon after the execution of the Duke of Buckingham in
1521[28]. A man of some importance, he states, died about this time,
and crowds of beggars attended the funeral. Some of them were poor
householders and these returned to their homes at night. But the others
were sheltered in a large barn which, on being searched, was found to
contain seven-score men and at least as many women. The bands of these
wanderers continued to increase, for Harrison, in his _Description of
England_, tells us, "it is not yet full threescore yeares since this
trade began: but how it has prospered since that time it is easie to
judge, for they are now supposed, of one sex and another, to amount to
above 10,000 persons[29]."

[27] Thomas Harman, _Caueat or Warening for Common Cursetors_. The
second edition bears date 1567.

[28] Vagrants were already numerous when Sir Thomas More wrote
_Utopia_, c. 1516.

[29] W. Harrison's _Description of England_, edition of 1587, edited by
F. J. Furnivall, vol. I. p. 218.

Harman's description of this "rowsey ragged rabblement of rakehelles"
shows that some sort of organisation existed amongst them. He prints a
slang dictionary of thieves' language, and states that this had been in
existence for thirty years: he also gives an account of their order of
precedence, thus showing that many degrees of roguery were recognised
by the rogues themselves.

We can see from his account of their pranks, that they were both
cunning and daring, and were often a great hardship to the honest
citizens of the poorer classes.

Not only did they break into houses by night and pilfer the pigs and
the poultry, but they were daring enough to pass a hook through the
windows and draw the clothes off sleeping men; to rob men on the
highway who were travelling home from fairs, and to come by night to
lonely houses and force the owners to deliver up what money they had on
the premises. Harman's tale on this point may illustrate the dangers of
the situation.

One night two rogues went to an inn, and sat down and drank merrily,
offering the pot to those of the company they fancied. Amongst others,
a priest was there, and when he had gone they began to make inquiries
of the hostess concerning him, saying they were nephews of a priest in
this neighbourhood and had not seen him since they were six years old.
She, suspecting no harm, gave them all the information they wanted;
told them the parson kept little company and had but one woman and a
boy in the house. The thieves departed with the intention of robbing so
defenceless a prey, but they found that his house was built of stone
and his windows and doors well fastened. They thought force would avail
little, and therefore tried fraud. One of the rogues, with piteous
moans, asked for relief, and the parson, being moved by his distress,
put his arm out of window to give him twopence. The rascal seized, not
the twopence, but the priest's hand, and his companion secured his
wrist also, so that their victim could not liberate himself at all.
The rogues demanded three pounds and succeeded in obtaining four marks
which was all the poor man had in the house. They bound him, therefore,
also to drink twelve pence next day at the inn and to thank the good
wife for the cheer they had had. The unfortunate parson could only use
"contentacion for his remedy," but he kept his promise, and the hostess
persuaded him to say no more of it "lest when they shal understand of
it in the parish they wyll but laugh you to skorne[30]."

[30] Harman's _Caueat_ (E. E. T. S., Extra Series, No. ix.).

[Sidenote: (2) Vagrants on the Continent.]

This plague of vagrants was not, however, peculiar to England, but
arose about the same time in all the countries of Western Europe. A
book that somewhat resembled Harman's appeared in Germany as early
as 1514[31]; this contained both an account of the different orders
of vagabonds and also a "Canting Dictionary." Martin Luther often
discussed the subject of beggars, and in 1528, wrote a preface to this
very book[32]. In Germany, therefore, the increase in the number of
beggars seems to be even earlier than in England. In Scotland and the
towns of the Netherlands the statutes and town ordinances show us that
the same trouble assailed them about the same time, and France in
1516 was already troubled by large numbers of discharged or wandering

[31] _Liber Vagatorum._ Luther thought that begging ought to be
prohibited altogether and the poor provided for by the inhabitants
or from ecclesiastical revenues. See his manifesto "To the Christian
nobility of the German nation," 1520, and the "Regulation of a Common
Chest" quoted by Ashley, _Economic History_, II. p. 342.

[32] Preface to Harman's _Caueat_, E. E. T. S., p. 1.

[33] More's _Utopia_, p. 36, Pitt Press ed. "Yet Fraunce ... is
troubled and infected with a much sorer plage. The whole royalme is
fylled and besieged with hiered souldiers in peace tyme."

[Sidenote: 2. Causes for the existence of these bands of beggars.]

[Sidenote: (1) The break-up of the feudal system and consequent
lessening of employment in war and service.]

As these bands of vagrants were found in so many countries at once, the
principal causes for their existence cannot be peculiar to England, or
to any one country, but must be common to all the countries affected.
It was closely connected with lack of employment: the difficulty had
been for the masters to find workmen, the problem was now for the men
to find work, and this in spite of the fact that at the beginning
of the sixteenth century commerce and manufactures were rapidly
extending. The age was a time of transition, and old occupations were
becoming unnecessary. The feudal society of the Middle Ages was giving
place to the modern industrial and commercial community. War, public
and private, and service with great nobles had formerly occupied
large numbers of the male population. But the fifteenth century had
witnessed the growth of central authorities strong enough to preserve
order and to control the power of the great lords. In Germany, the
towns were growing in importance and had often become independent of
feudal superiors; in France, Louis XI. had overcome the last serious
opposition of the French barons to the growth of the royal authority,
while in England, the Wars of the Roses and the policy of Henry VII.
had combined to break the power of the English nobility. Order had
given place to disorder, lawsuits had succeeded private wars. The power
of the nobles was no longer maintained by force; they had no longer the
need of many followers to fight their battles. The oft-quoted saying
of the chieftain with reference to the Highlands in the last century
might be applied with little variation to the position of the nobles
under Henry VIII. "When I was a young man the point upon which every
Highland gentleman rested his importance, was the number of men whom
his estate could support, the question next rested on the amount of his
stock of black cattle, it is now come to respect the number of sheep
and I suppose our posterity will inquire how many rats and mice an
estate will produce[34]." Power in the Highlands then, and in England
at the beginning of the sixteenth century, passed from the leaders of
men to the holders of wealth. This revolution in the basis of power
had a considerable effect upon the labour market. The chief occupation
of the Middle Ages had become unnecessary; men whom the nobles had
formerly been glad to enlist had now to seek other means of earning a
livelihood. Moreover, the employment which had now disappeared was one
which especially afforded an outlet for men of restless character, the
kind of people who under adverse conditions became the sturdy vagabonds
of the sixteenth century. Sir Thomas More expressly states that the
English thieves of the time were often discharged retainers[35], and
many of the later idlers would doubtless be men who would have followed
this occupation, if it had been open to them before they took to their
wandering life.

[34] _Tales of a Grandfather_, last chapter, Sir W. Scott.

[35] _Utopia_, p. 30, "They that be thus destitute of service, either
starve for honger or manfullye playe the thieves."

[Sidenote: (2) Manufactures on a large scale less stable than old

No doubt the growing commerce and manufactures afforded employment in
course of time to many more than those now displaced by the decrease
of private and public war, but this very increase of manufacturing
industry had effects of its own in increasing the numbers of the
unemployed. In the first place, the peaceful life of the craftsman was
favourable to the growth of population, and in the second place, the
new occupations were less stable than the old industries had been.
The simple manufactures necessary for the home market varied little;
in bad times the craftsman might get a little less work, but he was
not thrown utterly out of employment. But after great manufacturing
centres came into existence and their produce began to be exported to
other lands, the inhabitants of whole districts would have little or no
work through no fault of their own. The great English manufacture of
the time was cloth, and crises in this trade occurred both when Wolsey
wanted to make war on the Netherlands and when the merchants wished to
prevent the exactions of Charles I. We shall see that the misery of the
inhabitants in the English cloth-making districts had much to do with
stimulating the growth of an administrative system for poor relief.

[Sidenote: (3) Rise of prices affecting food earlier than wages.]

Later on in the sixteenth century, another cause tended to increase
the hardships of the poor, and so necessitated new methods of poor
relief. The influx of silver from the New World caused a general rise
of prices. Food and clothing and rents rose more quickly than wages, so
that the poor could obtain fewer of the necessaries of life[36]. The
debasements of the English coinage, by Henry VIII. in 1527, 1543, 1545
and 1546, and by Edward VI. in 1551, still further increased this evil
in England, and during the transition the poorer classes must have been
the chief sufferers.

[36] Between 1511 and 1550 provisions seem to have risen about 60 p.c.
in price, and there is a further rise in the next ten years of another
fifty p.c.

              Wheat the
               quarter.      Barley.      Oxen.      Hens.    Herrings.

              _s._ _d._     _s._ _d._    _s._ _d._   _d._     _s._ _d._

  1511-1520    6    8¾       4   0¼       23    2     2        6    0¾

  1521-1530    7    6        4   9        30   10¼    3½       6    7¼

  1531-1540    7   8½        4   11¾      28    7½    3¼       6    8

  1541-1550   10   8         6   2¼       42    3¼    5¾      10    3

  1551-1560   15   3¾       10   0¼       78    7½    4¾      11    0½

The rise in wages was barely 15 p.c. before 1550, though during the
next ten years there is a rise of 30 p.c., so that the rise in wages is
less than half that in the price of provisions.

             Carpenter,            Mason's  Sawyers,                                     Unskilled
              average.   Mason.  labourer.   pair.    Tiler.  Thatcher.  Man.  Plumber.   labour.

                _d._      _d._      _d._   _s._ _d._   _d._      _d._    _d._    _d._      _d._

  1511-1520      6¼     6         4      1    0      6         5¼   4       6         3¾

  1521-1530      6         6¼     4¼  1    0½  6         6       4       6½     4⅛

  1531-1540      7         6¾     4¼  1    0½  6½     7       4½   7         4

  1541-1550      7         6¾     4¾  1    1½  7½     6½   4½   7½     4⅝

  1551-1560     10¾    10         6¾  1    5      9¼      --     6¼   8½     6

  _Hist. of Agric. and Prices_, vol. IV. pp. 292, 355, 545, and 524.

The effects following the break-up of the feudal system, the increase
of manufactures, and the rise of prices owing to the influx of silver
were in no way peculiar to England: they account quite as much for the
bands of vagrants on the Continent as for those of this country.

[Sidenote: (4) In England sheep were more profitable than corn.]

But one cause of distress affected England more than the other
countries of Europe. It had become more profitable to breed sheep than
to plough the land, and England was the great wool-producing country of
the world. Men, who had cultivated the soil, were evicted in order that
sheep-runs might be formed, and thus agricultural labourers and small
yeomen helped to swell the crowds of the unemployed.

[Sidenote: 3. Old methods of charity:]

The existence therefore of the crowd of vagrants can be accounted for
by the social and economic changes of the time, but it was none the
less dangerous on that account. The public authorities of state and
town began, early in the century, to make more frequent orders for
their repression, but it was soon clear that these orders could not be
effectual unless the relief of the poor were better organised.

[Sidenote: (1) Private individuals.]

For the most part charity was administered still either by private
individuals or ecclesiastical officials. We can form some idea of the
methods of private donors from Harman's description of Elizabeth,
Countess of Shrewsbury, to whom he dedicates his book. In his address
to her he says, he knows well her "tender, pytyfull, gentle and noble
nature; not onelye havinge a vygelant and mercifull eye to your poore,
indygente and feable parishnores; yea, not onely in the parishe where
your honour moste happely doth dwell, but also in others invyroninge
or nighe adioyning to the same; as also aboundantly powringe out
dayely your ardent and bountifull charytie upon all such as commeth
for reliefe unto your luckly gates." No wonder the writer thought it
was his "good necessary" and "bounden duty" to acquaint her with the
"abhominable wycked and detestable behavor" of some of those rogues who
"wyly wander, to the utter deludinge of the good gevers, decevinge and
impoverishinge of all such poore householders, both sicke and sore, as
neither can or maye walke abroad for reliefe and comfort, where, in
dede, most mercy is to be shewed[37]."

[37] Epistle to the _Caveat for Commen Cursetors_, pp. 19, 20.

Stow tells us, that he had himself seen two hundred people fed at
Cromwell's gate, twice every day, with bread, meat, and drink, "for
he observed that ancient and charitable custom, as all prelates,
noblemen or men of honour and worship, his predecessors had done
before him[38]." This open-handed hospitality thus seems to have been
the custom of the time, and if exercised, without discrimination and
supervision, would tend to foster the increase of idle beggars and do
little to lessen the hardships of the industrious poor.

[38] Stow's _Survey_, ed. Thoms, p. 34. Quoted in W. J. Ashley's
_Economic Hist._ II. p. 329.

[Sidenote: (2) Monasteries.]

The methods of distributing charity employed in the monasteries were
little better. It is true that the services rendered by the monks
and nuns to education were considerable, and that a number of old
people and children were maintained in some of the religious houses.
Lodging also was given to wayfarers, and thus a very useful function
was fulfilled in countries where there were few inns and no casual
wards. But much of the relief given to the poor by the monks seems to
have been distributed in a similar manner to that of the Countess of
Shrewsbury. Alms were given to the poor at the gates: many testators
had left money to be distributed in small doles at certain stated
periods. Moreover the relief given at different monasteries was not
coordinated in any way. The members of each institution gave their
alms in their own way without any reference to the gifts of their
neighbours. Besides, monks were not primarily intended to be relieving
officers, and were not placed where they would be most useful for that
purpose; there might be many in one neighbourhood and few or none
in another. The charity distributed by the monks therefore was to a
great extent unorganised and indiscriminate and did nearly as much to
increase beggars as to relieve them[39].

[39] The monks were also probably poorer at the beginning of the
sixteenth century than they had been in times past, and were so less
able to give relief. Father Gasquet quotes several cases in which the
revenues of the monasteries had been diminished by the demands made
upon them by those in power. He quotes a letter from the son of the
Duke of Buckingham, showing that in some cases they seem to have been
expected to provide free board and lodging for the poor relations of
wealthy families. "And because," the writer says, "he hath no dwelling
place meet for him to inhabit (he was) fain to live poorly at board in
an Abbey this four years day with his wife and seven children." _Henry
VIII. and the English Monasteries_, Gasquet, I. p. 34 n. See also p.
29. The revenues of the monastic bodies also largely consisted of
payments of fixed amounts, and would be unfavourably affected by the
rise in prices, which was especially great after the alteration of the
coinage in 1527.

[Sidenote: (3) Hospitals.]

But besides the monasteries there were hospitals. The term hospital
was by no means confined to institutions for relieving the sick, but
almshouses, orphanages and training homes were often called by this
name. St Thomas's Hospital may be taken as a typical institution of the
kind[40]. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but, early in the
thirteenth century, it was destroyed by fire, and in 1228 was rebuilt
on much the same site as that occupied by the St Thomas's Hospital of
our own time. In 1323 the brethren were ordered to follow the rule
of St Augustine, that is they were to take the vows of obedience
and chastity, and to renounce individual property. The hospital
consisted of Master, brethren, and sisters, and in the poet Gower's
time there were also nurses, for he left bequests to the Master,
brethren, sisters, and nurses, and asked from each their prayers. But,
although the rule of St Augustine and the prayers for the benefactors
belonged to the old order of things, the relief given to the poor was
essentially the same from the time of Henry III. to that of Queen
Victoria. It was founded for the relief and cure of poor people, and
in 1535 there were forty beds for the poor, and food and firing were
provided for them. Three years later it was surrendered into the hands
of Henry VIII., and under his successor was reconstituted mainly on the
old lines, but on a very much larger scale.

[40] W. Rendle, _St Thomas's Hospital_. The information in this paper
is derived from the Cartulary of S. Thomas, Stow MSS. 942.

There were however several drawbacks to the hospitals as institutions
for the relief of the poor. There was little security that the funds
were well administered or that the appointments were impartially made.
The king himself seems to have tried to exercise undue influence even
in the case of St Thomas's Hospital: in 1528 he pressed Wolsey to give
the Mastership to his chaplain, who, he said, was not learned enough
for the king. There were however worse abuses than this, and even as
early as the time of Henry V. it was necessary to pass a statute to
prevent the maladministration of hospital funds[41]. Moreover at best
the hospitals were only isolated centres of charity; they were not
numerous enough to deal with poverty as a whole, and they were not
connected with each other. The officials of each hospital acted on
their own responsibility and afforded much or little relief to the poor
of their immediate neighbourhood, but were almost as powerless as a
private individual to check the general evil.

[41] 2 Hen. V. Stat. I. c. 1. In the _Complaynt of Roderyck Mors_ the
writer asserts the existence of a similar evil: "I heare that the
masters of your hospytals be so fatt that the poore be kept leane and
bare inough," p. 52. Edition of E. E. T. S.

[Sidenote: 4. Attempts at Reorganisation.]

The charitable endowments of the Continent were as inefficient as
those of England, and both in England and abroad we find that attempts
were made to organise a public system of poor relief in order that
the honest poor might be relieved, and the bands of vagrants justly
punished and repressed. Prof. Ashley has sketched the early history
of poor relief on the Continent. He shows that, as early as 1522, the
German towns of Augsburg and Nuremburg endeavoured to regulate the
administration of charity in order to repress beggars, and that in
1525 the townsmen of Ypres reorganised their charitable institutions
on a general plan and subjected the whole to public management with
the approval of the ecclesiastical authorities. This organisation of
Ypres was submitted to the judgment of the Sorbonne and, with some
limitations, the principles involved were approved[42]. It is thus
clear that the necessity of reforming the administration of charity
was felt even in districts which were hostile to the Reformation, and
in countries where the Reformers were in power the old charitable
endowments were often seized by the public authorities, who by so doing
placed themselves under greater obligations to provide for the poor.

[42] Ashley, _Economic Hist._, vol. II. pp. 346, 347.

In England we find that the course of events is similar. The citizens
of London, before 1518, began to draw up orders with the object of
repressing vagrants and controlling charity, but after the dissolution
of the monasteries they found it necessary to refound and reorganise
the greater part of the existing system of relief. From that time until
the reign of Charles I. constant efforts were made to create and to
administer an efficient system of poor relief under public management.
In the reign of Charles I., and not until then, were the efforts
successful, and the English organisation is then seen to be almost[43]
the only successful survivor of the many schemes of the same kind which
had been tried in Western Europe.

[43] There was a successful system of poor relief in Holland.

[Sidenote: 5. (a) Three factors in the making of English poor relief.]

There were in England three principal factors in the development of
the system; first the orders of the municipal governors, secondly the
regulations of Parliament, and lastly the efforts made by the Privy
Council to induce the justices of the peace to put the law in execution.

[Sidenote: 5. (b) Three periods.]

These three factors help to create the English system of poor relief
from the reign of Henry VIII. to that of Charles I. But they are not of
the same relative importance throughout the whole period. Before 1569
the orders of the municipal governments are important, between 1569 and
1597 the history of legislation is more prominent, while after 1597 the
orders directed by the Privy Council to the justices become the most
powerful force in securing proper administration, and are therefore the
predominant factor in the development of the whole system.

We will consider each of these periods in turn and we shall find that,
while each contributed its share to the making of the English system
of poor relief, it was only during the last that the success of the
organisation was assured.




  1. Importance of municipal government in Tudor towns.
  2. London Regulations for a constant supply of corn. 1391-1569.
  3. Regulations for the repression of vagrants and the relief of the
poor. 1514-1536.
  4. Refoundation of St Bartholomew's and imposition of a compulsory
poor rate. 1536-1547.
  5. Completion of the Four Royal Hospitals and establishment of a
municipal system of poor relief in London. 1547-1557.
  6. Failure of the municipal system in London.
  7. Provision of corn in Bristol and Canterbury.
  8. Lincoln. Survey of poor and arrangements for finding work for the
  9. Ipswich. Survey of poor, imposition of compulsory poor rate and
foundation of Christ's Hospital.
  10. Cambridge. Survey of poor and assessment of parishioners.
  11. Summary.

We have seen that the social changes of the beginning of the sixteenth
century led to a great increase in the number of vagrants; and that
men were then more ready to substitute secular for ecclesiastical
control in matters concerning the poor. Town Council, Privy Council
and Parliament all endeavour to organise and supervise new methods
of charity; and, by the combined efforts of all three, a new system
of poor relief was gradually created. The earlier efforts in this
direction were made between 1514 and 1569; and Town Councils were then
more active than Parliament or Privy Council.

[Sidenote: 1. Importance of municipal government in Tudor times.]

It is difficult now to realise the independent position of the town
governors of Tudor times, and the authority possessed by them of
regulating their own affairs. They imposed taxes without the authority
of Parliament; uncontrolled, they could expel new comers from their
borders; and they were fertile in the device of new punishments to
drive the sturdy vagabond to honest labour. Each town was a law unto
itself. Some municipal rulers made few experiments in this direction;
others built hospitals for the old, and training homes for the young;
invented punishments for the vagrants, and collected funds for the
relief and discipline of all who were unable to support themselves.
Many of the more successful orders, enforced in particular towns, were
afterwards embodied by Parliament in statutes applying to the whole
country. In the period from 1514 to 1569, the municipal regulations
concerning these matters suggest the provisions of the statutes, more
often than the provisions of the statutes suggest the regulations of
the towns. Between 1514 and 1569 we will therefore examine, first, the
action taken by the municipal authorities to improve and regulate the
condition of sturdy vagabonds, unemployed workmen, poor householders,
impotent beggars and neglected children: we will then consider the
efforts made by the Privy Council for the same ends and the laws passed
by Parliament with regard to the relief of the poor.

As London was, in these matters, more vigorous than other towns, we
will examine first in detail the orders adopted there, and we will then
see how far these regulations were typical of those enforced in other

[Sidenote: London. 2. Regulations for a constant supply of corn in
London, 1391-1569.]

Some of the earliest of the London regulations for the help of the
poorer classes concern the supply of corn. Even as early as the reign
of Richard II., efforts had been made by particular Lord Mayors to
bring corn to the City in years of famine. Adam Bamme, Lord Mayor in
1391, "in a great dearth procured corn from parts beyond the seas to
be brought hither in such abundance as sufficed to serve the city and
the counties near adjoining; to the furtherance of which good work he
took out of the orphans' chest in the Guildhall two thousand marks to
buy the said corn, and each alderman laid out twenty pounds to the
like purpose[44]." But as London became more populous, the need of a
constant supply of grain became much more urgent. In September 1520,
therefore, an attempt was made to obtain the necessary funds in a more
regular manner.

[44] Stow's _Survey_, ed. Thoms, p. 41.

The Common Council then resolved that "Forasmoch as great derth and
scarcity of whete hath nowe lately been and more lyke tensue, yf good
and politique provision were not shortly made and hade Therfor in
avoydyng therof, god grauntyng, yt is nowe by auctorite of the Common
Counsell fully agreed and graunted that, in all goodly hast, oon
thousand pound of money shalbe levyed and payed by the felishippes
of sondry misteres and crafts of this citie, by way of a prest and
loone[45]." Each craft was to be assessed for an amount proportionate
to its wealth, and the wardens of each were left free to levy the sum
upon the craftsmen according to their discretion. The funds so obtained
were to be used to purchase corn for the City; this was to be placed in
a public granary and used as a public store.

[45] _Letter Book of the City of London_, N. fol. 142-3. Quoted in
Herbert, _Livery Companies_, I. p. 132. Herbert quotes from the
corresponding entry in the _Journals_, 25 September, 12 Hen. VIII.

If only a small quantity of grain was brought into London by the
ordinary corn dealers, the buyers would bid against one another until
the price of corn became very great. There were no rapid means of
communication and, for a time therefore, grain might be sold at famine
prices and then as suddenly fall in value. In future, whenever this
seemed likely to happen, a precept was to be issued by the Lord Mayor,
ordering a certain quantity of the public store to be brought into the
market. This supply would help to satisfy the more importunate buyers,
and so send down the price to something like the ordinary level.

The public store of the City of London did not however become a
permanent institution until after 1520; on one occasion the authorities
misjudged the market and much of the original loan was lost, after
which there was some difficulty in persuading the Companies to again
advance the necessary capital. However, from this time onwards, corn
was generally bought for the Companies' granaries whenever especial
scarcity was feared, and during the reign of Elizabeth the Companies'
store became a regular institution.

So far as the arrangements made in 1520 are concerned, the poor do not
appear to have obtained corn at a reduced price, but they were the
greatest sufferers when the price of corn was high, and regulations
which had the effect of lessening the price benefited them more than
the other inhabitants of London and were made chiefly in their interest.

[Sidenote: 3. Regulations adopted in London for the repression of
vagrants and relief of the impotent poor, 1514-1518.]

A series of regulations was adopted in London, between 1514 and 1524,
which more directly concerns vagrants and beggars. These regulations
are at first negative rather than positive; they forbid able-bodied
vagrants to beg and they forbid the citizens to give to unlicensed
beggars. Public disgrace formed part of the punishment of offending
vagrants. Vagabonds were to have the letter V. fastened upon their
breasts and were to be "dryven throughoute all Chepe with a basone
rynging afore them[46]." Four surveyors were appointed to carry
out these instructions. They were apparently dressed as grand City
officials, for the Chamberlain paid the Lord Mayor for their sock hosen
"embrodred[47]." Another special officer was admitted to the office
of "Master and cheff avoyder and Keeper owte of this Citie and the
liberties of the same of all the myghty vagabunds and beggars, and all
other suspecte persons, excepte all such as were uppon thym the badge
of this City[48]." In 1524, moreover, a great search was made, and it
was ordered, that the vagabonds "myghty of body" should be "tayed at a
cart's tayle" and "be beten by the Shireff's offycers with whippes in
dyuers places of the Citie." The Chamberlain, also, "shall cause rownde
colers of iron to be made for every of them, havyng the armes of this
Citie uppon them and the same colers to be putt aboute theyr nekks[49]."

[46] _Repertories_, III. f. 164, Sept. 9 Hen. VIII. The Repertories
of the City of London consist of large volumes in manuscript, dating
from 1485. They contain the minutes of the proceedings of the Court of
Aldermen and copies of the orders decided upon by that Court.

[47] _Ib._ III. f. 197.

[48] _Ib._ IV. f. 154 _b_

[49] _Repertories_, IV. f. 215. Oct. 13, 16 Hen. VIII.

Meanwhile other orders of the Court of Aldermen concern the impotent
and aged poor, and at first the City rulers did not become responsible
for the collection of funds, but only for distinguishing between the
really disabled beggars and impostors. Tokens of pure white tin were
provided, which the Aldermen were to give to the impotent poor: all
other beggars were strictly prohibited[50]. These efforts do not differ
in principle from those of former times, but the orders are more
frequent, and the appointment of surveyors and officers indicates that
they were better enforced.

[50] _Ib._ III. f. 174 _b_ and 192, 194. About five hundred tokens were
thus distributed, 18 Feb., 9 Hen. VIII.

[Sidenote: Collection of alms under authority of Aldermen of London.]

Very soon it was seen that this was not enough, because, even if the
disabled beggars were licensed, they were not always sufficiently
relieved. In 1533, therefore, the Aldermen were ordered to depute
persons to gather "the devotions of parishioners for the poor
folk weekly and to distribute them to the poor folk at the church
doors[51]." Thus the municipality began to make itself responsible for
the collection of funds but, at the same time, the system of licensed
beggars was continued, and more brooches were made for the Aldermen to
distribute to such impotent beggars as they allowed.

[51] _Repertories_, VIII. f. 274 _b_.

So far, therefore, the authorities of London had taken measures to
limit relief to the deserving poor, but they had not attempted much
organisation of funds, or attempted to forbid beggars altogether.

[Sidenote: 4. Refoundation of St Bartholomew's Hospital and imposition
of compulsory poor rates in London, 1536-1547.]

But the dissolution of the monasteries made the relief of the poor by
public authority a much more urgent matter. Stow gives a list of 15
hospitals and four lazar houses which existed within the City walls in
1536[52]. Eight of these were in danger, including some of the richest
and largest foundations. St Mary's Spittle provided 180 beds for the
poor, while St Thomas's and St Bartholomew's each maintained places for
40 patients. In 1538, therefore, the City authorities made an effort
to save these hospitals. The mayor, Sir Richard Gresham, the aldermen
and the commonalty of the City of London, presented a petition to
Henry VIII., and asked that these three foundations and the new Abbey
on Tower Hill might be preserved, "so that all impotent persones, not
hable to labor shalbe releved by reason of the sayd hospitalls & abbey,
and all sturdy beggers not wylling to lab^r shalbe punisshed, so that
w^t Godd's grace fewe or no persones shalbe seene abrode to begge or
aske almesse."

[52] Stow mentions 20 hospitals altogether. Two, Christ's and
Bridewell, were later foundations, and three other foundations had
already been suppressed by Hen. V. The purpose and fate of the
remaining fifteen, as stated by Stow, are given below. No. 3, 4, 5, 6,
9, 10, 11, 14 were the eight threatened by Hen. VIII., and also No. 13,
until rescued by the Mercers. Stow's _Survey of London_, pp. 183-184,
ed. Thoms, 1876.

         Hospital      |    Founded    |   Purpose    |  Suppressed  |    Refounded
   1. St Mary's,       |               | For lunatics |     Yes      |     Given to
      Barking          |               |              |              |  St Catherine's
                       |               |              |              |
   2. St Anthony's,    |               | Free School  |   Edw. VI.   |       Gone
      Broad Street     |               |              |              |
                       |               |              |              |
   3. St Bartholomew's | Rahere, temp. | Sick people  |  Hen. VIII.  |  By Hen. VIII.
                       |    Hen. I.    |              |              |
                       |               |              |              |
   4. St Giles in      | Matilda, wife |    Lepers    |      "       |
      the Fields       |  of Hen. I.   |              |              |
                       |               |              |              |
   5. St John's of     |               | For defence  |      "       |
      Jerusalem        |               |  of Rhodes   |              |
                       |               |              |              |
   6. St James in      |  By citizens  |   Leprous    |      "       |
      the Fields       |               |   virgins    |              |
                       |               |              |              |
   7. St John's        |   Hen. VII.   |   100 poor   |   Edw. VI.   |     By Mary.
      at Savoy         |               |    people    |              | Barrack, Chas. I.
                       |               |              |              |
   8. St Catherine's   | Matilda, wife |   Master,    |     Not      |
      by the Tower     |  of Stephen,  |  Chaplain,   |  suppressed  |
                       |      and      | 3 brethren,  |              |
                       |  Catherine,   | 3 sisters,   |              |
                       |    wife of    |    and 10    |              |
                       |  Hen. VIII.   | alms-women;  |              |
                       |               |  also dole   |              |
                       |               |              |              |
   9. St Mary's        |               |  100 blind   |  Hen. VIII.  |
      within           |               |    people    |              |
      Cripplegate      |               |              |              |
                       |               |              |              |
  10. St Mary's,       |     Simon     |   Lunatics   |      "       |   Given by Hen.
      Bethlehem        |    Fitzmary   |              |              |   VIII. to the
                       |               |              |              |     citizens
                       |               |              |              |
  11. St Mary's        |     1203      | 180 beds for |  Hen. VIII.  |
      Spittle without  |               |     poor     |     £478     |
      Bishopsgate      |               |              |              |
                       |               |              |              |
  12. St Mary's,       |               | Brotherhood  | Hen. V. and  |  Refounded Edw.
      Rounceval        |               |              | Edw. VI. IV. |   to Edw. VI.
                       |               |              |              |
  13. St Thomas of     |               |  Master and  | Surrendered  | Sold to Mercers
      Acon             |               |   brethren   |  Hen. VIII.  |
                       |               |              |              |
  14. St Thomas in     |     Rich.     | Sick people  |  Hen. VIII.  | By citizens and
      Southwark        |  Whittington  |              |              |     Edw. VI.
                       |               |              |              |
  15. Hospital and     |               |  Almshouse   | Suppressed   | The poor remain
      almshouse,       |               | for 13 poor  |              | and are paid by
      Whittington      |               |   men and    |              |     Mercers
      Coll.            |               |   College    |              |
                       |               |              |              |
  16, 17, 18. Three    |               | all cells of |   Hen. V.    |
      hospitals        |               |   Clugny.    |              |

In the same petition they also ask that the king will give to the
mayor and commonalty the four great churches of the Grey, White,
Black and Augustinian Friars because they state that the remaining
churches "suffyce not to receyve all the people comyng to the sayd
parysshe churches" and the sick crowd in with the healthy to the "great
noysance" of the inhabitants[53]."

[53] _Memoranda of the Royal Hospitals of the City of London_, Appendix
I. pp. 1 and 2.

On the 23rd of June, 1544, the king, to some slight extent, acceded to
their requests and refounded St Bartholomew's Hospital. He agreed to
furnish an endowment of 500 marks a year if the Common Council would do
the same[54]. In 1546 the Common Council therefore bound themselves to
do so, and in December an indenture was drawn up between the City and
the king. The king granted not only St Bartholomew's but also Bethlehem
Hospital, besides the Church of the Grey Friars, which was henceforward
named Christ Church, and the parish church of St Nicholas. The City
agreed to provide 100 beds in St Bartholomew's, which for a time was
called the House of the Poor in Smithfield[55]. In 1547 the king
confirmed his grant by Letters Patent[56].

[54] _Ib._ II. p. 4.

[55] _Ib._ III. p. 8.

[56] _Ib._ IV. p. 8.

But the citizens were at this time very little disposed to give to
the poor. Latimer[57], Lever, and Brinklow all complain of their
want of generosity, and the reasons given for the imposition of the
first compulsory poor rate show that the complaints were well founded.
Collections were made in the London parish churches every Sunday,
but the sum raised was not sufficient to support the poor of even
one hospital. In 1547 (1 Edward VI.), therefore, the Common Council
resolved that the Sunday collections should cease and that instead "the
citizens and inhabitants of the said Citie shall further contrybute &
paye towards the sustentacon & maynteyning & fynding of the said poore
personages the moitie or half deale of one whole fiftene[58]." This
is probably the first time a compulsory tax was levied for the relief
of the poor; the assessment is ordered by the London Common Council
a quarter of a century before Parliament had given authority for the
making of assessments for this object.

[57] "Sermon of the Plough, preached by Latimer, at St Paul's, Jan.
1548/9." "Now what shall we say of these rich citizens of London? What
shall I say of them? Shall I call them proud men of London, malicious
men of London, merciless men of London? No, no, I may not say so;
they will be offended with me then. Yet must I speak. For is there
not reigning in London as much pride, as much covetousness, as much
cruelty, as much oppression and as much superstition as was in Nebo?
Yes, I think, and much more too.... But London was never so ill as it
is now. In times past men were full of pity and compassion, but now
there is no pity; for in London their brother shall die in the streets
for cold, he shall lie sick at the door between stock and stock ... and
perish there for hunger: was there ever more unmercifulness in Nebo? I
think not. In times past, when any rich man died in London they were
wont to help the poor scholars of the Universities with exhibition.
When any man died, they would bequeath great sums of money toward
the relief of the poor. When I was a scholar in Cambridge myself, I
heard very good report of London, and knew many that had relief of the
rich men of London: but now I can hear no such good report, and yet I
inquire of it, and hearken for it; but now charity is waxen cold, none
helpeth the scholar, nor yet the poor."

[58] Journals, XV. f. 325 _b_. See Appendix. The Journals of the City
of London, like the Repertories, are contained in large volumes, in
manuscript. They contain notes of the resolutions passed by the Common
Council, and both copies of precepts sent by the Mayor to the Aldermen,
and of letters written to official personages upon matters decided by
the Common Council.

The half-fifteenth was to support the poor in the hospital for a year;
after that time other methods of raising funds were employed. In 1548,
certain profits belonging to the City were assigned to the fund for the
relief of the poor, and, in addition, the sum of 500 marks, promised
by the Common Council, was assessed upon the different City Companies
according to their importance. The chief companies seemed to have paid
willingly, but some of the smaller companies objected, and the wardens
were ordered in consequence to appear before the Court of Aldermen and
bring their money[59]. On this occasion the companies yielded and the
money was paid, but the incident shows that, as yet, the citizens were
by no means eager to undertake the duty of looking after the poor.

[59] _Repertories_, XII., No. II. f. 52, f. 53 _b_.

The provision for them had been altogether inadequate. "I thinke in
my judgement," writes Brinklow in 1545, "under heaven is not so lytle
provision made for the pore as in London, of so ryche a Citie[60]."
The foundation of St Bartholomew's was not sufficient: in 1550, Lever,
preaching before the king, reiterates the complaints of Brinklow.
"Nowe speakynge in the behalfe of these vile beggars, ... I wyl tell
the(e) that art a noble man, a worshipful man, an honest welthye man,
especially if thou be Maire, Sherif, Alderman, baily, constable or any
such officer, it is to thy great shame afore the worlde, and to thy
utter damnation afore God, to se these begging as thei use to do in
the streates. For there is never a one of these, but he lacketh eyther
thy charitable almes to relieve his neede, orels thy due correction to
punysh his faute.... These sely sols have been neglected throghout al
England and especially in London and Westminster: But now I trust that
a good overseer, a godly Byshop I meane, wyl see that they in these two
cyties, shall have their neede releeved, and their faultes corrected,
to the good ensample of al other tounes and cities[61]."

[60] Brinklow, _The Lamentacyon of a Christen agaynst the Citye of
London for some certayn greate vyces used therin_, p. 91.

[61] Arber's reprints of Lever's _Sermons_, p. 78.

Brinklow and Lever both throw the responsibility for the disorder
upon the citizens and the municipal officers, as if they were then
recognised to be the chief authorities for dealing with the poor.

[Sidenote: 5. Completion of the Four Royal Hospitals and establishment
of a municipal system of poor relief in London.]

Ridley was the "good overseer," who was to amend these faults. In April
1550 he was appointed Bishop of London and, during the next three
years, he endeavoured to place the relief of the poor on a sound
basis. The Lord Mayors of 1551 and 1552, Sir Richard Dobbs and Sir
George Barnes, also took the matter up warmly and, in consequence, a
municipal system was organised and the three royal hospitals of King
Edward's foundation were established.

Negotiations were soon undertaken with regard to St Thomas's Hospital:
the citizens wished to obtain the lands of the hospital for the relief
of the poor. In February 1552 some of their number were appointed to
"travaile" with the king for this purpose, and it was finally agreed
that the citizens should pay £2461. 2_s._ 6_d._ for property worth
about £160 a year, while the king should grant an endowment in addition
of about an equal amount. Thus St Thomas's Hospital was refounded under
municipal management[62].

[62] Supplement to _Memoranda relating to the Royal Hospitals_, p. 7.

At the same time it was reported that St Bartholomew's Hospital had
fallen into decay; the buildings were therefore repaired and the
endowments increased. Christ's Hospital, the present Blue Coat School,
was also founded for fatherless children, on the land of the Grey
Friars formerly granted by Henry VIII. In order to raise the necessary
funds the inhabitants of London were called to their parish churches
and there were addressed in eloquent orations from the Lord Mayor, Sir
Richard Dobbs, and the Aldermen and other "grave citizens." They were
told how much better it would be to take the beggars from the streets
and provide for them in hospitals, and were asked how much they would
contribute weekly towards their relief. Books were drawn up of the
sums promised and delivered by the Mayor to the King's Commissioners,
in order that the king might do his part, and the whole be placed upon
a satisfactory basis[63]. At the same time Ridley had endeavoured to
help the citizens to obtain the royal palace of Bridewell, in order
that a new kind of hospital might be founded, not for the impotent,
but for the training, correction and relief of the able-bodied. He
tried to interest Cecil in his object, and his letter to him is a
curious specimen of the style of a charity letter of the time. "Good
Mr Cecil," he writes, "I must be a suitor unto you in our good Master
Christ's cause; I beseech you be good to him. The matter is, Sir,
alas! he hath lain too long abroad (as you do know) without lodging,
in the streets of London, both hungry, naked and cold. Now, thanks
be to Almighty God! the citizens are willing to refresh him, and to
give him both meat, drink, cloathing and firing: but alas! Sir, they
lack lodging for him. For in some one house, I dare say, they are fain
to lodge three families under one roof. Sir, there is a wide, large,
empty house of the King's Majesty's, called Bridewell, that would
wonderfully well serve to lodge Christ in, if he might find such good
friends in the court to procure in his cause.... Sir, I have promised
my brethren the citizens to move you, because I do take you for one
that feareth God, and would that Christ should lie no more abroad in
the streets[64]."

[63] Stow's _Survey_, edited Thoms, p. 140.

[64] Ridley's _Life of Bishop Ridley_, p. 377.

In a sermon preached by him before Edward in 1552 Ridley spoke much of
the duties and responsibilities of those in high places towards the
weaker classes. After the sermon we are told that the king sent for the
Bishop and asked him what were the measures that he wished undertaken
for the help of the London poor. Ridley asked leave to confer with
the Lord Mayor and citizens of London, and, by them in the same year,
a petition was presented to the Privy Council, showing the manner in
which they hoped to proceed.

This petition stated that amongst the poor of the City the citizens
espied three sorts; the "succourless poor child," the "sick and
impotent," and the "sturdy vagabond." Christ's Hospital was now ready
for the first, and some provision had been made for the second. With
regard to the third class, that of sturdy vagabonds or idle persons,
they considered "that the greatest number of beggars, fallen into
misery by lewd and evil service, by wars, by sickness or other adverse
fortune, have so utterly lost their credit, that though they would show
themselves willing to labour, yet are they so suspected and feared of
all men, that few or none dare or will receive them to work: wherefore
we saw that there could be no means to amend this miserable sort, but
by making some general provision of work, wherewith the willing poor
may be exercised; and whereby the froward, strong and sturdy vagabond
may be compelled to live profitably to the Commonwealth[65]." The poor
to whom the citizens here refer are beggars; the poor householders
who remained at home are not considered. Moreover in describing the
sturdy vagabonds the word beggars is used, thus showing that it was
the mendicant class of whom the citizens were thinking, and that they
so far had little conception of distinguishing between the beggars
and other poor. The citizens go on to say, that the classes of sturdy
beggars they have in their mind are "the child unapt to learning," "the
sore and sick when they be cured," and "such prisoners as are quit at
the sessions." The general provision of work was to be furnished by a
hospital, and it is carefully stated that the occupations there were
to be "profitable to all the King's Majesty's subjects and hurtful to
none." It is interesting to notice how it is proposed to get over the
difficulty of pauper-made goods so far as the merchants were concerned.
Certain citizens in the trade were to give out the raw material to the
unemployed in the hospital. When they were wrought up, they were to
receive back the finished goods and pay the hospital for their labour,
while the stock of raw material was to be renewed. The manufactured
goods would thus be put upon the market by the merchants with the
rest of their stock and not in competition with them. They propose to
exercise such trades as the making of caps and of feather-bed ticks and
the drawing of wire. The "weaker sort" were to be employed in carding,
knitting, and the dyeing of silk; the "fouler sort" in the making of
nails and iron work.

[65] T. Bowen, _Extracts from the Records and Court Books of
Bridewell_, p. 2. Appendix.

Apparently the king and the Privy Council were satisfied with the
plans of the City authorities, for an indenture was drawn up between
the king and the citizens which was afterwards confirmed by the Royal
Letters Patent[66]. Not only were the earlier grants concerning St
Thomas's and Christ's confirmed, but the palace of Bridewell also
was given to the City, in order that provision might be made for the
relief, employment and discipline of sturdy beggars. Bridewell was
not however immediately established but there is a report concerning
St Bartholomew's in 1552, and Christ's and St Thomas's in 1553,
which show that these three then were doing a considerable work. The
pamphlet concerning St Bartholomew's was drawn up because there had
been complaints concerning the expenditure and the partial failure
of the work there[67]. The authorities state that the place was in a
very dilapidated condition when it was received from the king, but
that now, in 1552, one hundred beds were fully maintained; during the
last five years on an average eight hundred persons had been healed,
while one hundred and seventy-two had died. The regular expenses
amounted to nearly eight hundred pounds a year and the regular income
contributed by City and king reached the sum of £666. 13_s._ 4_d._ The
extra expenditure and the deficit were contributed "by the charitie
of certeine merciful citizens." The "biddell" of the hospital was
especially charged to see that there was no abuse of its charity. If
any person, that had been there cured, should counterfeit any "griefe
or disease" or beg within the City, the beadle was to "committ him
to some cage." Thus in 1552 the work of St Bartholomew's had been
settled on a satisfactory basis. In 1553 reports were also drawn up
of Christ's Hospital and St Thomas's[68]. Christ's then contained two
hundred and eighty children[69], while another hundred were boarded
in the country. More extensive powers seem to have been exercised
at St Thomas's Hospital than at the other Royal hospitals, possibly
because all the other hospitals dealt more especially with the
poor in the City and it was therefore more convenient to separate
their functions. St Thomas's was situated apart in Southwark and its
governors exercised more general powers. Not only did the hospital
relieve two hundred and sixty "aged, sore and sick persons" but it also
pensioned five hundred other poor who lived in their homes: moreover
in 1562 "yt is Agred uppon that A place shalbe appoynted to ponysh
the sturdy and transegressors[70]." The annual expenses of Christ's
and St Thomas's in 1553 together amounted to £3240. 15_s._ 4_d._, and
of this sum £2914 was given by "free alms of the Citizens of London."
Considering the value of money in those days and the probable number of
the inhabitants, this was a very large amount. The liberality of the
citizens was not always however stimulated by such bishops as Bishop
Ridley, or such Lord Mayors as Sir Richard Dobbs, Sir Martin Bowes, and
Sir George Barnes. In the reign of Elizabeth St Thomas's was in debt
and the number maintained there had to be considerably reduced. Before
1557 Bridewell also was established and thus the number of the four
Royal hospitals was completed. The hospital of Bethlehem was included
in the original grant of Henry VIII. and probably had a continuous
existence. It was a comparatively small institution, in which fifty or
sixty lunatics were maintained, and in later times was always reckoned
with Bridewell, so that it also formed part of the system of Royal
hospitals under the management of the City although it was not counted
as a separate hospital. In 1557 orders were drawn up for the government
of the hospitals[71], and we can see that their erection had already
made it more possible to distinguish between the different classes in
need of relief. The City rulers do not now as in 1552 consider the
word "beggars" interchangeable with the word "poor" but explain that
"there is as great a difference between a poor man and a beggar, as is
between a true man and a thief." ... "The policy of the erection of
hospitals ..." they say "hath had good success and taken effect; for
there is no poor citizen at this day that beggeth his bread but by some
mean his poverty is provided for." The objects of the organisation are
also explained to include the yielding "alms to the poor and honest

[66] _Memoranda of the Royal Hospitals_, Appendix, pp. 52 and 59.

[67] A copy of the original pamphlet is in the British Museum. Eight
hundred persons had been healed "in the meane season" during the past
five years. The list of expenses is interesting because of the light it
casts upon the cost of living in 1552. The diet of the hundred patients
is calculated at 2_d._ the day; each sister was allowed for her board
sixteen pence a week, while the matron obtained eighteen pence.

[68] "Account of Expenses incurred by the City in erecting and
maintaining St Thomas's Hospital." Harleian MSS. No. 604, p. 176,
printed in Supplement to _Memoranda of Royal Hospitals_, p. 32.

[69] The allowance paid for the children was tenpence a week.

[70] W. Rendle, _Old Southwark_, p. 138. The whipping-post or "Crosse"
soon required repair, and stocks also were provided. We hear frequently
of its being used. In 1567, John Martyn was sentenced to twenty-five
stripes for robbing gardens and misusing a poor "innocent;" while in
1570, "Jane Thornton, one of the Systers," was sentenced to receive
"xii strypes, well layd on." There are several cases also in which
the hospital governors find masters for patients when they have been
cured, or sometimes bind them apprentice. In one case they apprentice
a boy who had been cured of a sore leg, and covenant that "yf hitt
happen the sayd Legg Do brek outt agayn" the boy shall be cured "only
of the chardg of the hospital." Occasionally there are details of the
employment of the inmates. In 1569 a small sum is received from the
Matron "for work done by the poore women and children," and in 1573 "a
mocion is made that a handemyll to grind corne may be provyded to sett
the pore to worke to kepe them from ydelnes." But the arrangements for
employment are on a very small scale and seem only likely to concern
patients, or perhaps the people in the casual ward. Others would be
sent to Bridewell. These details are all derived from Mr Rendle's _Old
Southwark_, where much more information, derived from old records of
the hospital, has been printed.

[71] The general rules relating to the holding of general Courts and to
the election of governors, the duties of the officers and the charges
to be given to both officers and governors were printed in 1557,
together with the particular regulations for the governors of Christ's.
An original copy is in the British Museum, entitled, "The Order of the
Hospitalls of K. Henry the viii^{th} and K. Edward the vi^{th},

       { S. Bartholomew's,
       { Christ's,
  viz. {
       { Bridewell,
       { S. Thomas,

By the Maior, Cominaltie and Citizens of London, Governors of the
Possessions, Revenues and Goods of the sayd Hospitals. 1557." The
orders provide that sixty-six governors should be appointed, fourteen
of whom were to be aldermen and the rest "grave commoners." Of the
fourteen aldermen, six were to be "Graye clokes" and two of these were
to be Governors general of all the hospitals.

[72] T. Bowen, _Extracts from the Records and Court Books of
Bridewell_, Appendix, II. p. 8 _seq._

The hospitals are said to be linked together in their government, the
objects of all are said to be the same; although to each hospital
some governors were especially appointed, all had authority and
responsibility with regard to the whole four[73].

[73] _Ib._, p. 9.

The London Bridewell was destined to be the forerunner of so many
Bridewells or Houses of Correction that it is perhaps interesting
to examine more closely the rules for its management. Any two of its
governors had power to take into the house persons presented to them
as "lewd and idle." They had also power to search all places in which
masterless men were likely to be found, and to punish landlords or
tenants who harboured them.

The governors of the whole establishment were subdivided so that
some might overlook every department. The rules with regard to the
cloth-making establishment will illustrate the kind of supervision
they were to exercise. They were first to make an inventory of the
raw material and of the looms and other necessary implements. They
were then to see that the clothier knew his business, and to order him
to return a monthly account of the number of cloths which had been
wrought. They were, moreover, to overlook the wool house, yarn house
and spinning house and "to comptroll and rebuke" as they "shall see
cause." They were to pay the workpeople, the weavers for weaving, the
fullers for thicking and the spinners for spinning. The steward was to
be allowed to charge for the diet of those that were employed. Every
week they were to make a summary of their doings and every month a
summary of their accounts.

Other crafts were supervised in the same manner; the nail house was in
close connection with the Company of Ironmongers, probably in order to
carry out the undertaking that the occupations "should be profitable
to all the King's subjects and hurtful to none." The Ironmongers were
to give "to this house, as the people of the same may reasonably
live"; they were to have the preference with regard to the sale of the
manufactured goods and to be allowed a month in which to make payment.

The worst vagrants were apparently sent to the mill and the bakehouse,
but men who were fit for better employment were not to stay there. If
the governors, we are told, shall "find any there above the ordinary,
then shall ye cause the same to be known to the clerk of the work and
see he bestow them in some other exercise."

Bridewell does not seem to have effectually reformed the vagrants,
for the governors were to "see to the good order of the said mills,
that neither the vagabonds do use shameless craving nor begging to the
great grief of good men and slander of the house, neither that they
obstinately and frowardly shall deny their aid and help towards the
lifting up and taking down of such grain as shall be brought into the
said mill[74]."

[74] T. Bowen. _Extracts from the Records and Court Books of
Bridewell_, Appendix, II., p. 11 _seq._ The whole of the particular
regulations relating to Bridewell are here printed.

Bridewell, we have seen, was founded for the unemployed, but it is
obvious from the language used that the citizens had mainly in their
minds beggars who were unemployed, and from the first it seems rather
to have been used for confirmed vagrants and untrained children than
for labourers out of work. The governors certainly held regular
meetings, about once a fortnight, and discussed the various cases
that came before them. These nearly all concern petty offenders,
thieves or vagrants, but there are one or two cases in which a man is
admitted because "the City is charged to find him[75]." Other entries
relate to young people who were apprenticed to the House and properly
trained to work at some trade. In the later years of the century
about two thousand persons passed through the hospital annually.
Bridewell was the last of the Royal Hospitals to be established after
1557. Some provision was made for every class of the London poor. The
municipal system of relief had begun with the punishment of vagrants;
it proceeded to license all beggars entitled to ask for relief, and
finally all the poor were nominally provided for and the funds were
raised by compulsory taxation.

[75] Some of the original Court Books of Bridewell are still preserved
among the records of its modern representative, King Edward's schools.
By the kindness of the authorities I have been allowed to examine them.

There was no sudden break with the older system. St Thomas's, St
Bartholomew's and Bedlam had all been hospitals for centuries. They had
been saved from destruction, improved and enlarged, but essentially the
same work was done in the same places. There were however important
points of difference between the new system and the old even as regards
these three hospitals. They were under public management. There were
many abuses in this management, but these abuses were now more readily
detected and punished and were found out and reformed several times in
the course of the next century.

But a more important difference lay in the fact that the hospitals were
not now isolated institutions, each dealing with their patients, but
were now part of a larger whole and had a definite part to play in the
government of the City. Vagrants, who were taken to Bridewell and found
to be ill, were sent on to St Bartholomew's or St Thomas's, while, on
the other hand, a whipping was administered to the idlers after cure
at St Thomas's, and the beadle of St Bartholomew's had special orders
to prevent discharged inmates from begging. All these regulations show
that they had become, not merely agencies for the relief of the sick,
but also part of a system which aimed at the repression of beggars.

Bridewell was the greatest innovation and the most characteristic
institution of the new system. The organisation for the relief of the
poor had been called into existence because the crowds of vagrants were
a chronic nuisance and danger to society. Bridewell dealt with the most
difficult class of these vagrants and gave some of them a chance of
training and reform. Moreover, Bridewell as a place of punishment for
idlers was the necessary counterpart of the new schemes for universal
relief. You could not relieve and find work for every one unless you
had some means for coercing and punishing the "sturdy vagabond."
Christ's Hospital, like Bridewell, is a new institution, but, unlike
Bridewell, it does not altogether strike out a new line. Still, as soon
as the relief of the poor becomes a public duty, institutions for the
training of the young become increasingly popular, and we shall find
that, during the next century, there are other Christ's Hospitals as
well as other Bridewells in most of the great towns of the kingdom.

[Sidenote: 6. Failure of the municipal system in London.]

This municipal system however was not successful in London. So far
as London was concerned the organisation seemed fairly complete. But
even from the local point of view the system was weak in one point.
Funds had to be provided. It was not easy suddenly to raise the money
necessary for the new organisation; men were not accustomed to be taxed
for the poor, and, as soon as the first enthusiasm had subsided, a
sufficient sum could not be collected. During the succeeding period we
shall find that the rulers of London found great difficulty in this
matter, and that this was one of the causes of the want of success of
the municipal system of London. But another difficulty was inherent in
the system in the very fact that it was municipal, and not national. A
few years ago the distribution of the Mansion House Relief Fund caused
a considerable immigration from the country. Exactly the same result
arose from the first organisation of the poor in the City of London.
In March, 1568/9, we are told that "forasmuch as experience late hath
shewed that the charitable relief gyuen as well by the quenes ma^{ties}
most noble progenitors as also the charitable almes from tyme to tyme
collected within this citie and bestowed by the cittizens, aswell upon
the poore and nedy citizens, being sicke, impotent and lambe as the
poore orphans and fatherless children ... aswell in Chryste Church and
Bridwell as in other hospitalles founded for the reliefe of the poore
within the said citie, hath drawen into this citie great nombers of
vagabondes, roges, masterless men and Idle persons as also poore, lame
and sick persons dwellyng in the most partes of the realme[76]." The
very measures which were taken to cope with poverty in London thus
increased the crowd of beggars, not because they caused more people to
become beggars, but because they attracted the poor from all parts. The
City organisation broke down because it was confined to the City, but
it had already done considerable service in helping the growth of the
national organisation which was to follow.

[76] _Journals_, XIX. 164 _b_. March 15, 1568/9.

[Sidenote: Poor relief in towns other than London.]

[Sidenote: 7. Provision of corn in Bristol and Canterbury.]

We have now to examine a few cases in which other towns before 1569
adopted measures similar to those of London. With regard to the
provision of corn it is quite possible that the London plan was widely
followed. In 1522 we read that in Bristol "this yere whete, corn,
and other graynes rose at a dire price, by reason whereof the said
Maire, of his gode disposition, inclyning his charitie towardes the
comen wele and profite of this Towne," ordered grain to be bought in
Worcester, "by reason wherof greate abundance of whete, corn, and other
graynes was so provided, that the inhabitauntes of the said towne were
greatly releved and comforted in mynysshing of the price of whete, corn
and other graynys, sold in the open markett of this said Towne[77]."
At Canterbury the funds for this purpose are accounted for in the year
1552. More than £70 was then spent in the purchase of wheat and barley.
It was not however altogether raised by the Town Council, more than
half was obtained from the sale of the plate of the parish of St Andrew
and from contributions from the parishes of St George and St Michael.
This corn was bought especially for the benefit of the poor, and about
one-fifth part of it was directly sold to them; the rest was sold to
large buyers, and could only have benefited the poor by easing the
market and so lowering the price to everybody[78].

[77] Ricart's _Calendar_, p. 49. Corn was also bought for the use of
the Mayor and "cominaltie" of Bristol, in 1532, p. 52.

[78] _Minutes collected from the ancient records of Canterbury._ Civis
(William Welfitt), No. XIV. Account of the corn furnished for the poor,
21st November, 1552 (6 Edw. VI.).

  £32 6_s._ contributed by St Andrew's, the value of the plate of
  the parish church.

  £32 contributed by the Mayor and Commonalty.

  £10 from the churchwardens of St George's.

   £2     "         "      "    St Michael's.

Sixty-six quarters and one bushel of wheat were bought, nearly fifteen
quarters of which were sold to the poor at sixteen shillings a quarter;
nearly forty quarters of barley were bought, and nine of these were
sold to the poor at six shillings a quarter.

[Sidenote: 8. Survey and employment of poor at Lincoln.]

The surveying and licensing of beggars appears to have been very usual.
Thus, at Lincoln in 1543, the constables were ordered to bring all the
poor people in the city before the justices and it was provided that
those who were to be allowed to beg should have a sign given to them. A
similar order was made in 1546, and it was also decided that no one was
to give alms to any beggar without a sign[79]. These orders are exactly
parallel to the earlier measures of the rulers of London. Next year, in
1547, the citizens of Lincoln took a farther step. Not only were the
beggars to be surveyed, but they were to be set to work, and in 1551
all the young people, who lived idly, were placed with the clothiers
for eight or nine years and were to have meat, drink and other
necessaries. All who refused this work were to be expelled from the
town[80]. In 1560 a salary is paid to an officer who is to oversee and
order all the poor and idle people in the town[81]. Special collections
for the relief of the poor were also made in Lincoln before 1569, but
apparently only in times of plague[82]. Grants were occasionally made
to particular poor at other times and there was a more than usually
definite amount of relief provided by the guild regulations for the
poorer members of some of the Lincoln guilds[83].

[79] _Hist. Man. Com._, Rep. XIV., App. VIII. pp. 38 and 40.

[80] _Hist. Man. Com._ _l.c._, pp. 41, 44.

[81] _Ib._, p. 51.

[82] _Ib._, p. 49. 5th May, 1557.

[83] In the Smiths' charter, approved 17th July, 1563, it is provided
that "if any fall into poverty, or by reason of infirmity or age shall
not be able to relieve himself, sevenpence shall be paid to him weekly
from the chattels of the fellowship, and on his death the officers
shall cause his body to be decently buried, and at his burial shall
dispose to the poor of the city two dozen of bread."

Also the Charter of the Girdlers, Glovers, Skinners, Pinners, Pointers,
Scriveners and Parchment-makers provides: "The weekly allowance to
brethren in poverty is 6_d._ at the least." Do. p. 57.

[Sidenote: 9. Ipswich. Survey of poor, imposition of compulsory poor
rate and foundation of Christ's Hospital.]

But the measures of Ipswich resemble those of London more closely
even than those of Lincoln. There the poor were not only surveyed
and licensed, but before 1569 compulsory taxation was adopted and a
municipal hospital was erected. As early as 1469 the burgesses had
granted certain dues to lepers, but it was not until about 1551 that
the municipal rulers began to make frequent and regular orders for
the regulation of relief and beggary. In that year two persons were
nominated by the bailiffs, "to enquire into the poore of every parish,
and thereof to make certifficate to the Bayliffs[84]." Next year we
find the burgesses anxious to increase the voluntary alms. The order
of the guild festival was arranged, and it was agreed that the town
officers should attend in their robes, and "they and all the Burgesses
shall offer, and the offerings shall goe to the poore[85]."

[84] Nathaniell Bacon's _Annalls of Ipswiche_, pp. 129, 235.

[85] Nathaniell Bacon's _Annalls of Ipswiche_, p. 237. There are thus
indications at Ipswich, as at Southampton, of a connection between the
guild customs and the action of the town with regard to the poor.

In 1556 eight burgesses were appointed to frame measures "for the
ordering of the maintenance of the poore and impotent people, ffor
providing them work, ffor suppressing of vagrants and idle persons[86]."

[86] _Ib._, p. 246. Oct. 9, 1556.

We also find an attempt to decrease the number of beggars in an order
worthy of an Irish town: "Noe children of this towne shall be p'mitted
to begg, and suche as shall be admitted thereto shall have badges[87]."

[87] _Ib._, p. 247.

A further step was then taken, and in Ipswich, as in London, compulsory
payments were made for the poor. In 1557 it is ordered that "if any
inhabitant shall refuse to pay suche money as shall be allotted him to
pay for the use of the poore," he shall be punished at the discretion
of the bailiffs[88].

[88] _Ib._, p. 250.

Moreover, in 1569, we find the town hospital established. Christ's
Hospital in Ipswich was built on the site of the House of the Black
Friars and was a house of correction, as well as an asylum for the old
and a training school for the young[89]. It was apparently no disgrace
for the old to be admitted, for when it was provided that ships should
pay certain dues to the hospital, it was also agreed that every
mariner, who had lived in the town three years and should stand in need
of assistance, should be allowed to go there[90]. At Ipswich therefore,
in 1569, beggars were badged, the poor were organised, compulsory
payments were exacted and a town hospital had been founded.

[89] _Ib._, p. 283.

[90] _Ib._, p. 292. 10 Sept. 1571.

[Sidenote: 10. Survey of poor and regular assessment of parishioners in

At Cambridge also similar measures were taken. Some of the profits
arising from Stourbridge fair had been left to the poor of Cambridge
and was connected with a provision for the maintenance of "obiits." The
funds belonging to the poor were preserved to them by the statute of
chantries, but before 1552 it had not been paid. Complaint was then
made, and it was decreed that the sum should be paid to the mayor,
bailiffs, and burgesses, and should be distributed by them as in
ancient times: this order was confirmed by royal grant in 1557[91]."

[91] Cooper's _Annals of Cambridge_, vol. II. pp. 62, 132.

It is possible that the passing of this money through their hands
may have made the town authorities regard the care of the poor as
especially their duty.

In any case, in 1556, there was great scarcity and, on Dec. 7th, "Dr
Perne, Vice-chancellor, Doctors Segewycke, Harvy, Walker and Blythe
met the Mayor, Bailiffs and two Aldermen in St Mary's Church[92]."
They called before them the churchwardens of all the parisshes, and
these "browght in the bylls what any parryshoner was cessed towardes
the relyeffe of the poore." Two days later the churchwardens presented
"bylles of the number of poore people in the parisshes," and they
were told to make a report as to "three states of the poore sort"
and to inquire who had come into the parish within three years.
Later, four superintendents and four "watchers for straunge beggeres"
were appointed, and collectors were chosen for the next Sunday. The
Vice-chancellor moved the Heads of Houses to make provision for the
poor, and the superintendents went about the different parishes and
visited the poor and settled what each should receive. On December 24th
the Mayor and Vice-chancellor met at St Mary's to again settle what
each poor person should be given and to give greater sums to some of
them than had been before appointed[93].

[92] _Ib._, p. 110.

[93] _Ib._, p. 110.

In 1560 a set of ordinances was made for the purpose of raising funds
to pay these pensions. Dues were to be paid for admission into the
liberties of the town, for beginning actions in the Cambridge Law
Courts, for the admission of attorneys to plead, for the surrendering
of every booth and the signing of every lease. All these were to
augment the funds for the poor. The attorneys were also to pay 1_d._
for every fee[94].

[94] _Ib._, p. 163.

Thus in Cambridge also we have, first, the surveying and numbering
of the poor; then, regular contributions from the parishioners, and
regular payments to the poor who could not support themselves. At
Cambridge there was no town hospital before 1569, and it was not until
1578 that a proposal to establish one there was made.

But attempts were already being made to found municipal hospitals in
Norwich and Gloucester, and these we shall examine when we consider
the events of the period between 1569 and 1597. Moreover, three of
the old hospitals of York were refounded and placed under municipal
management[95]. There the poor could be "set on worke" and the income
derived from them was to be "ymployed to the maintenance of the powre."
At Leicester also a municipal system for the poor had developed, and
it seems that, in 1568, two collections were levied for this purpose,
one of which provided the funds necessary for the relief distributed
under the authority of the statutes, and the other met the expenditure
incurred under the municipal regulations[96].

[95] "City of York in the Sixteenth Century." Article by Miss Maud
Sellars, _The Eng. Hist. Rev._, April 1894.

At York, in the reign of Henry VIII., beggars had been badged, and in
1551 a fixed poor rate had been levied from the different wards. The
system of allowing licensed beggars to beg was however continued in
York for some time after 1569.

[96] _Hist. Man. Com._, Rep. VIII. p. 427. Gloucester, 14 Eliz. c. 5.

Thus in Lincoln, Ipswich, Cambridge, and York the order of development
in matters concerning beggars and the unemployed is similar to that
of London. Beggars are surveyed; the truly helpless are licensed; the
others are forbidden to ask for any relief. Compulsory rates for their
relief were levied in Ipswich and probably in Cambridge. At the same
time provision is made for finding the able-bodied work in Lincoln, and
hospitals are built or refounded for them in Ipswich, in York, and in

In Ipswich as in London all this was done before 1569, but other
towns were much more backward, and in some the beggars were still
unrestrained. There was thus no national system of poor relief, but
only isolated municipal attempts to deal with the matter, all following
the same general lines and becoming the rule, and not the exception,
as time went on. It will be more convenient to consider the advantages
of this system when we have also examined the doings of Parliament
and Privy Council, and can consider the organisation before 1569 as
a whole. The municipal system alone was not successful, in London or
elsewhere; it was increasingly difficult to deal with new-comers and to
provide funds.

But already before 1569 there were the beginnings of the succeeding
national system in the doings of Parliament and Privy Council.




  1. Efforts made by the Government to secure the employment of the
clothmakers during the crisis in the cloth trade of 1527-8.
  2. Regulations for the supply of the markets with corn, 1527-8.
  3. Similar action in regard to corn in 1548 and 1563.
  4. Letters of the Privy Council to particular local officials in
connection with the relief of the poor.
  5. Legislation concerning the relief of the poor during the reign of
Henry VIII.
  6. The two earlier statutes of Edward VI.
  7. Legislation between 1551 and 1569.
  8. Summary.

[Sidenote: 1. Efforts made by the Government to secure the employment
of the clothworkers during the crisis in the cloth trade of 1527-8.]

The Privy Council interfered comparatively little on behalf of the
poor in this earliest period of the development of the English system
of poor relief. However, in 1528 and on several other occasions the
Government issued orders similar to those afterwards issued by the
authority of the Privy Council. In 1528, however, these orders are said
to come from Wolsey or the king, and it only incidentally appears that
the Council had also a part in the matter. Possibly the policy, thus
initiated, was the creation of Wolsey or of the Duke of Norfolk, but
it was precisely the same kind of policy as that afterwards carried
out under the authority of the Privy Council during the reigns of
Elizabeth, James, and Charles.

The latter part of the year 1527 and the spring of 1528 was a time
of great discontent and disorder. At the beginning of the year 1528
England had allied herself with France against the Emperor, and thus
the ordinary trade in cloth to the Flemish markets was interrupted,
and the Staple was moved to Calais. The English cloth-making industry
was already carried on for foreign markets on a fairly large scale. In
certain districts the greater number of inhabitants were employed by
clothiers, who sold the manufactured cloths to the merchants chiefly
for Flemish markets. The declaration of war therefore prevented the
usual sale of cloths; consequently when the manufacturers in accordance
with the trade regulations then in force brought the cloths to
Blackwell Hall, the merchants did not buy as usual and the clothiers
ceased to find work for their men. The workers had few other resources
and disturbances followed. The Duke of Norfolk was sent into Suffolk
to restore order, and persuaded the clothiers to keep their men in
employment. He called representative employers before him from every
town and told them that the reports concerning the detention of English
merchants in Flanders were untrue. "If I had not quenched that bruit,"
he writes to Wolsey, "I should have had two or three hundred women
sueing to me to make the clothiers set their husbands and children
to work[97]." The same course was followed in other districts; Lord
Sandys writes to Wolsey that he has received letters from both Wolsey
and the King, which order him to see that the workpeople are not
dismissed. He says nothing of the kind shall occur in Hants., and he
hopes that Berks. and Wilts. will be equally well managed[98]. In Kent
Sir Henry Guildford obtained a promise that no men should be sent away
before harvest[99]. Both Norfolk and Guildford state however that the
clothiers cannot hold out much longer, and they ask Wolsey to remedy
this by persuading the merchants to buy the unsold cloths in the
clothiers' hands[100]. When the king's Council heard of the difficulty,
we are told that the Cardinal sent for a great number of merchants,
and thus addressed them. "Sirs, the King is informed that you use
not yourselves like merchants, but like graziers and artificers; for
when the clothiers do daily bring cloths to your market for your ease,
to their great cost, and there be ready to sell them, you of your
wilfulness will not buy them, as you have been accustomed to do. What
manner of men be you?" said the Cardinal, "I tell you, that the King
straitly commandeth you to buy their cloths, as before time you have
been accustomed to do, upon pain of his high displeasure[101]." The
Cardinal further threatened to throw open the cloth trade to foreigners
if the English merchants refused to buy as usual.

[97] J. S. Brewer's _Reign of Hen. VIII._, II. p. 261.

[98] _Letters and Papers of Hen. VIII._, 13 March, 1528, IV. No. 4058.

[99] Do. No. 4276; 17 May, 1528.

[100] Do. No. 4239; 4 May, 1528.

[101] Hall, p. 745, quoted in _Reign of Hen. VIII._, Brewer, II. p. 261.

This remedy might be a clumsy one but it was not ineffectual. The
cloth trade, in this instance, was restored to its usual course by
the conclusion of a truce between England and the Netherlands. The
time during which the contraction of the market occurred was short,
and the clothiers could and did lessen the evils of this temporary
fluctuation in their trade by continuing to find work and purchase
cloths, as in more prosperous times, even though it was to their
private disadvantage. A course of this kind was dangerous if the trade
was permanently affected, but possible and useful under the actual
circumstances, and probably saved the country from serious disturbance.
The incident illustrates the fact that the difficulty of the relief of
the poor was increased by the growth of manufactures on a large scale,
because employment was more unstable, and because all the members of a
family and most of the inhabitants of a neighbourhood were often out of
work at the same time. Under these circumstances the distress of the
poor was immediately followed by riots[102], and the action of Wolsey
and the Council was occasioned, not only by the sufferings of the poor,
but also by danger to the public peace.

[102] _Letters and Papers of Hen. VIII._, Nos. 4043, 4058.

[Sidenote: 2. Regulations for the supply of the markets with corn,

The connection between the distress of the poor and public order is
also evident in the corn measures of 1527-8. The harvest of 1527
failed, while in the same year the coinage was debased, so that the
average price of wheat was nearly double that of preceding years[103].
Part of this rise was thought to be due to the unfair buying of some
of the corn-dealers. A commission was issued setting forth that owing
to forestalling, regrating and engrossing "more scarcity of corn is
pretended to be within this our said realm than, God be thanked, there
is in very truth[104]." The commissioners were therefore to punish all
offenders in this respect, and were also to find out by inquiry how
great the supply of corn really was and to see that it was brought to
market when needed[105]. Some of the reports drawn up in accordance
with these instructions are in existence, and give for particular
places the price and quantity of different kinds of grain and the
number of inhabitants in the district[106]. In Essex and Suffolk the
commissioners also talked to the more wealthy people and urged them to
buy a store of corn for the poor. It was only however in Colchester and
Bergholt that they seemed at all willing to do so[107]. On the whole
there were few efforts at direct relief of the poor; the object of the
Council was to obtain information and to prevent any aggravation of the
scarcity by unfair practices.

[103] The average prices of wheat were as follows:--

  1520.       1521.       1522.       1523.       1524.       1525.
  _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._
   9    4½     7    8½     6    0¼     5    6      5    1½     5    5

  1526.       1527.       1528.       1529.
  _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._
   6    2½    12   11      8   10¼     8   10

  Thorold Rogers, _Hist. of Agric. and Prices_.

[104] The buying and selling of bread were under regulation, while law
and custom required that the corn should be sold in the open market.
As a rule it was supposed to be sold by the producer to the consumer,
but certain licensed "dealers" or "badgers" were allowed to buy corn to
sell again. A "forestaller" was one who bought corn or victuals while
it was on the way to a port or market, and so did not give other buyers
an equal chance; an "engrosser" was a dealer who bought up corn while
it was growing, or purchased corn or victuals to sell again; and a
"regrator" was one who bought corn or victuals and sold it again in the
same market, or within four miles. 5 and 6 Edw. VI., c. 14.

[105] _Letters and Papers of Hen. VIII._, IV., No. 3587. 18 Nov. 1527.

[106] Thus one of the Wiltshire reports gives details of this kind
parish by parish for the hundred of Amysbury. Parish of Boscum, three
persons have grain; population of parish, 80. In Alyngton two persons
have grain; population 70.... In the parish of Fiddelldene seven
households, consisting of 114 persons, have grain, while sixty persons
were without. _Letters and Papers of Hen. VIII._, No. 3665. 15 Dec.
1527. See vol. IV., App. 273.

[107] _Letters and Papers of Hen. VIII._, vol. IV., No. 3625. Norfolk
to Wolsey.

At the same time measures were undertaken to lessen the disorder
from which the country was suffering. In December 1527 a great search
was made for vagrants, and the commissioners report the punishment of
valiant beggars[108]. Notwithstanding all this there was a serious
disturbance in Kent. The people asked for the return of the loan raised
two years before, because they were so sore impoverished by the great
dearth of corn[109]. The harvest of 1528 however was fortunately fairly
plentiful, and the country again became peaceful. These difficulties
again illustrate the connection between poverty and disorder, and show
that the Privy Council first came to interfere in these matters in
order to maintain the peace.

[108] _Letters and Papers of Hen. VIII._, vol. IV., Nos. 3822, 3664.

[109] Do. Nos. 4173 and 4192.

[Sidenote: 3. Similar action with regard to corn in 1548 and 1563.]

In 1549 and 1550 the price of provisions was again high, and the people
were mutinous. A proclamation was therefore issued fixing the price
of corn, butter, poultry, and other provisions. Letters were written
to the justices and to the Lords-Lieutenant, and a commission was
appointed to enforce its execution[110]. But the whole series of orders
was disobeyed and the misery caused by this year of scarcity partially
accounts for the rebellions, which ended in the fall of Somerset,
and nearly upset the Government altogether. Other instructions were
sent out in 1561[111]: the difficulty was a frequently recurring
one. The years of high-priced corn were years of riot, and resulted
in constantly increasing efforts of the Privy Council on behalf of
the poor. We shall see that in future years of scarcity the same
difficulties arise, and similar measures are taken. But, as more
experience was gained, there was less attempt to regulate prices, and
more to directly organise the relief of the poor, so that the efforts
to improve the administration of the poor law were closely connected
with the measures to provide corn for the poor in years of scarcity.

[110] _Dom. State Papers_, Edw. VI., vol. X. 42, 43, vol. XI. 5 and 6.

[111] Stowe MSS. 152, f. 16.

[Sidenote: 4. Letters of the Privy Council to particular local
officials in connection with the relief of the poor.]

These orders of 1528 and 1549 were general in their character, and
referred, either to large districts, or to the whole country. But
the Privy Council also began to interfere with the relief of the
poor by urging particular local officials to do their duty. This kind
of action is illustrated by the letters addressed to the rulers of
Kingston-upon-Hull in 1542 and of London in 1569.

In 1542 letters were sent by order of the Council to
Kingston-upon-Hull, requiring the mayor to fix the price of provisions,
"as the worckmen sent thither by the King's Ma^{tie} might live upon
theyre wages[112]." Other letters were sent to the rulers of London
in March[113] and June 1569 ordering them to be diligent in enforcing
the laws against vagrants, and the letter of June 1569 also directly
concerns the relief of the impotent poor.

[112] _Acts of the Privy Council_, Nicolas, vol. VII. p. 320.

[113] This letter is referred to in the June letter. _Journals_, XIX.
f. 171 _b_.

"It will be necessarye," runs the letter, "to provide charitablie for
suche as shalbe indede founde unfaynedlie impotent by age, syckness
or otherwise to get theire livinge by laboure and for those wee
earnestlie, and in the name of God, as wee ar all commanded, requyre
and chardge youe all and evry of youe to consider diligentlie howe
suche of theme as dwell within youre jurisdicion may be releyved
in every parishe, by the good order that is devysed by a late acte
of parliament and that thei be not suffred to wander or be abroad
as commonley thei doe in the streites and highe waies for lack of
sustentacon. And for the due and charitable execucon of that statute,
wee thinke it good that the Bysshope or other ordinaries of the
diocesse be moved by you in ow^r name to directe commandement to
the Curates or ministers in all churches to exhort the parishioners
to gyve there common almes at theire churches and to provide remedy
against suche as have welth and will not contribut at the churches
upon exhortacon and admonicon, and thereunto, wee require you to gyve
yor adyes and assistance in every parishe where yo^r dwellinge is,
and by yo^r good example incorage others in this charitable good dede

[114] _Journals_, XIX. f. 171 _b_.

Thus before 1569 the Privy Council find it necessary to enforce
measures for the relief of the poor, though not to any very great
extent. Their interference occurs especially in years of scarcity,
and forms part of a series of measures undertaken with the object of
preserving order.

[Sidenote: 5. Legislation concerning the relief of the poor during the
reign of Henry VIII.]

We have now to see what was the course of legislation during this
period, although legislation was not the factor which was most
important in creating the system of poor relief before 1569. Not only
did the regulations of the advanced towns suggest the provisions of the
statutes, but even when the statutes were passed, there is not much
evidence that they were enforced, except when the town government was
vigorous. They are important, not so much because of their immediate
effect, as because they led to the later legislation of Elizabeth, and
because they are authoritative expressions of the opinion of the time.

During the reign of Henry VIII. two statutes were passed. The 22 Henry
VIII. cap. 12, was designed to prevent those who were not really
impotent from begging, and to punish more effectively the able-bodied

The preamble states, that the number of vagabonds was not "in any part
diminished but rather daily augmented and increased." In the country,
the justices of the peace and, in the towns, the mayors, bailiffs etc.
were the officers responsible for the execution of the statute. They
were ordered to search for the impotent poor of their districts and to
give them letters authorising them to beg within certain limits. All
beggars who begged outside the specified limits or without a license
were to be put in the stocks. The impotent beggars were thus confined
to a particular neighbourhood but were allowed under restrictions to
beg for their subsistence. Poor scholars, shipwrecked mariners, and
released prisoners might only beg if properly licensed. Otherwise
they, or any other "valiant beggars," were to be taken to any justice
or to the high constable, and by order of these authorities were to
be whipped in the nearest market town. After punishment the vagrants
had to swear to return to the place where they were born or last dwelt
three years, and there to work for their living. A certificate was to
be furnished to each of them stating the place and day of punishment,
the place where the beggar was to go and the time he was allowed to get
there. While on the way he was free from whipping, but if he exceeded
his time or went elsewhere he was liable to be whipped whenever caught.
Not only were able-bodied beggars punished, but those who gave alms to
them were also to be fined, although the old practice of giving doles
was allowed to continue, and the masters and governors of hospitals
were excluded from the operation of the Act.

The main principles of the statute are identical with those enacted
under Richard II., but the directions are much more detailed. Moreover
provision was also made for the punishment of the inhabitants of any
district where the statute was not executed. The regulations adopted
are very similar to those already in force in London, where impotent
beggars were already badged and sturdy ones whipped at the cart's tail.

The provisions are chiefly repressive; designed to limit the number
of beggars rather than to provide relief. For this reason therefore
they were not effectual, and a second statute (27 Hen. VIII. c. 25)
was passed also in this reign. This Act was probably drawn up by Henry
himself and is similar to measures passed at almost exactly the same
time in France and Scotland. The preamble refers to the former statute
and states that, "forasmuch as it was not provided what was to be done
when the sturdy beggars and impotent poor arrived in their hundreds nor
how the inhabitants were to be charged for their relief and for keeping
at work the able-bodied, it is now ordered that the authorities of
the Cities, Shires, etc." are to "charitably receive" the beggars and
relieve them "by way of voluntary and charitable alms in such wise that
none of them shall be compelled to wander idly and openly ask alms."
The same officers are also to compel the valiant beggars to be kept at
continual labour so that they may earn their own living.

Very few people were excepted from the operation of these provisions.
Beggars with letters, travelling home at the rate of ten miles a day,
are to be relieved; lepers and bedridden people may remain where
they are; friars mendicant may beg and receive as they have been
accustomed; and servants, leaving their service and having letters
to that effect, may be free for a month from the operation of the
statute. But with these exceptions, all who have not work or property
were to be set to work or relieved. Authority was also given for the
compulsory apprenticing of vagrant children, between the ages of five
and fourteen, and thus for the first time this prominent feature of
the later administration of poor relief appears in a statute. The
execution of these provisions involved considerable expenditure, and
the Act therefore proceeds to provide for the raising of funds. The
Mayor or Governor of every city, borough and town corporate, and the
churchwardens, with two others of every parish, were to collect alms
every Sunday. This plan is similar to that already adopted in London
where, in 1533, the aldermen were ordered to supervise the Sunday
collections for the poor. There was no attempt at compulsion, but
parsons, vicars and curates, when preaching, hearing confessions or
making wills were to exhort people to be liberal. Certain games were
forbidden by the same Act and the fines for breaking this or any part
of the statutes were to go to the poor.

Alms were not to be given by the individual to any casual beggar but
were to be placed in a common box, and doles were to be given only in
the same fashion. As a rule each parish thus supported its own poor,
but rich parishes were to help poor ones when necessary. Although a
great deal of restriction was placed upon the casual almsgiver by these
regulations there were many loopholes by which he might still evade the
law. It remained lawful to relieve fellow parishioners, shipwrecked
mariners and blind or lame people, lying by the wayside. Moreover
certain poor people might be authorised to collect broken meat.
Noblemen might give to anyone and abbots and friars were commanded to
give as before.

This statute is the first in which the state not only enacts that the
poor shall be provided for in their own neighbourhood, but also makes
itself responsible for the administration of relief and the raising of
funds. At the same time the clause, which provided that all alms were
to be voluntary and that if they were insufficient the officers were
not to be fined, made the Act only permissive in practice, for it could
only be enforced when the inhabitants of a district chose voluntarily
to provide the necessary money.

In this statute, as in the 22 Hen. VIII. c. 12, a double set of
officials for the administration of the law is provided. The funds
were to be raised in every parish, but the mayor, as well as the
churchwardens, was responsible for the collection of the parochial
alms in the towns, and the municipal officers were the people who were
mainly responsible for receiving and relieving the vagabonds and poor
within their jurisdictions. Thus, not only do these two statutes make
general the practices which existed in London before the statutes were
passed, but they also place their execution in the hands of the same
authorities. So far, however, the orders of both Parliament and the
towns were directed far more to the repression of beggars than to the
collection and administration of funds for the relief of the poor.
Legislators seem to have thought that sufficient funds already existed,
or could be easily collected, and carefully avoided all approach to
compulsory payments for this purpose.

[Sidenote: 6. The two earlier statutes of Edward VI.]

After the dissolution of the monasteries this was no longer the case.
No other statute was passed in Henry's reign, but between 1547 and 1569
there were many and, as a rule, these relate chiefly to expedients for
raising money.

A statute of 1547, however, relates mainly to vagrants[115]. It
provided that a sturdy beggar might be made a slave for two years,
and if he ran away a slave for life. The sons of vagrants also might
be apprenticed until they were twenty-four, and the daughters until
they were twenty, while the punishment of rebellion was slavery.
This Act is often condemned as being the most severe Act of a savage
series. It is, however, quite possible that it was not considered so
savage in 1547. It must be remembered, that under the existing law
an "incorrigible rogue" was punishable with death[116], and that this
very punishment of servitude is suggested in More's _Utopia_ as a much
milder and better punishment than death for both petty thieves and
vagrants. The regulation certainly altogether failed, for this part of
the statute was repealed two years later: so far as able-bodied beggars
were concerned, the 22 Hen. VIII. c. 12 was reenacted and the whipping
punishment there provided remained in force until 1572.

[115] 1 Edw. VI. c. 3.

[116] More's _Utopia_, Pitt Press ed. pp. 40, 41, 44. The suggestion
to make vagabonds public servants is put into the mouth of Cardinal

The statute of 1547 also made some additions to the provision for the
impotent poor. Cottages were to be erected for their habitation, and
they were to be relieved or cured. This clause was again reenacted
by the second statute concerning the poor of Edward's reign[117]. At
the same time the apprenticeship regulations were made less severe,
and justices were empowered to liberate children on any proof of the
misconduct of master or mistress.

[117] 3 and 4 Edw. VI. c. 16.

The next poor law of the reign[118] chiefly concerns the collection of
funds, and was passed in 1551-2.

[118] 5 and 6 Edw. VI. c. 2.

[Sidenote: 7. Legislation between 1551 and 1569.]

The officers responsible for the execution of the statute were
sometimes municipal and sometimes parochial. The mayor or head officer
was to act in the towns; the parson and churchwardens in the country.
These officers were ordered to call the householders together and to
nominate two collectors who were to gather the alms of the parish, and
it is provided that the collectors "shall gentellie aske" of every man
what he will consent to give weekly for the relief of the poor. The
various sums were to be entered in a book and collected every Sunday.
If any man refused to give, he was to be exhorted by the parson, and,
if the parson failed to persuade him, he was to be sent to the Bishop.
The Bishop was to induce him to contribute and "according to his
discretyon take order for the reformacon therof[119]." The Bishop was
also to see to the proper employment of sums granted to the poor by
Henry VIII., unless they had been taken away by an Act of Parliament.
This same statute also enacted that none were "to goo or sitt openlie
a begging," but in this respect was in advance of the time, for
during Mary's reign licensed beggars were again allowed[120], though
the remaining provisions of this statute were continued or reenacted
several times before 1563[121]. Early in the reign of Elizabeth,
however, a fresh step is taken towards the enforcement of compulsory
poor rates. The 5 Eliz. c. 3 originated in the House of Lords, and
may have been due to the fact that the Bishops found unavailing their
exhortations to stingy parishioners[122]. When a person obstinately
refused to give to the poor after the Bishop had duly exhorted him, he
might be bound by a recognisance of £10 to appear before the justices
of the peace in the country or the mayor, bailiff, &c. in the towns.
The justices or mayors were to "charitably and gentelly perswade and
move the said obstinate persons" to extend his or their charity towards
the relief of the poor of the parish where they dwelt. If any of them
again refused, the justices of the peace or mayor and churchwardens
might assess what sum he should pay weekly; if he still remained
obdurate he might be imprisoned.

[119] At Lambeth there is a register book made in accordance with
the provisions of this Act. It is entitled "A Register Booke of the
Benivolence of the Parishioners for the Reliefe of the Pore made in
A^o VI. Regis Edwardi VI^{ti}, etc." It states that it was "a register
booke gevyne by master Ambroose Wylles, gentylman, unto the churche of
Lambethe, wherein it is declared the benyvolence of the paryshoners of
Lambethe aforsaid towards the releiffe of the poore inhabitors there
... particularlye every man's name and what his devosyon is to geve
weklye towards the sustentacion of yher poore neyghbours according to
the king's highness prosedyngs, &c."

Master Parson gave for half a year 10_s._, and my lady Bridgwater 6_s._
8_d._ during the year. The book states that "On Sundaye October 30th
there was nothing distrybuted because that Master Wylles did extend his
charitye among the poore householders," and "on Sundaye the 6th day
of Auguste master parsone did give his cheritye to the poor people."
Denne, _Addenda to the History of Lambeth_, p. 392.

[120] 2 and 3 Ph. and Mary, c. 5.

[121] 7 Edw. VI. c. 11, 1 Mary St. 2, c. 13, 1 Mary St. 3, c. 12
all continue 5 and 6 Edw. VI. c. 2. The 2 and 3 Ph. and Mary, c. 5,
restates and re-enacts the substance of the chief provisions of this
Edwardian statute, and was continued by 4 and 5 Ph. and Mary, c. 9.

[122] The interrogatories issued by the Bishop of Norwich in
1561, before his visitation of his diocese, are similar to other
interrogatories of the time, and indicate the way in which the bishops
discharged their functions with regard to the relief of the poor. The
Bishop of Norwich enquired of the priests "whether they doo exhorte
the people to remember the poore after the homelye when they reade
the sentences exhorting the Almose." He enquired of the churchwardens
"whether they know any man that refuseth to contribute to the Almes of
the poore as a thing not rightlie appointed and discorageth other from
such charitable Almes?"

There were also questions as to whether a strong chest had been
provided for "the poore men's boxe," and whether it had been fastened
in a fit place. Other enquiries concerned the dues of the poor, such
as the payments that had formerly been made for lights out of movable
property and the fines of those who did not go to church. "Injunctions
of John, Bishop of Norwich," 2nd May, 1561.

The part taken by the bishops must have been of very considerable
importance, even when they acted only on the ecclesiastical side, and
it often happened that the bishops took a considerable share in the
general organisation of relief. Bishop Ridley, as we have seen, took
the leading part in the foundation of three out of the four royal
hospitals of London. This action of the bishop was exercised on the
lines laid down in the statutes, was recommended by the letter of the
Privy Council to the rulers of London in 1569, and was used to develop
the organisation of the towns. It serves to link every part of the new
organisation with the old methods of relief, but became less and less
important as more and more compulsion became necessary for the raising
of the funds.

It was in this hesitating way that the law first resorted to
compulsory payments for the poor. The utmost care is taken to make the
contribution as voluntary as possible and only to resort to force when
much persuasion had proved ineffectual. Even then compulsion might only
be resorted to in the case of obstinate individuals; it was not legally
permissible to assess the amount that everyone should give until 1572.

[Sidenote: 8. Summary.]

This statute of 1563 was the last enactment dealing with poor relief
passed before 1569. In principle, legislation has altered little
since the second statute of Henry VIII. In 1569, as in 1535-6, a
sharp distinction is drawn between the able-bodied beggars and the
impotent. The former are to be whipped and sent to their parish to
work; the latter are to be provided for by their fellow parishioners.
In both periods also the state appointed municipal or parochial
officials to collect funds and to relieve the poor. But there is a
great difference in the details of the statutes. The laws of Edward
VI. and the first statute of Elizabeth concerning the poor carefully
state who are responsible for the execution of each part of the Act
and provide penalties for neglect. The two statutes of Henry VIII.
are more detailed than the statutes of Richard II. but they were not
detailed enough; the enactments of Edward, Mary and Elizabeth add
still more precise provisions to secure the better execution of the
law[123]. But there is an even greater difference with regard to funds.
The laws of Henry presuppose that the poor will obtain sufficient
relief from voluntary alms; the statutes of Edward VI. and Mary
prescribe the persuasion, and those of Elizabeth the compulsion of the
contributors. Society had become too complicated for individual action
to be effectual either in restraining idle beggars or in relieving
the helpless poor: the duty was therefore undertaken by the state. It
seemed at first as if the old voluntary character of the gift could
be maintained, but this was soon found to be impossible. Throughout
this period, so far as legislation is concerned, an approximation
to compulsory poor rates accompanies the increase of the public
administration of relief.

[123] It was evidently difficult to induce men to become collectors.
The time of their election was often changed, and the fines for
refusing to serve continuously increased. This amounted to 20_s._ in
the 5 and 6 Edw. VI. c. 2, to 40_s._ in 2 and 3 Ph. and Mary, c. 5, and
to £10 in 5 Eliz. c. 3.



  1. The action of municipal rulers precedes the action of Parliament.
  2. Advantages of the municipal system of relief.
  3. Connection between the municipal organisation of poor relief and
the dissolution of the monasteries.
  4. Relation of beggary to first schemes of relief.
  5. Parental government.
  6. Bridewell, the keystone of the system.

[Sidenote: 1. The action of the rulers of particular towns precedes the
action of Parliament.]

Before 1569 no effectual system of poor relief had been established,
but many experiments had been made. At the beginning of the century
a serious problem was before the Government. The social changes of
the time had resulted in the formation of crowds of vagrants, and
the greater complexity of economic conditions made the position of
the workfolk more unstable. Even in ordinary times, therefore, the
vagabonds were a constant plague to the peaceful citizen, and when
corn was dear or work was slack the greater number of the inhabitants
of particular districts, being without resources, joined in riots
or rose in insurrections. There were then no Friendly Societies or
workmen's clubs, and no casual wards or workhouses. Years of scarcity
were therefore always times of disorder and the peace of the whole
country was threatened. Assistance given by means of private charity,
monasteries and hospitals failed to relieve the distress or to remedy
the evil. Force was tried; thieves were hanged and vagabonds were
whipped. But, even as early as 1515, Sir Thomas More saw that the
root of the evil was much deeper, "Neither ther is any punishment so
horrible, that it can kepe them from stealynge, which have no other
craft, whereby to get their living[124]."

[124] More's _Utopia_, p. 28. Pitt Press edition.

Even before 1569 the statutes had appointed authorities both for the
collection of funds and for the distribution of relief, and had made
contributions to the poor compulsory. But, on the whole, the practice
of London and certain other towns was in advance of the regulations
of the statutes; the main feature of the period is the municipal
organisation of poor relief. London in 1547 and Ipswich in 1557 had
made regulations for levying compulsory payments for the poor, long
before any statute had authorised the exaction of compulsory payments
for this purpose. Nor is this the only matter in which the regulations
of the towns seem to suggest the provisions of the statutes. Before
the 22 Hen. VIII. had ordered vagabonds to be whipped at the cart's
tail, London vagabonds had been so treated; before the 27 Hen. VIII.
had ordered the collection of alms for the poor on Sunday by municipal
and parochial authority, that method had been adopted in London.
London, Cambridge, and Ipswich had, before 1569, built up an elaborate
organisation for dealing with the poor, an organisation that seemed
complete, but failed because it was municipal and not national.

The history of the legislation of the time thus shows that the Tudor
Poor Laws did not, like modern Factory Acts, initiate regulations never
before enforced. On the contrary, the provisions of these statutes
reveal the beginnings of the national system, following the same
line of development as that which had already been reached by many
particular towns.

[Sidenote: 2. Advantages of the municipal system of relief.]

There were some advantages connected with this independent municipal
action, which is thus characteristic of the relief of the poor before
1569. It was possible for the central Government to estimate the
practical effect of their measures before they became law, because they
were already probably adopted in some towns.

Another advantage that belonged to the municipal organisation of the
times was the close connection that existed between the authorities who
administered poor relief and those who administered charities. Most of
the London charities seem to have belonged either to the parishes or to
the Companies. The parochial charities were administered by authorities
closely connected with those responsible for the public system of poor
relief in the parishes, and the City charities were administered by
authorities closely connected with the public system of poor relief in
the City. Moreover the work of all the parishes was controlled by the
same central authority.

[Sidenote: 3. Connection between the municipal organisation of poor
relief and the dissolution of the monasteries.]

The connection between the municipal organisation of poor relief and
the dissolution of the monasteries is not altogether clear. Long
before 1536 the difficulty of repressing beggars was serious, and the
alms of the townsfolk were wasted upon unworthy recipients. Between
1514 and 1533 London had already taken measures both to restrain and
license its beggars and to collect alms for the poor. It is probable,
that had the monasteries continued to exist, these measures must have
extended. But the existence of the doles of the monasteries was in
itself an obstacle to the better government of beggars, because the
relief given by them was in no way controlled by the same authorities.
In London the hospital of Savoy preserved during the reign of Mary an
independent existence, side by side with the hospitals under central
management, and we find that the City authorities complained of even
this one hospital, and said the beggars there relieved were a cause of
disorder, and a hindrance to the good government of the City. Had all
the old monasteries and hospitals maintained an independent existence
it is difficult to see how the regulations of the town rulers could
have had much effect, unless the religious endowments also had been
subject to municipal control. Moreover the monasteries had relieved
many poor at their gates, and among the monks and nuns themselves were
probably many who were unfit for the battle of life. These people had
to be provided for as well as the unrelieved poor of former days.
The immediate need was therefore greater after 1536 than it had
been before. At the same time responsibility in the matter fell more
directly on the citizens. While the old religious foundations existed,
it was supposed that they ought to provide for the poor; now they
were destroyed, the responsibility must be fixed elsewhere. It was
the citizens whom Latimer and Lever blamed for neglect. Moreover some
of the spoils of the dissolution fell into the hands of the municipal
rulers, and sometimes they were charged with administering them for the
use of the poor. This would certainly facilitate their action and would
perhaps lead them to consider the relief of the poor especially as a
municipal duty. Something of the kind seems to have happened at York,
and possibly also at Cambridge.

In any case it is certain that, after 1536, the citizens of London set
themselves much more vigorously to work to deal with the poor; that the
royal hospitals were founded partly from the dissolved monasteries,
and that the foundation of these hospitals first led to the compulsory
taxation of 1547 for the poor in London, and called into existence
the governors for the poor. Municipal care for the poor therefore
existed before the dissolution of the monasteries, but became much more
extensive afterwards, both because the need was greater and because the
rival authority was suppressed.

[Sidenote: 4. Relation of beggary to first schemes of relief.]

The close relation between beggars and the new system of poor relief
is also apparent. The first efforts of Town Councils and Parliament
were occasioned by the great increase in the number of begging poor;
the earliest orders concern the punishment of able-bodied beggars; the
others were left to voluntary charity. But the able-bodied beggars
were sometimes unable to obtain work and the impotent beggars were
sometimes unrelieved. The system of the royal hospitals of the City of
London was founded by the City rulers to meet these difficulties. They
considered especially three kinds of beggars; children, sturdy beggars,
and the impotent poor; they built or refounded all the hospitals in
order to provide for one or other of these classes. Occasionally
begging was forbidden altogether, but as a rule beggars were not
altogether banished, but some of them were provided for in hospitals
or by pensions, and the rest were licensed. As soon as the system was
established, even as early as 1557, the distinction between beggars
and other poor was clearly seen and recognised, but still, it is true,
that the organisation first grew up in order to lessen the number of
vagabonds, and chiefly concerned beggars.

[Sidenote: 5. Parental government.]

Still the regulations of the town rulers were not entirely confined
to beggars. The articles, drawn up "at the meting of the towneship of
Burye the XIIII^{th} daie of Januarye 1570" (1571), illustrate the
sort of family duty recognised by the municipalities towards their
members, and the corresponding right of interfering with individual
freedom. After commanding everyone to go to church on Sunday, the next
regulation orders every person "suspected of loytring" to declare to
the constable every Sunday in the morning "where he wrought everie daie
in the said weeke," and "if any labourer shall not be provided of worke
on the Sondaie for the weeke following, then the curate or cunstable
to move the parishe for worke." The burgesses also order a certain
Agnes Servall to go to service before Easter and in the meantime "to
keep her church on the sabbath days. If she failed to do so both mother
and daughter were to be whipped[125]." The town discipline was severe
however much the parental rulers might look after the welfare of all
the inhabitants. The relief of the poor was very closely connected
with parental government of this kind. But both the suppression of
beggars and the exercise of this family responsibility on the part of
municipality or state involved means of coercion.

[125] _Hist. Man. Com._, Rep. XIV., App. VIII. p. 139.

It was also ordered that "every spynster to have (if it may be) vi^{lb}
of wolle everye weeke, and to bringe the same home every Saterdaie
at night, and if any faile so to doe, the clothier to advertise the
cunstable thereof for the examynacion of the cause and to punyshe it
according to the qualitye of the falte." Moreover no poor person was
"to be suffered to kepe their childrene at home able to serve."

[Sidenote: 6. Bridewell.]

The institution of Bridewell was therefore the keystone of the whole
system. Vagrants were not reformed by whipping or by the fear of
hanging, because they preferred to run the chance of capture when
starvation was the alternative. Unorganised almsgiving failed even
more conspicuously. But organised relief accompanied by a House of
Correction was a step towards the solution of the problem. It also was
in full harmony with the parental idea of government and the practice
of state regulation of economic matters which existed throughout the
reigns of the Tudors and earlier Stuarts.

The creation of the first Bridewell and the organisation depending
upon it was the work of the citizens of London. It needed great
liberality: gifts were then for the most part voluntary, and the result
shows considerable public spirit on the part of the richer classes
and a great sense of the corporate unity of the City by the whole
body of citizens. It is true that the liberality did not last; that
the isolated action of single towns could not deal with a national
difficulty, but the town rulers began to make experiments, to train
officials and to create the custom of relieving the poor. They did not
themselves succeed in solving the problem, but without their incomplete
regulations the national organisation of the future would hardly have
been possible.



  A. _Parliamentary History._
    1. Discussions, Bills and Statutes between 1566 and 1576.
    2. Parliamentary history between 1576 and 1597.
    3. The Bills and Statutes of 1597.
    4. General features of the discussion in Parliament.

  B. _The action of the Privy Council._
    5. The chief characteristics of the action of the Privy Council.
    6. The whipping campaign.
    7. The scarcity measures.
    8. The influence of the Privy Council on
      (1) the Mayor and Corporation of London,
      (2) other local officials.

The action of municipal authorities in particular towns, which, before
1569, is the main feature in the development in the English system of
poor relief, becomes of relatively less importance after that date.

Matters concerning the poor attract increased notice in Parliament
and the statutes become more definite and more effective until 1597.
An enactment was then passed, the provisions of which, as re-enacted
in 1601, have remained almost unaltered until the present century.
The leading feature therefore of the period from 1569 to 1597 is the
improvement in legislation. But besides the improvement in legislation
we must notice the pressure exercised by the Privy Council on the
justices of the peace. This becomes more operative and frequent
throughout the reign of Elizabeth, but before 1597 it had not attained
anything like the same degree of success that it was destined to
achieve under Charles I. At the same time local organisation must not
be altogether neglected, and now the measures of the justices in the
country are important as well as the orders of the towns.

We will consider, therefore, so far as they affect the poor, first, the
Parliamentary history from 1569 to 1597; secondly, the action of the
Privy Council; lastly, some of the more important local measures and
the events of the concluding years of the period 1594 to 1597.

[Sidenote: A. Parliamentary history.]

The history of the Bills, committees and debates in Parliament in the
period from 1569 to 1597 shows very clearly that the English Poor
Law did not come by chance, but was the result of the thought and
experience of the greatest men of the time. Their discussions make us
realise, that in those days, as in ours, opinion was much divided on
the subject, and that in matters concerning the poor it is particularly
true that there is very little new under the sun. The earlier part of
the parliamentary history of the question circles round the statutes
of 1572 and 1576, the later round the code of 1597. Between these two
dates there were some slight alterations and additions to the law and a
decided change in opinion and feeling.

[Sidenote: 1. Discussions, Bills and Statutes between 1566 and 1576.]

In 1566, we find notes in Cecil's handwriting on a scheme for
preventing a dearth of grain and on the definition of the word
"vagabond." He jots down the words "bearwardes," "Tynkers" and
"pedlars," as if he were the author of the definition[126] of
"vagabond" that was to cause so much difference of opinion in 1572.

[126] _Dom. State Papers Queen Eliz._, vol. 41, No. 76. See p. 69.

These notes were possibly the basis of two Bills which were introduced
into Parliament in the session of 1566. One concerned the punishment of
vagabonds and loiterers and was introduced into the House of Commons;
the other concerned the provision of grain and was considered by
the Lords[127]. In neither case did the Bills become law, but it is
worth noticing that the question of the provision of grain had been
discussed in Parliament as in 1572, and in 1586 the Privy Council
again took action in the matter. In 1571 a new Bill, concerning the
punishment of vagabonds and the relief of the poor was introduced,
and there was an interesting debate on the first reading[128]. One of
the chief speakers, Mr Sands, subsequently took a considerable part
in the discussion of 1597. He considered that this Bill of 1571 was
"over-sharp and bloody" and thought that milder measures would be more
successful. If justices would take the trouble, he said, every man
might be relieved at his own home: this was clearly feasible because
it was actually done in the county of Worcester. Sir Francis Knollys
also spoke and was on the sterner side. He would have had a Bridewell
in every town, and have had it maintained by a fine of twelvepence from
every "Tippler[129]." This is a good illustration of the way in which
Bridewell, an institution originally peculiar to London, influenced the
discussions in Parliament and was there suggested as a type or model
for similar institutions throughout the country.

[127] D'Ewes' _Journals_, pp. 112, 132.

[128] D'Ewes' _Journals_, p. 165.

[129] I.e. keeper of a public-house.

Another speaker was Mr Thomas Wilson, to whom we owe the organisation
of the Record office of his time. Like a modern secretary of the
Charity Organisation Society he told his hearers that "it was no
charity, to give to such a one, as we know not, being a stranger unto

No statute followed this discussion of 1571, but when Parliament again
met in 1572 a Bill was brought into the House of Lords which finally
became law. The main feature of the debate in 1572 was a dispute
between the Lords and the Commons as to the definition of the word
"vagabond." The definition in the Act includes[130] (1) proctors or
procurators; (2) persons "using subtyll craftye unlawful Games" and
"fayninge themselves to have knowledge in Phisnomye, Palmestrye, and
other abused Scyences"; (3) all able-bodied persons not having either
"land or maister" who cannot give a satisfactory account of their
means of livelihood; (4) all "fencers, Bearewardes, Comon Players in
Enterludes and minstrels" not belonging to a Baron or other honourable
person of greater degree and all "Juglers, Pedlars, Tynkers and Petye
Chapmen" unless the bearwards, tinkers etc. were licensed by two
justices of the peace; (5) common labourers, able to work, who refuse
to work for the customary wages; (6) all counterfeiters of passes and
all who use them knowing them to be counterfeit; (7) all scholars of
Oxford and Cambridge who beg without being licensed by Chancellor
or Vice-Chancellor; (8) all shipmen not properly licensed; (9) all
liberated prisoners who beg without a license, and lastly (10) all
persons declared vagabonds by the clauses of the Act which concern
the impotent poor. A great many people were thus affected by the Act;
the unauthorised beggar, the workman on strike, the poor scholar at
the Universities, unless he were duly licensed, and the shipwrecked
mariner, as well as the fortune-teller and the proctor or collector of
subscriptions. All these were abandoned to their fate, but the clause
concerning the suppression of "minstrells, bearwards, pedlers etc."
caused a dispute between the Lords and the Commons[131]. These men took
the place which shops, circuses and newspapers occupy in the life of
to-day, and their total suppression would have meant a considerable
loss in the country life of Merry England. After discussion the two
houses agreed upon a compromise; it was arranged that these people
should be allowed if licensed by two justices of the peace, and the
Bill became law as the 14 Eliz. c. 5.

[130] 14 Eliz. c. 5.

[131] D'Ewes' _Journals_, p. 220.

The regulations concerning vagrants are severe, more severe than in any
other Act except the slavery statute of 1547. For a first offence, a
vagabond was to be whipped and bored through the ear, unless someone
would become surety for him and keep him in service for a year. For a
second offence, he was to be adjudged a felon, unless he could find a
surety who would take him into his service for two years; and for a
third offence the vagrant was to be adjudged a felon without clergy and
might be punished with death[132].

[132] This Act of 1572 was at certain times rigorously enforced. Thus
at Middlesex Sessions held June, 17 Eliz. Thomas Maynerde, Oswald
Thompson and John Barres were brought before the magistrates. On the
18 March in the same year they had been whipped and burnt through the
ear at the Old Bailey; they were now accused of "being over 18 years
old and fit for labour, but masterless and without any lawful means of
livelihood." They pleaded guilty and were sentenced to be hung. Also on
the 6 Feb. 18 Eliz. a woman was tried for vagrancy and committed for
two years to a surety who was her husband, to be his servant. She was
again found wandering, and in October of the same year was sentenced
to be hung. In the ten weeks between 6 Oct. 32 Eliz. and 14 Dec. 33
Eliz. seventy-one persons were sentenced at Middlesex Sessions to be
whipped and branded for vagrancy. Middlesex Sessions Roll, ed. T. C.
Jeaffreson, pp. 94 and 191.

Special regulations refer to some of the pauper immigrants of the
time. In the days of Elizabeth these came chiefly, not from the
Continent, but from Ireland and the Isle of Man. The unfortunate people
were to be punished as sturdy vagrants and sent home again, while the
people who brought them over were to be fined twenty shillings for each

But "forasmuche as Charitye would that poore, aged and impotent persons
should as necessarylye be provided for, as the said Roges, Vacabondes
and Sturdye beggars repressed" the clauses of the enactment deal
with relief as well as with repression. The justices of the peace
were to make a register of the names of the poor in every parish and
habitations were to be found for them. Every month the mayor and high
constable were to make search for the strange poor and were to send
them back to their own neighbourhood.

When the poor had been thus settled the justices in the country
and mayors in the towns were to estimate how much it would cost to
maintain them. They were then "by their good discretions" to "taxe and
assesse all and every the Inhabitauntes," dwelling in their divisions,
"to suche weekely charge as they and everye of them shall weekely
contribute towardes the Releef of the said poore People."

The mayors and justices were also to appoint collectors and overseers,
and the "obstinate person" who refused to contribute was to be brought
before two justices and sent to gaol unless he became obedient.

Thus the Act of 1572 does not enforce compulsory payments in the
case of obstinate individuals only, like the statute of 1562-3; it
also enforces the compulsory payment of an assessed sum upon all
the parishioners. The admonition of the bishop is succeeded by the
compulsion of the law. This clause of the Act, however, still expresses
hesitation; if the parishioner failed to pay, the poor rate could
not be immediately distrained; the offender must be brought before
two justices and if he remained disobedient was to be sent to gaol.
The old theory, that gifts for the poor were good for the giver and
should be voluntary, thus still left its traces though henceforward the
compulsory poor rate was a part of English law.

In this respect the statute merely adopts a principle which we
have seen was already enforced in some of the towns, and its chief
regulations do not in any way alter the control of relief exercised by
the municipal authorities. On the contrary, the mayors or other head
officers are expressly ordered to take the initiative in the towns and
are made legally responsible for the execution of the law.

Although the clauses against vagabonds are so unusually severe in this
statute the provision for the employment of the poor is very small.
This deficiency was therefore supplied by an Act passed four years

[Sidenote: 18 Eliz. c. 3.]

By a statute passed in the Parliament of 1575-6 a stock of wool,
flax, hemp, iron or other stuff was to be provided in every city and
corporate town and in every market town when thought necessary by the
justices "to the Intente Yowthe may be accustomed and brought up to
Laboure and Worke, and then not lyke to growe to bee ydle Roges and to
the Entente also that suche as bee alredye growen up in ydlenes and so
Roges at this present maye not have any juste excuse in sayeng they
cannot get any Service or Worcke ... and that other poore and needye
persons being willinge to worcke maye bee set on worcke." Moreover
Houses of Correction were to be built in every county and thither were
to be sent all who refused to do the work provided for them[133].

[133] 18 Eliz. c. 3.

These two Acts of 1572 and 1576 were three times continued[134] and
remained the basis of the English Poor Law until the whole question
was reopened and thoroughly discussed in 1597. In 1593, however, the
clauses relating to the death, imprisonment and boring through the ear
of vagabonds were repealed and the whipping punishments of the 22 Hen.
VIII. were again revived[135].

[134] 27 Eliz. c. 11; 29 Eliz. c. 5; 31 Eliz. c. 10.

[135] 35 Eliz. c. 7.

[Sidenote: 2. Legislation between 1576 and 1597.]

Between 1576 and 1597 three other statutes were passed dealing with
special aspects of the subject. The 31 Eliz. c. 7 was designed to
prevent an increasing number of poor families from settling in the
country. Only one family might live in one house and no house was to be
built in the country unless it had four acres of land attached[136].
The 35 Eliz. c. 6 was passed to prevent an increasing number of
poor families from settling in London. In the cities of London and
Westminster and for three miles round no new houses were to be built
except for people who were assessed in the subsidy book at £5 in goods
or £3 in lands. No existing houses were to be divided into tenements
and no "inmates[137]" were to be received.

[136] Exceptions were made in favour of cottages built within a mile
of the sea or a navigable river, and of those built for the use of
shepherds, forest rangers, workmen employed in mineral works, quarries
or mines or impotent poor allowed by the justices.

[137] I.e. lodgers.

A third Act also passed in 1592-3 made special provision for soldiers
and sailors. They were ordered to return to their own neighbourhoods,
and the justices were empowered to levy an additional rate for their
relief, which was to be distributed to them by Treasurers appointed in
every county for the purpose[138].

[138] 35 Eliz. c. 4.

But it was in 1597 that the many aspects of legislation affecting the
poor were thoroughly discussed.

[Sidenote: 3. The Bills and Statutes of 1597.]

During the years from 1594 to 1597 there was a great dearth of corn and
the price rose in some cases to four or five times the average price of
the preceding years. There were rebellions in many parts of the country
and great distress in all. Parliament met on the 24th Oct. 1597 and the
first measure read a first time by the House of Commons was one dealing
with forestallers, regrators and engrossers of corn[139]. Francis Bacon
then spoke about enclosures. For "Inclosure of grounds," he said,
"brings depopulation, which brings first Idleness; secondly decay
of Tillage; thirdly subversion of Houses and decay of charity, and
charges to the Poor; fourthly impoverishing the state of the realm."
He therefore brought forward two Bills on the subject, "not drawn with
a polished pen, but with a polished heart, free from affection and
affectation[140]." A committee was appointed to consider the matter,
which was to meet in the Exchequer Chamber in the afternoon of the same

[139] D'Ewes' _Journals_, p. 551.

[140] D'Ewes' _Journals_, p. 551. Sir Francis Bacon "had perused the
Preambles of former statutes, and by them did see the inconvenience
of this matter, being then scarce out of the shell, to be now full

Later, Mr Finch addressed the House, "shewing sundry great and horrible
abuses of idle and vagrant persons greatly offensive both to God and
the world; and further shewing the extream and miserable estate of the
Godly and honest sort of the poor Subjects of this realm," and it was
decided that these matters also should be referred to the committee
already appointed for enclosures[141].

[141] _Ib._ p. 552.

A few days later Sir Francis Hastings complained that this committee
had so far "spent all their travel only about the said Inclosures and
Tillage, and nothing about the said rogues and poor[142]." He therefore
asked that Bills on these subjects should be considered by the House.
At least seventeen Bills concerning this matter were brought forward
during the Session of 1597-8, and on Nov. 19th a large and influential
committee was appointed to which thirteen of these Bills were referred.
To this committee belonged some of the most famous men in the House,
for it included amongst its members Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Thomas
Cecil and Sir Edward Coke. There were others also who seem to have
had special knowledge in matters concerning the poor, such as Edward
Hext, a justice of Somerset, who had already written a long letter to
Cecil concerning vagabonds; and Sir Thomas Wroth, who seems to have
been the special champion of the poor[143]. Their meetings were held
in the Middle Temple Hall and continued for the greater part of the

[142] _Ib._ p. 555. Friday, 11 Nov. 1597.

[143] A resolution on the 25 Feb. 31 Eliz. was also proposed by him to
the effect that if any one should depart before the rising of the House
of the Speaker he should pay sixpence "to the use of the poor." D'Ewes'
_Journals_, p. 439. He also introduced the statute of 1601. Townshend's
_Historical Collections_.

[144] _Ib._ p. 559.

The titles of twelve of the Bills then considered give us some idea of
the many sides of the question that were then discussed. The following
drafts were submitted; the Bill for "erecting of Houses of Correction
and punishment of rogues and sturdy beggars and for levying of certain
sums due to the poor," for the "necessary habitation and relief of the
poor, aged, lame, and blind in every parish," for "relief of Hospitals,
poor prisoners and others impoverished by casual losses," for "supply
of relief unto the poor," for "petite forfeitures," for "the better
relief of souldiers and mariners," for "the better governing of
Hospitals and lands given to the relief of the poor," for "extirpation
of Beggery," "against Bastardy," "for setting the poor on work," and
"for erecting of hospitals or abiding and working houses for the
poor." These Bills concern both the relief of the poor and methods of
dealing with vagrants; so far as the former was concerned the committee
rejected all these proposals and brought in a new Bill of their own.
But the Bill for Houses of Correction was amended in the Commons and
sent up to the Lords[145].

[145] _Ib._ pp. 559 _seq._ Nov. 22nd. Eleven Bills were referred to the
committee, p. 561. Nov. 28th. Bill for erecting hospitals or abiding
and working houses for the poor. Nov. 30th. The new Bill was introduced.

In the Upper House also there was then much discussion. A bill "for
the relief of the poor in time of extream dearth of corn" apparently
originated there[146]. Most interest, however, was excited by the Bill
for Houses of Correction. The Lords appointed one committee to discuss
both Bills and amongst its members were Lord Burghley and Archbishop
Whitgift. Several amendments were proposed by the committee which
were not at first approved by the whole House. The Lord Chief Justice
was therefore consulted and some, if not all, of the additions were
accepted[147]. The Bill was sent down to the House of Commons with the
amendments. The Commons referred the matter to a committee in which Sir
Walter Raleigh took the chief part and which included Francis Bacon,
Wroth and Hext. Raleigh proposed a conference with the Lords on the
subject. The Lords assented to the conference with the proviso that
whatsoever had been amended or added by their Lordships "could not
now be altered by the orders of the House[148]." Sir Walter Raleigh
reported this reply to the Commons but complained of the manner in
which the answer had been delivered, "not using any of their Lordships'
former and wonted courteous manner of coming down towards the members
of this House to the Bar, but all of them sitting still in their
great Estates very solemnly and all covered[149]." A somewhat heated
discussion arose between the two Houses as to the way in which the
Lords should answer the Commons, and perhaps the friction occasioned
by this means contributed to the rejection of the Bill by the Commons
by 106 Noes to 66 Ayes[150]. A new Bill for rogues was hastily passed
through the House and sent up to the Lords.

[146] _Ib._ p. 531.

[147] _Ib._ pp. 533, 534.

[148] D'Ewes' _Journals_, p. 537.

[149] _Ib._ p. 580.

[150] _Ib._ p. 582. Tuesday, 17th Jan. 1597-8.

The final result of all these discussions, Bills, committees and
disputes was a series of Acts dealing with the problems concerning
vagrants and the poor from many different sides.

The most important Act of the series is the 39 Eliz. c. 3, formerly the
Bill for the relief of the Poor which the great committee appointed on
Nov. 19th in the Commons brought in after they had discussed twelve
other Bills on the subject. By this Act the relief of the poor was
placed mainly in the hands of the Churchwardens and four Overseers of
the Poor who were to be appointed every year at Easter by the justices
of the peace. These churchwardens and overseers with the consent of two
justices of the peace were to take such measures as were necessary for
setting poor children to work or binding them apprentice, for providing
the adult unemployed with work by means of a stock of hemp, flax,
wool, thread, iron or other materials and for relieving the impotent,
old and blind. For this last purpose they were empowered to build
Hospitals on waste lands. The funds were to be raised by the taxation
"of every inhabitant and every occupyer of Landes" and the rates might
be levied by distress. An appeal against the assessment might be taken
to Quarter Sessions but the assessment itself was to be made by the
parochial officers with the consent of two justices of the peace. Rich
parishes might be rated in aid of poorer ones and the forfeitures for
negligence, made under the Act, were to go to the use of the poor.
All beggars were declared rogues except those who begged for meat and
victuals in their own parish and soldiers or sailors regularly licensed
who were passing to their settlement.

A county rate was also to be levied on the parishes for the relief
of prisoners and for the support of almshouses and hospitals, and a
Treasurer for the County was to be appointed to administer this relief.
Within corporate towns, the head officers had the same authority as
justices of the peace in the country.

Another Act passed in this year was entitled "An Acte for the
punyshment of Rogues, Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars[151]."

[151] 39 Eliz. c. 4.

Justices of the peace in Sessions were empowered to take measures for
the erection of Houses of Correction. The old statutes relating to
rogues and Houses of Correction were repealed and vagabonds were now
to be punished by whipping. They were then to be sent to the House of
Correction or gaol belonging to their place of settlement and from
thence were to be placed in service if able-bodied or in an almshouse
if impotent. If the rogue were likely to be dangerous to anyone he was
to be banished, and if he returned was to suffer death. It is a curious
part of this Act that the minister of the parish and one other person
were to assist by their advice with the punishment of these rogues.

The Bill for Hospitals probably resulted in a statute which re-enacted
the old provision that during the next twenty years anyone might found
a hospital or House of Correction etc. by simple enrolment in the Court
of Chancery and without Letters Patent[152]. Another of the thirteen
Bills considered by the committee seems to have become law under the
title of an "Acte to reforme Deceipts and Breaches of Trust towching
Lands given to charitable uses." It was there stated that the lands
appropriated to charitable uses had been misapplied and consequently
power was given to the Lord Chancellor etc. to issue writs to the
Bishop of the Diocese to inquire into any abuses of the kind and "to
set downe such Orders, Judgement and Decrees as the said good, godly
and charitable uses may be truely observed in full ample and most
liberall sort, according to the true intent and meaning of the founders
or donoures thereof[153]."

[152] _Ib._ c. 5.

[153] 39 Eliz. c. 6.

Two enactments of this series concern soldiers; one confirms the
statute of 1592-3 and increases the amount of the rate that justices
might impose for their relief[154]; the other provided especially
severe punishments against soldiers, mariners and idle persons who
wandered "as soldyers or mariners." But on the other hand if a soldier
or sailor could not obtain employment in his parish and applied to two
justices of the peace, they were obliged to find him work and could if
necessary tax the whole hundred for the purpose[155].

[154] _Ib._ c. 21.

[155] _Ib._ c. 17.

The legislation of this year is therefore almost a complete code on
the subject, but by far the most important part was the Act concerning
the relief of the poor. It was only passed as a temporary measure but
was re-enacted with a few alterations four years later. It was in
1597, therefore, and not in 1601 that the whole question was discussed
and that the main features of our English system of poor relief were
legally established.

This statute differs from earlier statutes, not in the creation of
Overseers of the Poor but in making them primarily responsible for
the administration of the law. The Act of 1572 first ordered the
appointment of Overseers or Collectors. But the burden of initiating
measures then rested primarily on the justices of the peace and the
head officials of the town. On the other hand the Act of 1597 ordered
the overseers to take the initiative, though the justices had still to
assent to their proposals and had to see that they did their duty. With
regard, however, to soldiers, vagrants and Houses of Correction the
justices were still mainly responsible.

[Sidenote: 4. General features of the discussion in Parliament.]

For seventy years Parliament had been making legislative experiments
with regard to the public relief of the poor and before 1597 at least
nine different plans had been tried. At last a law was produced which
as re-enacted four years later is unrepealed at the present day and for
more than two centuries was almost unaltered.

Parliament grudged neither its own time nor that of its ablest men to
solve the question. The personal side of the history of the discussion
is interesting. We see Sir Francis Bacon, to use his own phrase, "not
with polished pen but with polished heart," Raleigh neither as courtier
nor sea rover but as a stickler for the privileges of Parliament and
leader of a committee on the poor, Whitgift, not as ecclesiastical
disciplinarian, but as practical philanthropist. Burleigh appears but
seldom in the discussions but he too sat on the committee in the House
of Lords in 1597.

The most important part of the work seems to have been done by the
committee appointed by the Commons on November 19th. The law for the
relief of the poor was a new Bill framed by the committee after many
other Bills had been considered and seems to have been accepted at once
by the House. This committee was an enormous committee and the number
of bills considered by it was altogether exceptional, and it is to
the meetings of its members in the Middle Temple Hall that we owe the
making of a workable Poor Law and all its lasting effects on English
social life.

[Sidenote: Conclusions.]

Even by looking at the provisions of the statutes, we can see that
opinion on the subject had greatly changed since 1569. During the
earlier years of the period Parliament tried to exterminate beggary by
increasing the severity of the punishment of beggars. If we except the
law of 1547, this policy culminates in the statute of 1572, though,
even in 1572, increased provision for the impotent poor accompanied
increased severity towards able-bodied vagrants. The Act of 1576
indicates the beginning of a great change of thought and policy.
Legislators have given up the idea that the existence of masterless men
is entirely owing to the idleness and wickedness of the men themselves;
they provide materials for employment and Houses of Correction and so
recognise that the evil was partly caused by a want of training and by
a want of work. In 1597 there was a further change; the most severe
punishments against vagrants had been repealed and the most important
part of the legislation of this year was the statute for the relief of
the poor.

[Sidenote: 5. The chief characteristics of the action of the Privy

We now turn to the second factor in the growth of the English system
of Poor Relief; the pressure exercised by the Privy Council on the
justices of the peace. The methods employed were twofold; sometimes
general measures were enforced through the whole country or through
large districts of the country, sometimes pressure was brought to bear
only on particular local officials.

The general measures adopted between 1569 and 1597 consist chiefly of
organised searches made for the discovery and punishment of rogues and
special precautions undertaken in order to prevent sudden alterations
in the price of corn. It is not until 1597 and afterwards that these
general measures concern the relief of the poor in ordinary times.

[Sidenote: 6. The whipping campaign.]

In 1569 there were disturbances in many parts of the country and a
serious rebellion in the North. The vagabonds of the neighbourhood
increased the disorder and the vagrants of the time were often rebels.
It was probably therefore quite as much for political as for social
reasons that the Privy Council undertook a whipping campaign against
vagrants between 1569 and 1572. In consequence of the orders of the
Council reports were sent both from the Council of the North and from
many justices of the Southern and Midland Counties. The reports from
the North indicate clearly that these measures for the repression of
vagrants and the relief of the poor were closely connected with the
maintenance of order. In May 1569 the President of the Council of
the North writes thus to the Queen from York: "We conferred with the
justices of the peace in the county for its good order, and finding
great quiet and content by the good execution of the statute for
vagabonds, we have taken order that once in every month there shall be
a secret search for that purpose throughout the shire, and certificates
sent to us until next November[156]." Almost immediately afterwards
the rebellion in the North broke out and was suppressed. In December
1572 Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, writes to Lord Burghley from York and
sends a copy of letters and articles sent to the justices of the peace
of every riding and all the towns named in his commission[157]. One
of these articles shows that the valiant rogues were often more than
beggars. "To stay the spreading of false and seditious rumours and the
sending of messages from the late rebels to trouble the quiet of the
realm, order is to be given in market towns and other places that all
suspected passengers, vagabonds, beggars, and rogues be punished with
severity and celerity, according to the late statute." But even here
measures for relieving the necessitous accompany those for repressing
vagrants, and the justices were ordered to send monthly accounts of the
proceedings taken by them to provide for the poor and impotent.

[156] _Cal. of State Papers_, Addenda, May 26, 1569. President and
Council of the North to the Queen.

[157] _Ib._, Dec. 28, 1572. Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, to Lord Burghley.

In the reports from the North the political motives of the Government
are obvious, but the character of the organisation is shown better in
the replies sent by the justices of the Southern and Midland counties.

[Sidenote: 7. Nature of general measures.]

To enforce these measures orders were decided upon by the Council and
then sent with letters directing their enforcement to the sheriffs and
justices of the peace of every county. These justices reported to the
Council the methods adopted by them to carry out these orders and the
condition of affairs within their jurisdictions.

Many of the reports are still to be found among the State Papers and
afford us considerable information as to the state of the country
and the extent to which the law was executed. The justices' reports
concerning vagrants from 1569 to 1571 are preserved from nineteen
different counties. These were made directly to the Privy Council. From
some counties like Gloucester and Northampton there are many reports,
but from others like Lincoln and Hereford only one was returned.
Although the justices of Holland in Lincolnshire only report once they
say they will keep watches every month in order that vagabonds may be
punished and suppressed[158].

[158] _Dom. State Papers, Queen Elizabeth_, Vol. 86, No. 12.

The accounts from different parts of the country vary very much.
The Oxfordshire answer is usually "All things be well[159]," but in
Northamptonshire there were many vagrants, and apparently they were
mostly sturdy rogues for they were usually "stocked" and whipped[160].
Gloucestershire is a fairly average county; in the country round
Cirencester we are told there were no "persons disorderly found," but
in the division of Thornbury there were ninety-two vagrant men and
fifteen children. In Tewkesbury and Deerhurst there were fifteen sturdy
vagrants, twenty impotent beggars, and four children[161].

[159] _Ib._, Vol. 81, 42. Hundred of Dorchester.

[160] _Ib._, Vol. 81, Nos. 14 and 44. Other reports from Northampton
show that many rogues were found and severely punished, Vol. 81, Nos.
45 and 46, Vol. 86, 22. That from Bullington however is an exception,
for there a watch was kept, but no vagrants were taken, Vol. 81, 16.

[161] Cirencester, Vol. 80, No. 42. The report for Thornbury and five
other hundreds is for the searches made on Aug. 20th and Aug. 21st,
1571. The division contained six hundreds, and was nearly a quarter
of the shire, Vol. 80, No. 33. Tewkesbury and Deerhurst, Vol. 80,
No. 59. At Normancross in Huntingdon eleven vagrants were found on
September 13th, of whom three were pedlars, one was a "tynker," and two
"minstrells," Vol. 83, 36. III.

Sometimes great numbers were attracted by particular causes. Thus from
Cambridgeshire some reports state, "No such kynde of persons there
were found[162]," but in four hundreds forty-seven were arrested,
"the number whereof were so greate at that present by reason of the
confluence to and from Sturbridge fayer[163]."

[162] In the hundreds of Cheveley, Staine, Staplowe and Flendish and in
the Isle of Ely there were no vagrants found in the two watches kept on
Aug. 20th and Sept. 12th, Vol. 83, No. 36.

[163] In the hundreds of Wetherley, Thrylow, Armyngford and Stowe. At
Chesterton, Papworth and North Stowe, also in Cambridgeshire, eleven
vagrants were found and punished on the three days August 20th, Sept.
12th, and Oct. 12th, 1571, Vol. 83, No. 36.

When we remember that all the vagrants were taken in two or three
searches only and that it is probable that the more capable had ample
notice, the results indicate a considerable amount of disorder. On the
other hand, the fact that when the proportions are given so many are
impotent, and the frequent presence of children lead us to believe that
these wanderers were more often people in want than wicked plunderers
of their fellow-countrymen.

These orders of the Privy Council were directed towards the decrease
of vagrants, but in the replies of the justices we see the close
connection between measures of this kind and the relief of the poor.
Thus in Essex and Surrey advantage was sometimes taken of the clause
permitting the justices to put vagrants to service. At Barking and
Walthamstow masterless men were appointed to masters, and at Brixton
and Wallingford three out of thirteen were put to service[164]. But
the report from Worcestershire is more interesting and confirms the
information derived from the speech made by Mr Sands during the debate
in Parliament on the Bill of 1571[165]. The justices there said that
they had already taken measures to repress beggars and so found very
few in the searches now made; the few that remained there were licensed
by them but the "greter parte of the poore ar provyded for where they
dwell[166]." We can thus see that, though this whipping campaign
concerns vagrants, the question of vagrants was inseparably connected
with the care of the poor, and that these measures, although undertaken
with a view of preserving order, tended to lead to the better
organisation of relief.

[164] Barking and Walthamstow, Vol. 80, No. 26. Brixton, Vol. 80, 44. V.

[165] See above.

[166] Vol. 80, No. 55.

The next series of measures undertaken by the Privy Council concerns
therefore the supply of the markets during years of high-priced corn.

Even in the reign of Henry VIII. London and Bristol had bought a public
store of corn in order to prevent scarcity, and in 1528 and 1549 the
Privy Council had regulated the buying and selling of grain in order
to lower the price but had failed to obtain much result[167]. Between
1569 and 1597 there were three seasons in which corn was exceptionally
scarce, 1572, 1586, and 1594 to 1597. In each of these the Privy
Council issued similar orders and their action became more vigorous and
more successful as time went on.

[167] See p. 51.

The sudden rises in the price of corn were in a great measure caused by
the narrowness of the area from which a supply could come. There were
few means of rapid communication; the roads were bad and the supplies
of grain available for a particular district might be in the hands of
very few men. It was quite possible for the dealers of corn to prevent
corn from coming to a market, to buy up the supplies already there and
afterwards raise the price to an artificial height. This was considered
unfair according to the commercial morality of the time, and when it
was done in the case of a necessary of life it caused great hardship to
the poor.

In 1572 enquiries were made as to the price of corn in the Western
counties and in Norfolk and Suffolk. The replies received show that it
varied considerably even in adjacent counties. In Somerset best wheat
sold for twenty shillings a quarter, in Dorset it fetched sixteen,
it cost eighteen shillings in Norfolk, while in Suffolk it would be
purchased for only fourteen[168]. The next year a commission was issued
and the commissioners were empowered to order the farmers to bring
corn to market in proportion to the amount they possessed[169].

[168] _Dom. State Papers, Queen Elizabeth._

Norfolk and Suffolk, July 31st, 1572, Vol. 89, 1.

    Norfolk.              Suffolk.
  Wheat 18_s._          Wheat 14_s._
  Rye 13_s._ 4_d._      Rye 12_s._
  Barley 7_s._ 4_d._    Malt 8_s._ 8_d._

Western Counties, Vol. 88, No. 52.

                  Dorset.         Somerset.      Devon.       Cornwall.
  Best wheat 16_s._   a quarter    20_s._        26_s._ 8_d._   48_s._
  Seconds    13_s._ 4_d._  "       17_s._ 4_d._  24_s._         44_s._
  Rye        10_s._        "       16_s._        21_s._ 4_d._   32_s._
  Barley      6_s._        "       8_s._ 8_d._   16_s._         26_s._ 8_d._

  Abundant--able to export.     Sent to Devon,
                                  but no more
                                  to spare.

It is difficult to compare the prices in Devon and Cornwall with the
rest of the counties because the size of the bushel varied in Cornwall
and was often twice as great as that used elsewhere; in Devon also the
Winchester measures were not always used.

[169] The commission is dated Oct. 21, 1573: it attributes the high
prices to the greediness of corn-dealers who secretly export abroad,
and it empowers commissioners to order farmers to bring to market such
portions of grain as they prescribe, and to sell the same at reasonable
prices. They were also to advertise the Council of their difficulties,
to the intent the Council might assist them. _D. S. P._ Vol. 92,
No. 41. The rough draft of the Commission is amended in Cecil's
handwriting. _D. S. P._ Vol. 92, No. 40.

So far the measures adopted closely resembled those of 1527-8, but in
1586 the organisation had become more developed.

In April and May the Council issued letters to the justices of the
maritime districts and to twenty-three other counties ordering them
to see the markets supplied with corn and to prevent the abuses of
corn-dealers[170]. Notwithstanding there were symptoms of discontent.
The workmen in the west of England were suffering not only because the
price of corn was high but because there was a lack of employment in
the cloth trade. At Romsey certain rioters "pretend that the present
dearthe of corn and want of work hathe mooved them to attempt that
outrage." In Framloyde, Gloucestershire, there was "a mutinee by
the common people, who rifled a bark laden with malt." The justices
responsible for Romsey were told to have regard to "their Lordships'
late letters for the serving of the markettes and to deale with the
principall clothemen and traders theraboutes for the setting of the
people on worke[171]." Letters of the same kind were also sent to
Gloucestershire[172] and Somerset. In the latter we are told that the
spinners, carders and workers of wool lack "their comon and necessarie
foode, a matter not onlie full of pittie in respect of the people
but of dangerous consequence to the state." Her Majesty, therefore,
"tendring the one and careful of th' other" directs the justices to
call the clothiers before them and "require and command such of them
as have stockes and are of habillitie to employ the same as they have
heretofore don so as by them the poore maie be set on worke[173]."

[170] On April 29th, 1586, these letters were sent to the maritime
counties. On May 7th to eight of the home counties, and on May 22nd to
seventeen other counties and to Wales. _Privy Council Register_, Vol.
XIV. pp. 79, 98 and 119.

[171] _Ib._, p. 91, 6th May, 1586.

[172] See below.

[173] _Privy Council Register_, Vol. XIV. p. 93, 6 May, 1586. The
difficulty in the cloth trade was connected with the concessions
granted to the Merchant Adventurers. Their privileges forced the
English manufacturer to sell cloth to them only. When there was
a slackness in trade these concessions were always questioned or
annulled. In December, 1586, the Company say they will raise a stock
and buy more cloths than they can at present sell so that the workfolk
of Somerset and Wilts can be employed. If this fails they consent
that the trade shall be thrown open. This was apparently afterwards
done, but difficulties were still thrown in the way of the "Merchant
strangers." _Privy Council Register_, p. 237, Sept. 1587. The Earl of
Leicester wrote both to Walsingham and Burleigh on the subject. In
his letter to Walsingham he says the towns of the West, Bristol and
Hampton, are falling into decay, and there is an "exstraeme cry and
compleynt of y^e poore for lack of work such as have bin sett on work
heretofore by clothiers." The cause, the clothiers say, is because
they "can not have reasonable price nor utterance for their cloth in
London." He says that "sondry of the most hablest ... are worthie great
favo^r and thanks for they to ther great loss kepe more now on than
ever they did for the poor's sake." _Dom. State Papers, Queen Eliz._,
Vol. 200, Nos. 5 and 10.

With regard to the scarcity of corn the Council also took further
action. Burleigh carefully considered and amended a proclamation for
dealing with the difficulty[174]. The three judges, Popham, Mildmay
and Manwood, to whom the matter was referred for consideration, made
a series of recommendations[175]." These were embodied in a set of
orders, the draft of which is amended in Burleigh's own hand[176].
After being signed by the Council[177] these orders were issued early
in 1587 to the justices throughout the country[178]. They probably
formed the nucleus of the Scarcity Book of Orders of the earlier
Stuarts which in turn was the forerunner of the Orders and Directions
of January 1630/1.

[174] Lansdowne MSS., Nos. 48, 51.

[175] _Ib._, Vol. 48, No. 52.

[176] _Ib._ See Appendix.

[177] The Council appear to have held a meeting on the last day of the
year 1586 expressly to sign these orders. _Cal. of State Papers_, Dec.
31st, 1586.

[178] _Privy Council Register_, Vol. XIV. p. 277. On Jan. 2nd, 1586/7,
letters were sent to the "Lordes Archbishopes of Canterbury and Yorke
signifyinge her Majesties care for the releefe of the poore in this
tyme of derthe and scarsety for redresse wherof certen orders, by her
specyall commandement, are devysed by theyr Lordships; for furtherance
of which purpose theyr Lordships are prayed to geve order to the
Bishopes and Ordynaryes under theyr Dioces to instruct the curates,
ministers or preachers of the Word to exhorte the (people is here
struck out) of habylytye to extend charitye to the poore and them to
beare this visytation of God with patyence &c." Letters to the same
effect were written to the Lord Presydent of the Northe and the Lo.
Pres. of Wales, also "to all the sheeres of the Realme dyrected to the
Shryves and Justyces of the Peace."

These directions of 1587 commanded the appointment of juries who
were to make an elaborate survey of the amount of corn possessed by
everyone, and to state the number of people belonging to the different
households. The justices were then to allow each owner to retain as
much corn as was necessary for the food of his househood and for seed,
but were to order the rest to be brought to market. They were moreover
to use "all good meanes and perswasions ... that the pore may be served
of corne at convyent and charitable prices." They were also to see to
the execution of the laws for the relief of the poor, "that the maymed
or hurt soldiers and all other impotent persons be carefullye seene
unto to be relieved," and "that the justices doe their best to have
convenient stocke to be provided in everye division or other place
accordinge to the statut for settinge the pore a worke[179]."

[179] Lansdowne MSS., Vol. 48, No. 54. Printed in the Appendix.

Many reports from the justices were sent to the Council in answer both
to their letters and to the more elaborate set of orders of 1587. The
justices divided themselves so that some were responsible for each
division of the county[180]. They were present on market-days and saw
if there were a sufficient supply of corn, and tried to persuade the
owners to sell it at a moderate price[181]. They also took measures to
check the dealers in corn or badgers. A difference of opinion seems
to have existed as to the usefulness of these dealers. The Privy
Council thought them mischievous, but the justices of Gloucester find
them "honestlie demeaning themselves to be profytable members of this
our Commonwelth[182]." The justices often, as in Norfolk[183], made
detailed enquiries as to the amount of corn held by each farmer and the
number of his household, and in accordance with the information thus
acquired they ordered, as in Wootton, Oxfordshire, every corn holder
to bring a proportionate quantity of his grain to market[184]. In
Gloucestershire they went farther and also fixed the price at which it
was to be sold[185].

[180] Lincolnshire. The justices have divided themselves and sent a
list of those allotted to the different divisions. _Dom. State Papers,
Queen Elizabeth_, Vol. 189, No. 35. From Surrey the names of the
justices allotted to the different markets are enclosed. _Ib._, Vol.
189, No. 37. The names of the justices for the several divisions of
Huntingdonshire are enclosed, with a report signed by the Bishop of
Lincoln and a Henry and an Oliver Cromwell, &c.

[181] Berkshire. The justices attend the markets and "see the selling
of each kind of graine there at such prices as shall seme most
fittest." _D. S. P._, Vol. 189, 49.

Warwickshire. The justices of Hemlingford have attended the markets
"aswell to see the poore people provided necessarie corne as also to
use o^r best endeavours to ease them in the prices therof as much as we
could." _Ib._, Vol. 198, No. 77. III.

[182] _D. S. P._, Vol. 189, 50. The justices have licensed a certain

[183] Detailed reports were sent from Gyltcross, Shropham, South
Greenhoe, Wayland and Grimshawe. Vol. 191, 12. See Appendix. Most of
the replies sent in 1587 report the appointment of juries to search the
barns for corn. _Dom. State Papers, Queen Eliz._, Vol. 199, 43. I. II.;
Vol. 200, 16. The justices responsible for the nine hundreds of Caistor
Sessions say that in their division there were 13,536 "handicraftesmen
and poore people that have no corn."

[184] Vol. 198, No. 42. Considerably over a hundred farmers are ordered
to bring definite quantities of each kind of grain to particular
markets, generally either that of Woodstock or that of Oxford.

Vol. 199, No. 43. The farmers of Buckinghamshire have been bound to
bring their corn "by porcions weeklye to such marketts as we thinke
most fittest."

In Lancaster order has been taken that those who have to sell "shall
bring and sell the same in open markette or otherwise to their poore
neighbours." Vol. 200, No. 54. IV. In the hundreds of Caistor Sessions
also the poor people might buy away from the markets and the farmers
might deduct any grain sold to them from the quantity they were to
bring to market. Vol. 198, No. 21.

[185] The justices of Gloucestershire say that in their several
allotments they have "visited the marketts, seen the poore relieved
as we may, searched the barnes, storehouses and grenyers of farmers
and others hable to furnishe the marketts with corne, and having
consideration to theyr private families have in discretion appointed
them a certeyne quantytie of certen kindes of graine to be by them
brought weekelie to the markett accordinglie, and of such our
appointments have kepte books in writinge and doe finde therapon, that
as yet the said farmers and others doe fullfill our appointments in
this behalfe without any disobedyence. And further according to the
said your lettres we have sett downe several prices upon everie kinde
of graine within the severall divisions of this Shire, as in respecte
of the distaunce of the places and the present tyme of necessytie we
have thought most convenyent, after which rate we will herafter in our
several limitts have care to see the same solde as may be beste for the
relief of our poore neighbours." _Dom. State Papers, Queen Eliz._, Vol.
189, 50.

The Privy Council certainly trusted much to the justices, and both
farmers and markets were thoroughly regulated. One cannot wonder that
sometimes the corn owners were disobedient[186], though on the whole
the orders seem to have been loyally carried out. Even in our own
time the poor of Italy and Spain have suffered much from an attempted
"corner" in grain in spite of our rapid means of communication and
worldwide source of supply. The circumstances of 1587 must have made
organisation necessary, for the orders were successful, and when
reissued in 1594 it was especially noted that in 1587 they had done
"much good for the stay of y^e dearthe and for y^e relieving of y^e

[186] A letter was written from the Council to the justices of Notts
stating that the greate quantitie of corne of one Freston "should be
employed for relieving the necessitie of the shire." If he refuse
to follow their directions they are to take the corn and cause a
"quantitie to be solde at reasonable prices in the markettes adjoyning
for the reliefe of the poore people."

[187] Egerton MSS. 2644, f. 55.

Already in 1586 additional measures were occasionally taken for the
relief of the labourers and handicraftsmen. In Norfolk, "the poorer
sorte are by persuasion sarved at meaner pryces[188]"; while in the
county of Nottingham a philanthropic Duke of Rutland adopted the
following expedient, afterwards employed by public authority. When
it was known that there was likely to be a scarcity of grain, the
Duke caused his corn to be sold in small quantities to the poor two
shillings and eight pence under the market price. The justices tell
us that by these means "the greedines of a number was frustrated, the
poore releved, and the expectancy of excessive dearthe stayed[189]."

[188] Vol. 191, No. 12. See Appendix. In Bedfordshire the justices
for the hundreds of Manshed, Flett and Redbornestoke state that "the
farmers do sell to the poore labourers barley for xx^d y^e bushell and
ii^s the most," and that have so "promysed to do untill August next."
The ordinary price of barley as reported in the same document was 2_s._
8_d._ the bushel. Vol. 200, No. 10. I.

[189] Vol. 190, 14.

But, although the orders issued in 1587 especially command the
provision as well of adequate support for the impotent as of work for
the able-bodied, very few of the replies report any special action with
reference to these matters. There are however one or two exceptions.
Thus Arthur Hopton, a justice responsible for the hundred of Blithing,
states that 500 poor in adjacent towns were relieved with "bred and
other victuall," and that this should be continued for twenty-three
weeks[190]. Certain justices of Hemlingford also give an especial
charge to the collectors to see that all "the poore aged and impotent
persons w^tin everie township and hamlet be sufficientlie releeved as
they ought to be," and to "adde a weekelie supplie to the same former
reliefe," if the relief they had previously ordered were "too slender
for them by reason of the dearth." The justices also especially charge
the overseers[191] to see "that all the poore and idle persons in
everie towneship and hamlet w^{ch} are able to labour and want worke be
daylie set on worke ... towards the getting of their living according
also to the former orders made to that effect[192]." But generally the
action taken by the justices both in 1586 and 1587 mainly concerns the
supply of corn. Still the whole organisation was made chiefly in the
interests of the poor, and both the reports and the orders themselves
notice this fact[193].

[190] Vol. 198, 74.

[191] The appointment of overseers or collectors for the poor was first
ordered by the statute of 1572. In Hemlingford they seem to have been
two distinct offices.

[192] Vol. 198, No. 77. IV.

[193] In the orders themselves the justices are ordered to "use all
other good meanes that ar not menconed in these orders that the
marketts be well served and the pore releyved ... duringe this time of
dearth." The letters sent with them stated that the orders were devised
because of "Her Majestie's care for the releefe of the poore in this
tyme of derthe." See note above. Many reports show that the orders were
intended to help the poor. One from Kington, Warwickshire, is signed
by the Sir Thomas Lucy of Shakespearian fame and by Richard Verney.
The report is said to be sent "in the execution of the orders sett
downe by the lords of her mat^s moste honorable privie councell for the
desposinge of corne and graine in reliefe of the poore and furnishinge
the marketts." _Ib._, Vol. 198, 77. I. See also Beds. justices report
orders taken "for the staie of the dearthe of graine and the reliefe of
the poore therof." _D. S. P._ Vol. 200, No. 10.

In Buckinghamshire overseers were appointed "to see in our absence all
things dulye performed as well for the reliefe of the poorer sort as
otherwise." Vol. 199, I. II. IV. V., &c.

In 1597, as well as in 1586, the Privy Council endeavoured to supply
the poor with corn at reasonable rates, but it will be more convenient
to consider that attempt with the rest of the events of those years of
scarcity from 1594 to 1597[194].

[194] See Chapter VII.

As a rule in the reign of Elizabeth the object of these scarcity
measures was not so much to sell to the poor under price, as to arrange
by organisation that the supply of corn should be equally distributed
over the whole year, and that consequently the price of corn should
be more even for everybody. It was rather to prevent monopoly than
to organise doles. It was undertaken chiefly in the interests of the
poor because a lack in the supply of corn affected them most; it did
not only mean hardship, it meant starvation. It was undertaken by the
Privy Council partly with the desire of repressing disorder, because
insurrections and scarcity usually occurred together, and it was the
object of the Government to keep the people in their "obedience[195]."
But already the changed feeling of Parliament is found also in the
Privy Council: measures of organised relief were seen to be the most
effectual method of repression, and the closer study of the subject
resulted in greater care for the poor.

[195] In Devonshire the justices say there is not so much corn as they
could wish, but they think there will be "no greate inconvenience or
disorder." Vol. 189, 51. In Bedfordshire the report states no "manner
of person poore or riche founde anye falte for wante," nor did they
"move or attempte anye manner of disorder or strive for the same or
for any other cause, but were and remayne in verie good and dutyfull
obedience, god be thanked." Vol. 191, 6.

These general measures for the repression of vagrants and the supply
of corn are not only important to our subject because they directly
concern the relief of the poor; they are even more important on
account of their indirect connection therewith. In the first place
these measures brought the authorities both of the nation and of the
country into contact with the poor, and they were thus led to devise
more extensive measures for bettering the condition of their needy
neighbours; it became more and more a habit with them to regard matters
concerning the poor as a department of Government.

In the second place, by means of these measures dealing with corn and
vagrants the organisation was prepared which was afterwards used for
the administration of the relief of the poor. The letters of the
Privy Council to the justices, the allotment of the justices to their
different divisions, the supervision of the judges, and the reports to
the Privy Council were all utilised by the system established under
Charles I.

If this later system had been administered by a body of officials
untrained in the same kind of work, and unused to these methods
of administration, it would have had little chance of being well
administered. Such degree of success as was attained must have been at
least partially due to the fact that the measures for the punishment
of vagabonds and for the provision of grain preceded the more detailed
orders for the relief of the poor. The new orders were thus executed
by county and municipal officials trained to similar duties and used
to like methods of administration, and it was in this way that the
Elizabethan measures of scarcity have an important influence on the
growth of the English administration of the Poor Law.

[Sidenote: 8. The influence of the Privy Council upon the Corporation
of London.]

But sometimes the measures of the Privy Council were not general:
pressure was placed only on particular local officials. We will first
examine a few cases of this kind concerning the City of London. We have
already seen that in 1569 there were two sharp letters of the Privy
Council to the Lord Mayor censuring him for his neglect in matters
concerning the vagrants and poor[196]. In 1573 the Lord Mayor refers
again to the displeasure of the Council and had apparently received a
similar letter[197]. In this way therefore the Privy Council censured
neglect and commanded local officials to remedy the abuses of their

[196] See Chapter IV.

[197] _Journals_, Vol. XX. 1 f. 42, March 14, 1572/3.

Sometimes we see the authorities of London asking the advice of the
Council with regard to the measures that they have themselves prepared.
Orders for the poor were drawn up in 1579 and again in 1594, and in
both cases the Lords of the Privy Council were consulted[198]. The
Lords of the Council also call attention to particular difficulties.
In 1583 they recommend special measures to prevent the increase of
Irish beggars[199], and they repeatedly write to order increased
vigilance in enforcing the regulations against small houses and
tenements which have been newly erected[200]. Special matters are
sometimes arranged by them; in 1594 the City rulers are told to meet
the justices of Middlesex in order that they may take joint action
to repress vagrants[201]. Even details come under the notice of the
members of the Privy Council, and in 1596 they directed the Lord Mayor
to see that the corn in a particular ship was sold to the poor and not
bought up by dealers[202].

[198] _Journals_, 14 May, 1579, XX. No. 2, f. 483. "This daye the
residue of the Booke devised for the settinge of the poore on worke in
Bridewell was redd to the Comon Counsell." ... It was agreed "that it
shabe, as it is preferred to the consideracon of the lordes of your
ma^{tys} pryvie Counsell by the whole concent of this Court of Comon
Counsell and that Sir Rowlande Haywarde, Sir James Hawes, Mr Alderman
Woodcross, etc. shall travell in preferringe the same booke to the
lordes of the Counsell." 17 Nov. 1594, _Remembrancia_, II. 74.

[199] _Journals_, 21 f. 329 _b_, 28 Dec. 1583.

[200] _Remembrancia_, I. 495, 496, 514; II. 17.

[201] _Ib._, II. 75.

[202] _Ib._, II. 59.

The Council thus was apparently very well informed as to the condition
of affairs and had power to interfere with effect even in matters of
detail whenever the rulers of London were inclined to be slothful.

[Sidenote: 9. The pressure exercised by the Privy Council on other
local authorities.]

We have not the same detailed information with regard to other towns,
but we can see that this kind of action on the part of the Lords of the
Council was by no means confined to London. We find them writing to
Burghley himself and insisting on the appointment of Provost Marshals
in Hertfordshire and Essex who were to take especial care to repress
vagrants and idle persons[203]; they rebuke the Devonshire justices for
not providing properly for old soldiers and sailors[204]. They write
to Cambridge and order that care be taken to prevent the increase in
the number of tenements in the town[205], and they especially commend
the Norfolk justices for erecting a "fourme for the punishment of
loyterers, stubborne servantes, and the settinge of vagabondes, roages
and other idle people to work, after the manner of Bridewell[206]".

[203] _Cal. of State Papers_, March 17, 1590.

[204] _Quarter Sessions under Queen Eliz._, A. Hamilton, p. 19.

[205] The Privy Council write that they "are given to understand that
divers of the inhabitants of the Town of Cambridge seeking their
own private gain with the public hurt and incommodity of the whole
University and Town have heretofore accustomed to build and erect
houses upon sundry spare grounds in and about the said Town; but of
late and at this present especially they do not only increase and
continue the same but do more usually divide one house into many
small tenements and those for the most part do let and hire out to
the meanest and poorest persons, which tenements ... are a means ...
as we are informed whereby the University and Town are overburthened
in yearly allowance towards the maintenance of the poor." The Mayor
and Vice-chancellor therefore with the assistance of the "best and
discretest persons and officers of the University and Town" are to
cause inquiry to be made as to how many tenements there are and as to
how many people inhabit them, and are also to find out if the tenements
had been built or divided within ten years. They were then to take
measures to alter as many tenements and to remove as many of the
inmates as they should deem expedient. The letter is dated June 8th,
1584, and is signed by Burghley, Walsingham, and several other members
of the Privy Council. Cooper, _Annals of Cambridge_, Vol. II. p. 398.

[206] _Cal. of State Papers_, Vol. 133, No. 56.

There is enough to show that the Privy Council was often active and
that its interference had a considerable effect, but that before 1597
this interference was only occasionally exercised.

This pressure exerted by the Privy Council on justices and municipal
authorities becomes the most important factor in the development of
the English system of poor relief in the next century. Law was not yet
enforced merely because it had been enacted, and in regard to the poor
no force of continued habit as yet made public opinion compel negligent
officials to do their duty. So far men objected to pay rates; they were
not firmly convinced of the duty of the state to relieve the poor.

The pressure of the Privy Council was therefore necessary to enforce
the law. But the habit of interference in these matters and the
organisation that alone could make interference have much effect grew
very slowly. Before 1597 we can see this habit of interference and
this organisation growing, but as yet it is only utilised occasionally
and to meet some special emergency; it is not part of a general system
which almost everywhere commanded obedience.




  1. The organisation of London with regard to the poor.
  2. The organisation of Norwich.
  3. The action of other towns,
    (1) Concerning the settlement of new-comers.
    (2) Concerning the unemployed.
    (3) Concerning the raising of funds.
  4. The events of the years of scarcity 1594-1597.
  5. Summary of the period 1569-1597.

Improvement in the organisation for the relief of the poor during
the period from 1569 to 1597 is found in the local as well as in the
central government. We will now look at the local side of the question.
It is possible to obtain a fair idea of the kind of action adopted by
the rulers of shire and borough by examining first the measures of
London and Norwich in detail, and secondly some examples of the methods
of other towns and counties.

[Sidenote: 1. The organisation of London with regard to the poor.]

We have considered the action of the Privy Council with regard to
questions affecting the poor in London, but we have not as yet looked
at the measures themselves.

Some of these were designed to carry into effect the Act of 1572 which
we have seen was the first law that gave statutory authority for
compulsory assessment for the relief of the poor. In Sept. 1572 the
Mayor issued a precept to the aldermen which commanded each in his ward
to see that the constables and other "sad and discrete personnes[207]"
made certain inquiries about the poor of every parish. They were to
find out the names and surnames "of suche aged, decayed and impotent
poore people" as "of necessitie be compelled to lyve by almes," and
were to ascertain who had been born in the parish or had lived there
three years before the beginning of the last Parliament.

[207] _Journals of the Common Council of London_, Vol. XX. No. 1, f.

The Lord Mayor in issuing this precept relied on the municipal and
not on the parochial authorities. It was apparently unsuccessful, for
later commands were sent to the aldermen on Sept. 5th ordering them
to make these same inquiries through the churchwardens[208]. Three
days later more detailed instructions were given to the same effect.
The churchwardens and other responsible men in every parish were "to
examyne which poore are to be releved in everye of the said parishes
and to be provided for according to the last statute made for that
purpose." The aldermen were to set down the names of the poor and
how long they had dwelt in the City and how much each of them ought
to receive "that they nede not begg." They were then to make an
assessment of "everye Inhabitant that nowe payeth nothinge" to help
his needy neighbours and, if there was any cause to increase the sum
paid by any rich man, they were to note what increased amount they
thought necessary[209]. Thus the old voluntary payments seem to become
the basis of the first assessment under the new statute, while a few
wealthy and stingy givers were coerced.

[208] _Journals of the Common Council of London_, Vol. XX. No. 1, f. 24.

[209] _Ib._ f. 25.

Unfortunately the fund thus raised was not sufficient and efforts
were made to reduce the expenditure and to collect the whole of the
amount assessed. The aldermen were to summon the governors of the
hospitals and were to interview the poor people themselves as well as
the churchwardens. They had then the unpleasant task of lowering the
pensions already granted because "the colleccon all readie appoynted
will not serve to advance suche ample pencons." They had also carefully
to see that no one received anything who was not born in the parish
or an inhabitant for the full time appointed by the statute[210]. By
these means it was hoped that it would not be necessary to spend
more than the sum raised by this semi-voluntary poor-rate. In March,
1573, the contributions for the next year became due while some of the
contributions for the previous year were still in arrear; the Lord
Mayor found it necessary to complain of the negligent execution of the
statute for the poor "by reason whearof this Cittie before this tyme
bearinge the name of a Lanterne to all other the Quene's maiestie's
domynions in example of good order and due execucon of good Laws is
accompted to some farre behynde other places in the due execucon of
this statute to the greate greffe of well willers to the same[211]."
Henceforward every part of the precept concerning the poor was to be
"dulye and carefullie put in execucon."

[210] _Ib._ f. 32 b.

[211] _Journals_, f. 42.

By next year it was evident that even if the assessments were properly
paid the funds would be insufficient. The Mayor therefore fell back
on the old plan of collections in the churches after the Sunday
sermons[212]. An ancient custom of the City was also utilised. The
Companies in state attended by turns the sermons in Easter week at St
Mary's Spittal. Special collections were then to be made for the poor
and the money given to the Mayor that it might be distributed where
there was most need "by the handes of good and godly citizens[213]."

[212] _Ib._ Vol. XX., No. 1, f. 119.

[213] _Ib._ f. 122 b, 8th April, 1574.

In these precepts of 1572, 1573, and 1574 the City rulers employ
voluntary methods and avoid compulsory poor-rates as far as possible.
It is however evident that the voluntary subscriptions were inadequate.
The municipal basis of the organisation is strongly marked; the sums
collected under the assessments were to be paid to the governors of
Christ's Hospital and the chief part of the money seems to have been
expended by the City and not by the parochial officials[214].

[214] There is a statement of the accounts of St John's, Walbrook,
between Sept. 10th, 1572 and Sept. 11th, 1573. From this we learn that
the collectors received £16. 17_s._ 5_d._, and that £1. 6_s._ 8_d._ was
lacking of the assessed sum. £5. 3_s._ 4_d._ had been paid to the poor
of the parish, £9. 15_s._ 9_d._ to the Treasurer of Christ's Hospital,
while the collectors owed the remaining 18_s._ 4_d._ _Cal. of State
Papers_, Addenda, Sept. 11th, 1573. So far as this parish is concerned
therefore the amount paid to the central authorities was much greater
than that distributed in local pensions.

The City rulers also attempted to deal with the poor all over London
by an organisation founded upon a series of orders or articles for the
poor. In 1576 a set of regulations was issued dealing with the duties
of "the parish," of the "constables" and of "surveyors" with regard
to vagrants. The parishioners were to choose a surveyor every Sunday
who was to attend every night for a week and help the constable in the
search for sturdy beggars. Every fortnight at least the constable,
beadle and churchwardens were to visit the houses of all the poor
people in their districts and were to order any of the new arrivals who
were unable to support themselves without burdening the parish to be
sent away[215]. These commands only concerned vagrants and new comers
and are of far less importance than the regulations of 1579.

[215] _Journals_, Vol. XX., No. 2, f. 323.

In that year orders were issued which if carried out would have
provided methods for dealing with all classes of the poor and, but for
the Elizabethan phrases and Elizabethan whippings, we should be much
more inclined to think that they were passed by a London County Council
in 1899, than by the Corporation of the City in 1579. In August of that
year the Common Council resolved that "an Acte for the poore" should be
drawn up and considered, and a few days later the book was read to the
Council and "established as a lawe[216]."

[216] _Ib._ f. 498, 499 b, Aug. 4th, 1579. These orders have been
printed, and are often dated 1587. But they were first established in
1579 under the title of "Orders appointed to be executed in the Cittie
of London for setting roges and idle persons to worke and for releefe
of the poor."

There is a double basis for the administration of these regulations:
the vagrants were dealt with by the municipal system working through
the hospitals; the impotent by the parochial officials. Children
and the able-bodied poor came under the jurisdiction of both. The
vagrants were to be brought to Bridewell and there divided into three
classes. Those who were not diseased and did not belong to the City
were to be "dealt with according to the lawe," that is, they were to
be whipped and sent to their settlement. Those who were ill were to
go to St Thomas's or St Bartholomew's and when cured to return to
Bridewell and be treated in the same manner. But the "sturdy beggars"
whom "the Cittie by law is charged to provide for" were to be received
into Bridewell: they were to be "there kept with thin diet onely
sufficing to sustaine them in health" and were to be made to work at
the occupation for which they were most fitted[217]. If any vagrant
was skilful in any of these occupations and a citizen were willing to
employ him, the governors were to try to make arrangements for him
to be taken into service. Over the rest of the London poor also the
parochial officials were commanded to keep a strict watch. In each
parish the constable, churchwardens, collectors and six parishioners
were to make a general survey of all their needy neighbours. The name,
age and sex of each was to be noted and pensions were to be given to
those who were disabled. Children were to go to Christ's Hospital if
there was room, and if not were to be provided for by the parish. The
able-bodied poor were told to make "their mone" to the churchwardens or
collectors and were to obtain a "Bill" signed by two of them and then
to be provided with work at Bridewell or elsewhere.

[217] Orders 3 to 8, printed edition.

It is even suggested both that all the poor should be visited "daily if
it may be ... to see how they apply theyr work" and that "Such youth,
and other as are able to labour and may have worke and shal be found
idle shall have some maner of correction by the parents, or otherwise
as shalbe thought good in the parish. And if they wyll not amend they
shalbe sent to Bridewell to be reasonably corrected there." Thus the
two main features of these orders were first, that the parochial
officers were to exercise a very strict surveillance over all the poor
of their district and were to provide the impotent poor with outdoor
relief, and secondly, that the City officers were to punish vagrants
and find work for the unemployed. No one was to be allowed to settle
his own affairs; fellow citizens and fellow parishioners were to
provide work and see it done, and were also to see that the youth of
the City were well trained.

Some efforts were made to provide against some of the difficulties
which were likely to hinder the execution of these commands. In order
to lessen the charges as much as possible the governors were to try
to persuade the masters of ships to engage their men from Bridewell;
they also adopted the very modern expedient of registering the names of
employers who were willing to give work to the poor who were sent to
them[218]. The old regulation was reaffirmed that the goods made by the
poor should be sent to the Companies and paid for by them so as far as
possible to prevent competition between the pauper-made goods and those
of the free citizens.

[218] Order 52. "Also a note shall be kept in Bridewell of places and
persons where and of whome worke may be had, that poore in parishes
sent thether to require worke may be the better releved."

The funds necessary for carrying out this organisation were to be
provided by a tax of two-fifteenths and by revising "the bookes of
taxations for the poore[219]." Besides "for helpe of the Hospitals and
Parishes in this charge all churchwardens and collectors for the poore
be strayghtly charged to execute the lawe against such as come not to
church, against al persons without exception, and specially against
such as while they ought to be at divine service, doo spend their time
and their money lewdly in haunting of plaies and other idle and wycked
pastimes and exercises."

[219] Orders 57 and 59.

Some steps were taken to put these orders in execution and twenty-five
occupations were practised in Bridewell. Amongst these were such trades
as the making of gloves, silk lace, pins, bays, felts and tennis balls,
so that some of the workers must have required considerable skill[220].
But on the whole the new rules suggest the comment "Easier said than
done," and so apparently the City authorities found. The Lord Mayor
complains of the difficulty of keeping order in the City in consequence
of the increase in the number of the poor owing to the erection of
many small houses in Kentish Street just across the boundary of the
City[221]. Even in 1594 begging was not entirely abolished. In that
year a new set of orders was drawn up with the object of repressing
vagrants, and it is provided that "no suche poor people as by reason
of age and other infirmitie have been allowed heretofore to aske and
take almes of well-disposed persons be henceforth so permitted to doe
any more but that the wardes whear they inhabit be forced to maintain
them in some convenient sort without begging or straying[222]."

[220] Order 61 in the printed edition of the Orders, a copy of which is
in the Guildhall Library. _Journals_, XX. 2 f. 502.

[221] _Remembrancia_, II. 74.

[222] _Remembrancia_, II. 76.

The measures of London on the whole indicate a good deal of activity on
the part of the City rulers, but until the close of the period there is
little sign of success. In London as elsewhere it is a period rather
of the growth of organisation than of successful administration. Still
the kind of system adopted throws a great deal of light on the social
ideals of the time. The daily visiting of the poor and the constant
watch that was to be kept over them show that little respect was paid
to individual freedom. On the other hand the orders of 1579 indicate
that the municipality endeavoured to carry out the provisions of the
Elizabethan Poor Laws for the employment of those who wanted work and
the relief of all who were in need of maintenance.

[Sidenote: 2. The organisation of Norwich.]

But the system adopted by Norwich is the most remarkable of the
municipal organisations of the time. As early as 1565 the Dean and
Chapter granted St Paul's Hospital to the city. This hospital was
also called the "Systers of Normans" and had been used partly as an
alms-house and partly as a house of entertainment for poor strangers.
It was one of the conditions of the grant that the provision for the
poor should be maintained, and after 1565 part of the building was
made into a House of Correction for the poor who would not work[223].
The establishment of the Bridewell by itself was of little good, and
we hear that in 1570 the poor of the city were in a state of great
disorder, and that the citizens contrived to effect an entirely new
state of things. So well did they succeed that the fame of their
system was known in all parts of the country, and the Archbishop of
Canterbury asked for information as to their proceedings. The citizens
consequently drew up an account of their doings and a "copi of the
wrighting lefte with may L. of Cant. grace the 19 April 1572" is still
preserved[224]. There the citizens state that in 1570 there were more
than two thousand beggars in the city. That in consequence of this the
beggars were demoralised. They were idle and would not work at all,
they became wasteful and threw away the food given to them, and they
also became drunkards and lived wicked lives, and so were a scandal
to the whole town. Moreover, although beggars were fed, they were
improperly clothed and housed, and consequently contracted disease and
were a centre of physical as well as moral pollution. Besides, there
were no proper means taken to clear the city of strange beggars, and
the number of poor in the city continually increased. We are told also
that the statute (of 1563) was not successful in inducing people to
contribute sufficient alms "upon which occasion was forced to followe
compulsion," and a collection was therefore made both to restrain the
loiterers and to relieve the poor.

[223] J. Kirkpatrick, _History of Religious Orders, &c. of Norwich_, p.
219. The accounts of the Bridewell begins in 1565. In 1598 the House of
Correction was removed to St Andrew's.

[224] The following account of the transactions at this time concerning
the poor of Norwich is derived from two large folio volumes. They are
in manuscript and are bound in leather. One is entitled "The Maiores
Booke for the Poore." Inside the cover is written "This booke made in
the feaste of St John the Baptiste 1576. In the xviii^{th} yere of the
rayne of our soveraigne Ladie Elizabeth by the grace of god quene of
Enland, France and Irelande defender of the faithe and dothe containe
certaine orders made for the poore of the Citie of Norwiche as allso
the names of everie of them, the saide poore regestrede in everie
warde vewede. Beginnynge the xx^{th} day of June 1571 according to a
statut made. And allso what searcementes ware made for the wekelye
contribution unto suche as had neede of whome the same sholde be
receivede, and lykewise to whome the same sholde be payede. With the
names of the Deaconnes and collectors, tharefore appoyntede, in everie
warde to receive and make distribution thereof, according to the
same orders, and accordinge to the commandemente of Mr Maior and the
Justices from tyme to tyme." This book is continued down to the year
1579. The second book contains the proceedings from 1571 to 1580. Both
volumes often contain the same entries in almost the same words; the
census is given only in the first volume, the orders are fully quoted
only in the second. The contents of the "wrighting" to the Archbishop
of Canterbury are given in different versions in both books. Besides
this there is a little book containing in rougher notes the list of
poor who are to depart the City, to receive money or to be placed
with the "select women." Lastly there is a loose paper containing the
accounts of the different collectors, with the aldermen of the wards.

The condition of affairs here depicted shows that the relief of the
poor was an urgent practical necessity, and that when the existing law
proved insufficient the citizens had no hesitation in imposing other
regulations of their own.

They began by making an elaborate census of all the poor in the city.
They give the name, age, occupation and dwelling of every man, woman
and child of the poorer classes. They stated whether they received
alms or not, and they sent a small number away from the city or to the
House of Correction. The greater number they classified as "able to
work," "not able to work," and "indifferent." Most of these poor people
were able to work and very few altogether incapable[225]. There were
nearly four hundred men, more than eight hundred women, and almost a
thousand children thus enumerated. The men belonged to every kind of
trade, there were many weavers, tailors, carpenters and glaziers. The
women more often than not spun white warp. With regard to the children
it is astonishing how often the little boys of seven and eight go to
school[226] and sometimes also the little girls. Children of six are
often reported to be "idle[227]." We shall have many other proofs of
the fact that some attention to popular education was not a creation
of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but that it was fairly
general during the days of good Queen Bess and the first half of the
seventeenth century. Work was however begun sometimes by very young
children, especially by the girls. For example, Gifferne Potterne a
"cordiner and in worke and Anne his wife that botcheth" had three
daughters, the eldest was nine years old and span, while the others
went to school: two of the youngest workers were two daughters of
Christobell Roll, "the eldiste of the age of seven yeres," these packed
wool. There are many other entries of the same kind that show that the
children began to work when they were nine or ten or younger still.

[225] Thus in Middle Wymer the classification was as follows:--

            Indifferent   Able to work   Not able to work

  Men           20             50              14
  Women         32             89              13
  Children      58             52              69

In other districts a few were ordered to depart and one or two were
described as disreputable.

[226] Thus Richard Smith has one sonne "that goe to scole at times."
See Appendix.

[227] Thus the following is a fairly typical entry concerning a man
belonging to the parish of St John's on the Hill in the ward of

  In Nichols | Roger Mason of the age of 56 yeres tailor that worketh, and
   fleman's  | Elizabeth, his wyfe, of the age of 38 yeres that spins white
     house   | warpe and one daughter of the age of 6 yeres that is idle; he
 iii^d a weke| hath dwelt here 32 yeres.
    indiff.  |

See also Appendix where the part of the census relating to St Peter's
of Southgate is printed.

After the census had been made the Mayor, John Aldriche, issued a
proclamation forbidding begging altogether in the streets of Norwich
and ordering all strange beggars to depart. All the poor of the city
who could not work were to be relieved and the others were to be "set
on work." A new assessment was therefore made and the contributions
were in many cases considerably increased[228].

[228] The following are the first four names in the list for St John

                      p^d before    pay now

  Mr Haydon gent.        vid.        viiid.
  Mr Smyth                0d.        iiiid.
  Richard Blofield       iii           vid.
  Robert Spingold        iid.          iid. etc.

The poor who were to receive relief were then specified, and the
payments made to them though still small are greater than they had been
before. Other arrangements were also made: some were sent away from the
city; others were placed with the "select women"; masters were found
for the youths, and inquiries were made to see that servants were hired
for the whole year[229].

[229] Thus for example an order is made that "Elizabeth Browne of the
age of 18 years to be enquered for at John Croland, a duch man in St
Michael of Bearstreet, whether she be hired by the yere or elles to go
to service."

The Mayor was to be the Master of Bridewell, four aldermen were
appointed commissioners of the poor and all officers were to be
appointed by him. Regulations concerning Bridewell were made: a bailiff
was appointed and twelve incorrigible idlers were to be kept at work

[230] See Appendix for the orders for the "balie of Bridewell."

But besides Bridewell in every ward "select" women were to be
appointed, and they were to receive women, maidens or children "whose
parents are not hable to pay for theyr learninge." These were to be so
taught "as labore and learninge shall be easier than idleness," and
the work was to be done "trewelie and workmanlye" under pain of sharp
correction[231]. The deacons were to see after the rest of the poor;
to set those fit to service to serve, to place others with the select
women, to relieve those that wanted help and to see that none begged or
were brought up in idleness[232].

[231] See Appendix for the orders for children and others.

[232] See Appendix for the orders for deacons.

Besides all this an orphanage was refounded at St Giles' where twelve
children were to be brought up until they could maintain themselves.

A little later certain aldermen and commoners were appointed who
presented an elaborate series of orders to the assembly. These were
adopted and a very thorough organisation was introduced.

Begging was entirely prohibited and every beggar was to receive six
stripes with the whip; the people who gave to beggars were also to pay
the fine ordered by statute and fourpence for every time besides.

These orders were put in force about May, 1571, and when they had been
adopted about a year the citizens enumerate the great advantages they
had derived from them. "Theis orders have been attried," they write,
and "put in practize in the seyd Citie and is founde to redowne to
theis commodities thereafter ensuing."

They proceed to enumerate the sums earned by nine hundred children at
sixpence a week; of sixty-four men "which dailie did begge and lived
ydlie and now beinge forced to worke" earned on an average a shilling
a week; and of one hundred and eighty women who earned twenty pence
each a week "one with another." Strange beggars were sent out of the
city, and the poor were better looked after and no longer had need of
collections for the healing of their miserable diseases. Altogether
the citizens reckoned they saved £2818. 1_s._ 4_d._ a year in money.
Besides this the most disorderly kinds of people no longer resorted
to the city "and the magistrates trobles for them be marvellouselye

This organisation of 1570 was essentially a municipal organisation, but
we can see that the statutes considerably influenced the town rulers
of the time. They had tried the semi-voluntary system of collection
authorised by the statute of 1563, and had found that funds could not
be collected in this manner. They therefore employed more compulsion
without any hesitation. They punished "according to the statute" people
who gave to beggars, and they added a special fine of their own. The
statutes themselves made the organisation for the collection of funds
municipal as well as parochial and it is interesting to see this double
system in working order. The deacons collected the rates of their
particular parishes and paid the pensions granted to the poor. But it
was the Mayor or his deputies who saw that everyone was assessed at
the proper amount. The payments of a parish did not necessarily meet
the expenses; the rich parishes paid for the poorer ones. The deacons
accounted to the aldermen responsible for the ward; and some paid to
them their surplus while others received the sums necessary to make up
the deficiency[233].

[233] A paper among the Norwich records contains the sums paid to the
aldermen and the amount given by them to the deacons of the different
parishes. Other accounts in the "Maiores booke" show the sums given by
the deacons and by the commissioners for the medical treatment of the
poor. Thus in 1571-2 a deacon paid iiii_d._ to "Glavin's wife to heal
Tom Parker's leg," while Mr Thomas Beament paid 6/8_d._ to "Mother
Colls for healinge a broken legg of Margarete Paine, a pore wydow in
the Normans."

Norwich seems to have been the first English town to prohibit begging
altogether; the system of licensed beggars was still employed in most
parts of the country.

The detailed accounts for the poor of Norwich were preserved down to
1580 and show that the organisation was in full working order for
ten years. One of the compilations relating to this organisation was
begun in 1576 and the whole tone of this book shows that the citizens
of Norwich were very proud of their doings in matters concerning the
poor[234]. It is perhaps the only place where the purely municipal
organisation for the poor was successful for any length of time. There
were difficulties again in the seventeenth century but as long as the
first enthusiasm continued the system seems to have worked well.

[234] _The Maiores Booke for the Poore._ See note 1, p. 102.

The work was done thoroughly and placed on a sound basis. The House
of Correction and the select women were maintained by the side of a
sufficient collection for the relief and training of the poor, and,
probably for these reasons, the system continued to be successful as
long as the administrators continued to give it the necessary amount of

The citizens of Norwich seem to have partially overcome one of the
principal difficulties of a purely municipal organisation by very
rigorous settlement regulations, quite as severe as any that were ever
enforced after the statute of 1662. For instance a Jane Thornton is to
depart because she "in summer live in the cuntrie but in wint^r charge
the citie," and "Richard Birch and his familie" were to go to Thorpe
though he was not at this time (1570) in receipt of alms. There are
many cases of the same kind and these continue throughout this period
of ten years and occur again in the seventeenth century.

This kind of action with regard to new settlers was not confined to
Norwich but probably extended to all parts of the country where there
was much systematic relief of the poor.

[Sidenote: 3. The action of other towns.]

We will now consider some of the various plans for the relief and
organisation of the poor adopted in other towns.

We will first see how the municipal authorities dealt with settlement;
we will then investigate various methods of dealing with the
unemployed; and lastly we will examine the different ways in which
funds were collected.

[Sidenote: 3. (1) With regard to the settlement of new comers.]

With regard to questions concerning the expulsion of new comers the
statute of Charles II. (13 and 14 Car. II. c. 12) does not appear to
initiate a new custom. Municipal control in this matter begins before
1569. Whenever the town made a vigorous attempt to maintain its own
poor, many efforts were made to prevent new comers from settling within
its borders. Sometimes the landlords were forbidden to subdivide
tenements or build more houses of the poorer sort; sometimes the
citizens were fined for entertaining poor inmates, and sometimes the
inmates themselves were ordered to depart.

Thus in London the landlords first are restrained. In a resolution of
the Common Council of 5 Edw. VI. it is stated that "capytell messuages
and houses" had been turned into alleys and the class of vagabonds was
greatly increased. It is therefore ordered that the inhabitants of
these alleys should pay their rent to the House of the Poor in West
Smithfield and not to their landlords[235].

[235] _Journals_, Vol. XVI. f. 127.

In Aug. 1557 it is not only the landlords but the occupiers who are to
blame, and they are ordered to put out of their houses "vagaboundes,"
"masterles men" and "evill disposed persons," and in future not to
receive any one of the sort[236].

[236] _Ib._ Vol. XVII. f. 42 _b_

The municipal rulers of Ipswich also, in 1557, the year in which a
compulsory Poor Rate was enforced, appointed "searchers for newcommers
into the Towne[237]," and in 1578 provided that searches shall be made
forthwith "for new commers and servants, retained for less than one
yere," and that the constables are to warn new comers to depart the

[237] Nathaniel Bacon's _Annals of Ipswich_, p. 249.

[238] _Ib._ p. 319.

In Cambridge in 1556 an inquiry had been made concerning new comers
but apparently the town rulers were not very vigilant, for in 1584 the
Privy Council ordered them to remove as many small tenements as might
be consistent with the public convenience[239].

[239] C. H. Cooper, _Annals of Cambridge_, Vol. II. p. 398. See note p.

In St Albans as at Norwich we find that the regulations were very
complete. In 1586 monthly searches were instituted: and the searchers
were commanded "in the limits of their several Wards" to "make search
for such new comers to the town as being poor may be likely to be
chargeable to the same, and if they shall find any such within either
of their several Divisions to give notice thereof to Mr Mayor, that
order may be taken for their sending away[240]." We hear of orders
made for the expulsion of particular poor people because they were
likely to be in need of relief, and in some cases we can see that this
practice caused great hardship to individuals. Thus John Tompson, a
joiner, had taken a poor woman into his house and as she was likely to
become chargeable she was ordered to quit the borough[241]. Moreover
we have the later plan of finding sureties already in operation.
John Palmer was admitted a freeman, a Thomas Browne undertaking that
Palmer's children should not become chargeable to the Borough[242].

[240] A. E. Gibbs, _The Corporation Records of St Albans_, Oct. 1st,
1596, p. 14.

[241] _Ib._ Ap. 15th, 1588, p. 24. Orders for sending poor people away
in order that they might not become chargeable were made on many other
occasions. _Ib._ pp. 12, 26 and 45.

[242] _Ib._ Feb. 5th, 1587/8, p. 24. See also p. 37, Oct. 19th,
1590. Gabriel Hill, a new comer, was brought before the Mayor to give
sureties that he and his wife and children should not become chargeable
to the borough. Sept. 1st, 1593. Nich. Cobell had to give sureties,
bring a testimonial from his former parish, pay 4_d._ quarterly towards
the parson's stipend and a certain sum weekly to the poor.

We thus see that the statute of Charles II. did not impose hardships
on the poor never before endured. It is a curious instance of the
adoption by statute of a custom that had long existed. The custom had
been enforced without statutory authority while the town government
continued to possess semi-independent powers, but it could not be
enforced without statutory authority in later times. The statute
therefore stereotyped a custom that had long been in existence in the
towns and would otherwise have become obsolete.

This practice of preventing settlement has a far closer connection with
the social order of the reign of Elizabeth than with that of Charles
II. It was a great hardship to the poor, but it was a hardship to which
they had long been partially accustomed and which fitted in with the
economic policy of the towns.

In most towns the right of exercising skilled trades and of opening
shops was denied to any but freemen so that many difficulties were
already imposed on the settlement of new comers. The organised relief
of the poor increased these difficulties, it is true, but it did not
altogether create them.

But it is more interesting to examine the experiments of the time with
regard to the unemployed.

[Sidenote: 3. (2) The action of towns with regard to the unemployed.]

In some districts a stock of materials was purchased either by private
charity or by municipal funds. Portions of these materials were given
to the poor that they might manufacture them. The finished article
was then returned and afterwards sold, while the worker was paid
according to the value of his labour. Sometimes a master was employed
to teach the trade. Thus a Mr Watts left certain lands to the Mayor and
Corporation of Rochester partly for this purpose. An old parchment roll
contains the rules of the charity. The Mayor was to choose one honest
citizen or several as "Providours of the Poore." The "Providours" were
directed to buy flax and wool "to set the poor to work." This was to be
worked into yarn and the spinners were to be paid for their labour. The
yarn was to be sold in the open market, if possible, at a profit[243].
The same kind of plan was probably in operation at Canterbury and
Colchester. Archbishop Grindal bequeathed a hundred pounds to
Canterbury[244] for the purpose of providing the needy inhabitants
with work, and Lady Judde left a like sum to Colchester "as a stock
to buy and provide from time to time Wool, Yarn, Flax and such other
merchandize and things as the season should require; for the setting on
work such poor persons, inhabiting within the said Town, and Liberties
of the same, as should be able to work and labour[245]."

[243] _Hist. Man. Com. Rep._ IX. App. 1, p. 286. The will was made
in 1579, and six years later an agreement was made with the widow
under which the Mayor agreed to purchase hemp as directed. _Hist. of
Rochester_ (S. Denne), p. 220.

[244] W. Somner, _Antiquities of Canterbury_, p. 273.

[245] P. Morant, _Essex_, Vol. I. p. 164.

In St Albans we know more of the details of the experiment and find
that there training was provided as well as employment and the funds
were furnished by the town. In 1588 the town rulers engaged a Dutchman
named Anthony Moner to teach the poor of the town to spin worsted and
other yarns[246]. Eight pounds were taken from the town chest in order
to pay for the looms, combs and wheels which were to be used. Inquiries
were made throughout the town for poor children who could be spared
to learn the new trade; they were to be taught in six weeks and then
paid for their labour[247]. About the same time terms were arranged for
four men to be taught by the Dutchman. When taught they were to be paid
through "the Company[248]," so that apparently the custom of St Albans
was like that of London; the work of the poor was sold through the
Company representing the citizen workers of the same occupation. The
corporation paid £10 for the original stock of wool and every two tods
were to be paid for when the next were fetched[249]. The undertaking is
therefore partly an example of the employment of the poor by municipal
capital and partly an early instance of technical education provided by
town rulers.

[246] A. Gibbs, _Corporation Records of S. Albans_, p. 28, June
10th, 1588. The spinning of fine worsted and certain light yarns was
introduced into England about this time, and was taught mainly by the
foreign refugees from France or Holland.

[247] _Corporation Records of S. Albans_, Sept. 2nd, 1588. The next
year it was agreed that the children should be paid for their labour
when they had been taught six weeks. _Ib._ Jan. 20th, 1588/9.

[248] _Ib._ Feb. 17th, 1588/9.

[249] _Ib._ Sept. 29th, 1588.

Something of the same kind was probably done at York. In 1578, £400
was raised for "settyng the poor of this citie on worke," half of
which was contributed by the city and half from the money of Sir
William Bowes. In the will of Thomas Brafferton money was also left
for this purpose and more detailed directions were given as to its
use. A stock of wool, flax or hemp was to be bought and "delivered
within the parishe of Thornabie to be by them wrought and made into
cloth and the poore people for the working thereof to be paid after
such rate as nowe or hereafter shallbe used for such lyke work within
the said parishe[250]." In 1591 proposals were made for the same kind
of undertaking at Lincoln, and a technical school was established
at the expense of the corporation[251]. At Leicester also the town
contributed money on several occasions to set the poor people to
work[252]. In 1597 the Court of Quarter Sessions in Devonshire make an
order that means for setting the poor to work should be provided by the
local justices as if this were quite a usual practice[253]. There is
no reason to suppose that the instances above quoted are exceptional.
There is however more evidence on the subject during the next period.

[250] "City of York in the Sixteenth Century," Miss Maud Sellars. _The
English Historical Review_, April 1894, pp. 288, 289.

[251] _Lincoln Hist. Man. Com. Report_, XIV. App. viii.

p. 74. On July 31, 1591, "A committee appointed to confer with Mr Grene
of Boston who has offered to set 400 poor people of Lincoln on work for
five years at wool, if the city will find him a convenient house and
lend him 300_l._ freely for the five years."

p. 17. Among the manuscripts described is a "fragment consisting of
eight small quarto leaves of a book of orders made in 1591 and 1592
respecting a knitting school established by the city." This contains
the following information:

8th Oct. 1591. Cheeseman undertakes under certain conditions to teach
a competent number of women and men how to knit and "to hide nothing
from them that belongeth to the knowledge of the said science." Four
aldermen were appointed overseers.

28 July, 1592. Forty stone of wool to be provided.

4 Aug. 1592. Articles of agreement made at the Knitters House in St
Saviourgate between John Cheeseman and Francis Newby.

In this agreement Francis Newby and his wife Jane undertook to attend
regularly at Cheeseman's house to learn his trade of knitting,
spinning, dressing of wool and keeping his mill. Newby and his wife
were to have the oversight and teaching of thirty scholars. They were
to be paid 40_s._, twopence for every pair of stockings knitted by a
scholar and the full price of their own work. They were also to have
such profit as might arise from "amending and footing all stockings"
brought unto them.

On the same day it was agreed by the Corporation that the Knitter
should be paid 16_s._ 8_d._ for ten wheels which he had provided and
the overseers arranged to visit the school in turn.

This Lincoln school very closely resembles the experiment tried at St
Albans. It shows the corporation attempting to provide employment and
technical education at the same time for the children of the town.

[252] For Leicester see _Growth of English History and Commerce_, W.
Cunningham, Vol. II., p. 60 note.

[253] Alexander H. A. Hamilton, _Quarter Sessions from Queen Elizabeth
to Queen Anne_, p. 16. At Windsor also the following resolution was
adopted: "All the brethren of the hall and all other inhabitants shall
be assessed according to their ability by the subsidie after the rate
of 12_d._ in the pound towards levying of a stock to set the poore on
work." Mr Gwyn and Mr Harris were appointed Governors of the poore for
the first year. _Annals of Windsor._ I. 637. Tighe and Davis quoting
Ash. Mans. No. 1126.

But perhaps more often a workhouse or hospital was erected. At Reading
one was built on the site of the house of the Grey Friars. This
hospital contained twenty-one children and fourteen old persons. The
funds were provided by the poor's box, by private contributions, by
collections in the three parishes, and by the work of the poor. The
accounts are in existence from 1578 to 1648, and the value of the work
of the poor was very considerable. For the fourth quarter of the year
1578 it amounted to £12. 8_s._ 8_d._[254], and this at a time when the
ordinary sum paid for the maintenance of an adult poor person was about
a shilling a week. There were also Poor Houses at Colchester and at
King's Lynn[255].

[254] Coates' _Reading_, pp. 307-8.

[255] Morant's _Essex_, p. 182. For King's Lynn see Chapter XI.

But the most general arrangement made for the unemployed poor and
for vagrants was the erection of a House of Correction. The House of
Correction before the Civil War was not in all cases nearly so much
like a gaol as it afterwards became. Often it was also a hospital for
the old, and an industrial school for the young. Christ's Hospital at
Ipswich is a good example of this kind of institution. This hospital
was founded in 1569 and was controlled by the town. Governors were
elected yearly who were to meet every week, and a paid official called
a guider was appointed to look after the poor there. In 1594 and
in 1597 such guiders were elected and the orders drawn up on these
occasions tell us the nature of their duties. In 1597 for every person
sent to the hospital who was to be forced to work and "corrected" the
guider was to receive fourpence, after that he had nothing for their
keep but their work. But for others who were sent to Christ's Hospital
and were not to be "corrected," twelve pence a week was paid, and the
value of their work also. In the orders of 1594 the guider is allowed
eightpence a week for those unable to work, and special provisions were
made about the clothing of the children[256]. It is thus quite evident
that at Ipswich the hospital was used, not only for vagrants, but also
for children and for the impotent; not only for people who deserved
punishment, but also for people who were simply in need of relief.

[256] Bacon's _Annals of Ipswich_, 25 Oct., 1594, and 8 Dec., 1597.

In the well-known example of the House of Correction at Bury the scale
of diet and daily routine are specified. There were two principal
meals, dinner and supper, and on days when meat was eaten everyone
was to have eight ounces of rye bread, a pint of porridge, a quarter
of a pound of meat and a pint of beer; on the fast days instead of
meat one-third of a pound of cheese or one or two herrings were
provided. Those that behaved well were allowed a little bread and beer
in addition, and those that would not work were limited to bread and
beer only. On the whole the diet compares favourably with that of a
modern workhouse. All were to rise at four in the summer and five in
the winter, and had to work until seven, with intervals for morning and
evening prayer. The amount of punishment was minutely regulated; the
"sturdy rogues" were to receive twelve stripes, while those guilty a
second time of "unchaste or unchristian speeches or behaviour" received

[257] Regulations of a House of Correction at Bury, 1589. Printed,
Eden, _The State of the Poor_, Vol. III., Appendix vii.

Many Houses of Correction were built in the later days of Queen
Elizabeth. The "moste parte" of the hospital of Reading was to be
converted into a House of Correction in 1590 "aswell for the settinge
of the poore people to worke, being able to worke for theire reliefes
and for the settinge of idle persons to worke therein as also for
the punishinge and correctinge of idle and vagrant persons[258]." At
York also in 1584, arrangements were made at St Anthony's "for the
punnyshment of such rooges as will not worke[259]."

[258] _Records of the Borough of Reading_, Vol. I. p. 403.

[259] "The City of York in the Sixteenth Century," _The English
Historical Review_, April 1894, p. 288.

Bristol, Winchester, Gloucester and Exeter also founded institutions
of the kind, but at Exeter though one was founded there was some
difficulty connected with it, and we are told that the citizens
"afterwards repented[260]."

[260] Freeman's _Exeter_, p. 177. Seyer's _Bristol_, Vol. II. p. 248.
"This year 1577 was a collection for the erecting of a Bridewell at the
old house called Mombridge, where much cost in building and repairing
was done and one called Meg Lowrey was the first ill person there
corrected." Winchester _Cal. of State Papers_, April 24th and April
29th, 1582. Gloucester Rudder's _Gloucestershire_, p. 190.

Thus before 1597 many Houses of Correction were in existence, and,
though according to several authorities they were allowed to decay for
a time, in the next reign they became general.

But these were not the only methods by which the poor were set to work.
Pressure was put on employers both by public opinion and by official
authority. The Gloucestershire justices report concerning a disturbance
in 1586 and say the clothiers were not in fault, for "the clothiers
here doe yet contynue to keepe their poore in worke as in former tymes
they have donne althoughe it hath been to their greate losses; and soe
they are contented to doe as longe as they maie occupie their trade
without undooing of themselfs[261]." The fact that this report was
made shows that blame was attached to the employer who turned off his
workmen in bad times; to some extent the master and not the man was
expected to take the risk of the fluctuations of the markets. In 1591
the Town Council of Ipswich went further and ordered the clothiers "to
sett the poore on work" within the town, at the same time providing
that, if any refuse the work or misuse their material, they were to be
punished by the bailiffs[262].

[261] _Dom. State Papers, Queen Eliz._, Vol. 189, 50. The report goes
on to say that the clothiers will have to give up their trade, because
since they might only sell to English merchants they could not get
a good price. They say they were working at a loss of 6_s._ 8_d._ a
cloth. See p. 86 _supra_ for the Earl of Leicester's letter to the same

[262] Bacon's _Annals of Ipswich_, 1st April, 1591.

Thus the provision of work for the unemployed was made in many
different ways. Sometimes materials, teachers and implements were
paid for by municipal capital, often workhouses were established,
occasionally pressure was put on employers, and the most usual plan
of all was to establish a House of Correction, which was used both to
punish vagrants and to relieve the poor. But these attempts to provide
work, though numerous, were not universal and there is some reason to
believe that before 1597 many of these efforts had failed and needed to
be revived in the succeeding years.

[Sidenote: 3. (3) Methods of raising funds.]

The expenses of the organisation for the benefit of the poor were
largely a new charge on the public purse, and difficulty was frequently
experienced in finding the necessary money. Before 1572 there was no
statutory right to make rates for this object, but we have seen that
the borough authorities did enforce compulsory payments and levied
local rates for this and other purposes. The old methods were continued
and new ones tried during the period from 1569 to 1597. Sometimes the
basis employed was that used for national taxation. The chief direct
national taxes of the time were fifteenths and subsidies. A fifteenth
was nominally a tax on moveables, but after 1334 the total amount never
altered, and each town had to pay an invariable sum[263] which was
apportioned from time to time among the local inhabitants; lists would
thus be prepared of how much everyone had to pay, and these furnished
a convenient basis of local taxation. Probably the earliest compulsory
payment for the poor was the fifteenth levied in 1547 in London, and in
1579 two more fifteenths were imposed there in order to carry out the
organisation of that year[264]. At other times fractions of a subsidy
were exacted for local objects. In 1585 in order to meet "the charge of
the poore" at Ipswich the fourth part of a subsidy was levied "uppon
suche as are in the subsidy," while the rest were to be assessed by
a Committee "according to their best discretion[265]." At Bury also
the subsidy book was utilised for this purpose in 1589 when the House
of Correction was founded. Every person whose land was rated "in the
subsedy booke" at twenty shillings was to pay sixpence in the pound,
and every person "being sett in the subsedye book at 3 _li._ goods to
paie IIII^d[266]."

[263] Thus a fifteenth at Reading raised "xxiiii_li._ xiii_d._ ob. ut
patet per recordum in Scaccario domini Regis inde factum et per veterem
compotum per collectores inde similiter factum." _Records of Reading_,
I. 87, 1489.

[264] See p. 30. See Cannan, _The History of Local Rates_, p. 20.

[265] Bacon, _Annals of Ipswich_, 8th Oct. 1585, p. 344.

[266] Regulations of a House of Correction at Bury, Suffolk. Eden, Vol.
III. Appendix vii.

Another method of collecting money for the poor was by means of local
dues. At Ipswich tolls were exacted from ships entering the harbour,
and payments were also made by all who were admitted freemen, by all
who had "a writing acknowledged," and by all who had a witness examined
before the bailiffs in writing[267]. Sometimes fines and payments by
individuals for particular privileges were devoted to this purpose. At
Ipswich those who opened shops on Sunday paid their fines to Christ's
Hospital. A parson who had incurred a penalty by suing for too much
tithe was ordered to deliver to the hospital "60 combes of tanne[268],"
and a man of St Albans obtained a license to keep an alehouse before
anyone else on condition that he paid twopence weekly towards the
support of a certain orphan[269]. Akin to this method of raising money
was the practice of persuading a man to take a town apprentice in
return for the freedom of the town or some other privilege[270].

[267] Bacon's _Annals of Ipswich_, 19 Sept. 1571, p. 292, and 1575, p.

[268] _Ib._ 16 July, 1571. A burgess who neglected to attend the Great
Court was fined fourpence "to the use of the poore." _Ib._ 5th Mar.
1568, p. 279.

[269] A. Gibbs, _Corporation Records of St Albans_, p. 46.

[270] At St Albans in 1587 two men were reported for carrying on their
trade as fullers without being freemen. It was resolved that one of
them should have his freedom if he would bring up one of the children
of a widow Floyd until it could get its own living. _Corporation
Records_, p. 27. At Ipswich Peter Ray, a tailor, was made a burgess
provided he took an apprentice from the hospital. Nathaniel Bacon's
_Annals of Ipswich_, 22nd July, 1575, p. 306. In Ipswich also a
"fforainer" having a town child as his apprentice was allowed to
trade with his linen cloth in the town on market-day so long as the
apprentice remained with him. _Ib._ 24th April, 1599, p. 398.

Soon after the accession of Elizabeth new methods began to be adopted,
and a special scale of payments was fixed where the poor were
concerned. In 1570 at Norwich the citizens neglected to give according
to their ability and so compulsion had to follow. The basis of the
first assessment was the old voluntary collection. If a new-comer
arrived after 1576 he was taken to the mayor or his deputy and assessed
by him at a suitable sum[271]. In London also we have seen that the
first assessment under the statute of 1572 was based on the payments
formerly made, but the amounts were to be increased when there was
any cause. In Ipswich also by 1579 there was apparently a special
assessment for the poor, for it was then ordered that "all the persons
in this Towne rated to pay to the poore, shall presently pay soe
much mony as by computation his rate shall amount unto for one monthe
and neverthelesse continue the paym^{ts} of their rates as they are
rated[272]." It seems that in Ipswich the practice of levying poor
rates according to the value of the house was already adopted.

[271] Orders given to the "Overseers of everie parish" in 1576, 1577,
1578, entered in the "Maiores Booke for the Poore."

[272] Bacon's _Annals of Ipswich_, 4 Dec., 1579.

Sometimes a large sum of money was raised at one time to form what was
called a "stock." This fund was let out at interest to various people
or invested in land and the sums arising from this interest or rent
were used though the capital remained untouched. During the reign of
Elizabeth the various public bodies lent out a good deal of the money
in their hands in this manner. In 1584 there was an inquiry into the
management of funds so raised at Winchester and the bishop sent a
declaration on the subject to the Council. Some of the money had been
used for the poor in the parishes and some for the House of Correction.
A hundred and twenty pounds had been given for the use of the poor
in the parish of Twiford; this had been lent at the rate of ten per
cent. and the £12 so obtained had been or was about to be distributed
to the poor[273]. The large sum of £1009 had been spent on the House
of Correction and no proper account was made. In future, however, the
justices were to levy a rate on the parish so that no parish paid more
than fourpence a week and so that the average amounted to twopence.

[273] The gentlemen responsible for the sums belonging to the other
parishes were not present, but it was resolved that these funds
also should be lent on good security and the interest only used for
distribution "so that the stocke may still remayne to the like reliefe
of the poore hereafter." _Dom. S. P. Qu. Eliz._ Vol. 173, No. 62.

Thus we see that during this period all kinds of plans were tried.
There was no attempt to enforce any theory that the required sum ought
to be levied according to the value of lands occupied or according to
the wealth of the payer. The authorities were sorely puzzled how to
raise the money and adopted any plan that was likely to be successful.

[Sidenote: 4. The events of the years of scarcity 1594-1597.]

We will now consider the events of the years of scarcity from 1594 to
1597, both so far as they concern the central Government and so far as
they concern local officials. They are interesting both because of what
the authorities did during these years and because of what they failed
to do. The year from Sept. 1572 to Sept. 1573 was the last in which
the average price of wheat was under 20/- a quarter. From 1594 onwards
there was a succession of bad harvests owing to the excessive amount
of rain. Wheat quadrupled in price, and barley and rye, which were the
grains ordinarily used for the bread of the poor, rose nearly in the
same proportion[274].

[274] The prices given in the _History of Agriculture and Prices_ are
as follows:

                                  Wheat.             Barley.              Rye.
  Average price per quarter   23_s._ 8¼_d._   12_s._ 10½_d._   17_s._ 2½_d._   Prices are
    of 10 years  1583-1592                                                              not given
  Sept. to Sept. 1594-5       37_s._ 7½_d._   16_s._              32_s._             in 1590
    "        "   1595-6       40_s._ 9½_d._   21_s._ 4_d._        34_s._ 2½_d._   and 1591
    "        "   1596-7       56_s._ 6¼_d._                       52_s._ 9½_d._
    "        "   1597-8       52_s._ 4½_d._   25_s._ 5¼_d._   36_s._

In July 1597 the price reached 96_s._ a quarter at Newcastle. Hatfield
MSS. VII. p. 296.

In 1594, the Privy Council ordered the reissue of the orders of 1587,
and the justices were directed to meet together that they might devise
means of putting them in execution[275]. In 1595 further efforts were
made to enforce these instructions of the Government. The justices
dwelling near London were called to the Star Chamber, and an oration
was delivered to them by the Lord Keeper, which had been committed to
him by the Queen herself without any direction from the Council[276].
He stated that the old custom of making an oration at the beginning
of term had been discontinued heretofore, "but now, considering the
presente scarsitye her Ma^{tie} of her own speciall care and regarde
to her louinge subiectes hathe gyven in charge to us[277], to delyuer
in this place her owne speciall direction for the redresse hereof."
The justices were to overlook "the certificates in former times made
accordinge to some former orders in that case provided" and were
to punish the offences of "corne maisters and mongers" with great
severity. They were to go to the markets and persuade the farmers to
bring their corn, and if need be "to use there authoritie therein."
They themselves, assisted by all those of the better sort, were "to
make a somme of monie" and therewith to buy corn to be sold in every
market without any profit. Moreover the justices were to repair to
their country homes and maintain a hospitable house. The Lord Keeper
also complained that there were too many justices, and Her Majesty
"therefore like a good huswyfe looking unto all her houshold stuffe"
had herself marked the names of some who were no longer to continue in
the commission. Those that remained were to look to the execution of
the statute of retainers, to the keeping of "waches for the punishing
of rouges and idle persons," and "were to exercise Justice with a
Herculean courage[278]." At the same time the Council sent orders to
some particular justices. In 1595 they apparently sent to the justices
of Devonshire and advocated selling corn underprice to the poor: the
justices reply there was no need for such a step for the markets are
well furnished and the price falling[279]. But as a bad harvest again
followed the distress became worse. In 1597 the Lord-Lieutenant also
wrote to the Devonshire magistrates commending the relief of the poor
to their especial care, and this time the Court of Quarter Sessions
immediately issue orders for their relief. The Constables were to
"take a view" of all the poor and of all the wealthy people in the
district and to report the result to the justices. One, two, three
or more people were to have one or two meals given them every day by
each householder. If the householder failed the justices might make
an order for a payment, not exceeding eighteenpence a week "for every
pole." In addition a special rate was to be imposed for setting the
poor to work[280]. Moreover the Lord Chief Justice admonished the
justices of Wiltshire in 1597 probably under instructions from the
Council. The justices are ordered to see that the farmers "allowe one
bushell in every quarter to be solde by the pecke and halffe-pecke to
the poore at eightepence the bushell under the ordinarie price of the
market[281]"; they are also to take care that the markets are well
supplied with corn.

[275] Egerton MSS. 2644. Copy of a set of orders sent by Henry Mildmay
to the justices of a division of Essex. It is signed by Burghley and
other Lords of the Privy Council, and states that the orders issued in
Jan. of the 29th year of the Queen's reign were now renewed and that
these justices were to meet and put them in execution.

[276] "Par sa devise demesne." _Les Reportes del Cases in Camera
Stellata_, 1593-1609, John Hawarde, edited by W. P. Baildon, F.S.A., p.
19. Hawarde was a barrister of the Middle Temple: he wrote his volumes
from rough notes taken in Court, but does not seem to have verified his
references. _Ib._ Introd. p. vii.

[277] The Lord Treasurer and Lord Keeper.

[278] _Les Reportes_ (_l.c._) p. 21. June 3rd, 1595. On July 1st,
1596, the justices were again addressed and ordered to return home "in
regarde of eminent daungers." _Ib._ p. 56.

[279] A. Hamilton, _Quarter Sessions from Queen Elizabeth to Queen
Anne_, p. 17.

[280] Hamilton, _Quarter Sessions_, p. 16.

[281] Add. MSS. Brit. Mus. No. 32092, f. 145. See Appendix.

The Earl of Bath received letters concerning the high prices of corn at
Barnstaple and "he with other justices came to town, viewed the market
and set the price upon corn there, to wit wheat 9_s._, rye 6_s._,
barley 5_s._, oats 2_s._, threatening the seller with duress if he
sold for above that price[282]." Very little grain was to be had even
at high prices, and a Mr Stanbury was deputed to go to London in order
that he might help to purchase corn for the town. "God speed him well,"
writes Wyot, "that he may procure some corn for the inhabitants of this
town in this time of scarcity, that there is but little cometh to the
market and such snatching and catching for that little and such a cry
that the like was never heard." Barnstaple was not, however, at the end
of its troubles[283]; in 1597 wheat was sold at 15_s._ and 20_s._ the
bushel, and many of the inhabitants must have starved.

[282] In May 1596 the price of wheat at Barnstaple was 11_s._, rye and
barley 8_s._, oats 2_s._ 4_d._ "whereupon upon letters sent to the
Earl of Bath" presumably from the Council, he set the prices mentioned
in the text. _Barnstaple Records North Devon Herald_, June 3rd, 1880,
quoting from Wyot's Diary. Wyot's Diary is described as a small
quarto book of 52 leaves purporting to contain extracts from an older
manuscript. It was copied by William Palmer in the seventeenth century,
from the diary of Philip Wyot, who was Town Clerk between 1586 to 1608.
_Ib._ April 22nd, 1880.

[283] 1596. "Not a dry day in November." 1597. "April 8th wheat sold
for 18_s._ a bushel, barley 13_s._, rye 14_s._, oats 4_s._ Now in
July by reason of continual rain wheat sold last Friday for 20_s._ a
bushel." The beginning of harvest brought relief and wheat fell to
3_s._ 4_d._, rye 2_s._ 7_d._, and barley 2_s._ 4_d._ This fall to
one-sixth of the former values makes us realise how violent were the
fluctuations in price. A like sudden alteration took place at Bristol
in 1587. On Aug. 12th, 1587, wheat was sold at 5_s._ a bushel, but
on the 19th of the same month it fell to 22_d._ Seyer's _Memoirs of
Bristol_, Vol. II. p. 253.

The Archbishops of York and Canterbury issued letters to the bishops of
their provinces with directions designed to mitigate the sufferings of
the poor. The usual collections for their relief were to be carefully
made and were to be increased. The wealthy were "to use a greater
moderation than heretofore in their diet" and were not to lessen the
number of their households. Not only was everyone to fast on Fridays,
but they were to do without their suppers on Wednesdays also, "to the
intent that that which is by forbearance of that meal and at other
meals, by abstinency from all superfluous fare, fruitfully spared, may
presently, especially by the wealthier sort, be charitably converted
to the relief and comfort of the poor and needy." The ministers and
churchwardens were to send monthly certificates of the observance of
these orders with the names of any who were negligent[284]. We shall
see that in Wakefield this Wednesday fast was observed and it is by no
means improbable that these commands were actually enforced in other

[284] _The Life of John Whitgift_, John Strype. Appendix, Bk. IV.
No. XXX. 27th Dec. 1596. The Minister was to stir up the people "to
abstinence, fasting and true humiliation; to forbear all excess; to
relieve the poor and needy by good house-keeping, by setting them
on work and by other deeds of alms and brotherly compassion. And
considering the most princely and gracious care her Majesty hath for
their relief, and that all good means should be used for the succour
and help of them in these times of dearth, the people must be taught
to endure this scarcity with patience; and especially to beware, how
they give ear to any persuasions or practices of discontented and idle
brains, to move them to repine or swerve from the humble duties of good
subjects." The double purpose of helping the poor and maintaining order
may be observed in this letter of the archbishop as well as in the
direct orders of the Privy Council.

The local authorities also endeavoured to remedy the evil. The
proceedings of the Bristol Corporation illustrate the sudden rise in
price and the great need there was for measures of relief. In 1594 the
Mayor, Francis Knight, laid out money "to provide corn for the common
sort of people," and by his means corn was brought from Danzig to
Bristol. One of the aldermen also, a Mr Thomas Aldworth, spent £1200
in corn and brought a certain quantity into the market every day. Next
year the scarcity continued, and in November a Mr Whitson was asked to
buy corn for the Corporation. He did so and arranged that 3000 quarters
of rye should arrive in May, 1596, and cost 28_s._ the quarter. But
the Mayor alleged the corn was too dear and the Corporation would pay
but half of Mr Whitson's charges to London and would only agree to buy
half the rye. "But so it fell out, that when the said rye was arrived
in Bristol, it was well worth 44_s._ a quarter and more. And then the
said Mayor and Aldermen intreated to have the whole bargain and would
pay Mr Whitson 50_li._ for his charges and running the adventure of the
bargain, whereupon after some persuasion he (being of a good nature)
consented." The corn was badly needed and within twenty days was sold
at 6_s._ a bushel, though even that sum was under the market price. The
Corporation gained £774 on the bargain and many pecks and half-pecks
were given to the poor.

Still this corn lasted but twenty days, and during 1596 and 1597 corn
was sold in Bristol at 7_s._, 8_s._, 12_s._, 16_s._, and according to
one authority even 20_s._ a bushel. Under these circumstances the poor
could not live, and it was decided by Mayor and Council that every
alderman or any burgess, that had any property, should every day give
one meal of meat to the poor people who were out of work. Some were
to feed eight persons, and some only two, according to their ability.
"Whereby," says the chronicler, "the poor of our city were all relieved
and kept from starving or rising." The justices seem to have been
vigilant in other directions also; they would allow no grain to be
exported and ordered that very little malt should be made[285].

[285] Seyer's _Memoirs of Bristol_, Vol. II., pp. 254 and 255, quoting
from Adams and Ricart's _Chronicle_.

In London the difficulty was great: in 1594 Lord Howard sent up three
ships laden with corn that the inhabitants might have bread, and in
1596 twenty ships carrying grain arrived from the Low Countries[286].

[286] _Remembrancia_, II. 31. Apparently other ships were sent in 1595.
_Ib._ II. 95; II. 59.

This grain may have been used for the whole country. An old chronicler
of Shrewsbury relates that in 1596 "there was provision made by the
bailiffs and aldermen of Shrewsburie with the commons for corne at
London which cam from Dansicke, Denmark and those foren places to ease
all England, and especially London. There was provided about 3,200
bushels for this town: it came by way of Brestow, and was sold to the
commons after the rate of 8_s._ the bushell of rie, which was in the
market at 12_s._ and better: and wheate at 14_s._ and 15_s._ Also there
was prepared to be baked of the said rye 40 bushells weeakely by the
towne bakers in peny bredd, two peny, three peny, and foure peny breed
for the poore to have it who were not able to by any bigger portion.
They were so unruly and gredie to have it, that the baylyffs, sixe men
and other officers had mutche adoe to serve them. The God most mightie
send plentie that his chosen flocke perrishe not, and dy for want as
many in all contreis in England die and goe in great numbers myserably
a begginge[287]."

[287] Owen and Blakeway, _History of Shrewsbury_, Vol. I. p. 400. Wheat
in Shrewsbury in May 1597 was 18_s._, rye 15_s._, beans 13_s._, while
in Sept. 1598 rye was 3_s._ 4_d._ and wheat 4_s._ 4_d._

It would appear that this kind of provision was usually made in
large towns, for one of the charges in a complaint brought against
two Newcastle aldermen was that of making no provision of corn for
the poor. The complaint was addressed to the Privy Council by the
discontented burgesses of the town of Newcastle and could hardly have
been made unless it were generally recognised that it was one of their
duties[288] to provide a store of this kind.

[288] _Cal. of State Papers_, May 31st, 1597. The Ipswich officials
were careful to provide for their needy neighbours. Every year from
1594 to 1597 loans were raised to buy corn, and it is always stated
that this corn was bought for the poor. In 1594 a loan of £200 was
so raised, and the town consented to bear any loss: the next year
£600 was thought necessary and three hundred quarters of rye were
purchased. On the 15th Oct. 1596, it was ordered that "100 quarters of
rye and 150 quarters of barley shall be bought for provision for the
poor and so much money as the same shall be valued at shall be lent
by the inhabitants of the town." Again, in 1597 three hundred combs
were provided at 4_s._ 6_d._ a bushel, and the charges for keeping it
and lading it were borne by the town. Nathaniel Bacon's _Annals of
Ipswich_, 25 Oct. 1594, 13 Oct. 1595, and 21 Feb. 1597.

How great the distress in Newcastle was at this time may be gathered
from the bare statements of the town accounts.

"Sept. 1597. Paide for the charges of buringe 9 poore folkes who died
for wante in the streets, for their graves making 3_s._

"Oct. 1597. Paid for the charge of buringe 16 poore folkes who died for
wante in the strettes 6_s._ 8_d._[289]."

[289] M. A. Richardson's _Tracts_, Vol. III. p. 44. See also Dec.
1596, "Paid for the charge of burying 7 poore folke which died in the
streete, for winding theme, grave making and carrying to the church
7_s._ 4_d._"

If a few people actually died of starvation many must have been nearly

All this indicates that the existing organisation for the relief of
the poor could not stand the strain of the continued distress of these
years. There were disturbances and complaints in many counties and a
disposition to lay the blame on the increase of enclosed land. The Dean
of Durham writes that the poverty of the country arises from decay of
tillage owing to the number of enclosures. The poor this year could
neither pay their landlords nor sow their corn, while many had to
travel sixty miles to buy bread[290].

[290] _Cal. of State Papers_, Jan. 1597, p. 347.

There was trouble too in making men obey the orders for the help of the
poor. Some were punished for ingrossing corn or for converting cottages
into tenements[291], while one man seems to have been rebellious
altogether: "They are knaves ... my goodes are my nowne," he said,
"they nor the queene nor the Councelle have to doe wi^{th} my goodes, I
will doe what I liste w^{th} them." The Court of Star Chamber sentenced
him to be fined £100, to be imprisoned, to wear papers, confessing his
fault and "to be bound for his good abearing[292]."

[291] _Les Reportes del Cases in Camera Stellata_, John Hawarde, ed. W.
P. Baildon, F.S.A., pp. 76 and 78. Among others Edward Framingham, then
High Constable of Norfolk, was brought before the Court "for converting
thirteen houses into cottages and tenements and reserving the land
for his own occupation and for ingrossing corn and buying and selling
the same out of market." He was sentenced to imprisonment, a fine of
£500, confession of his fault in Cheapside and Norfolk, to pay £40 to
the poor people, and to restore the houses with the land to husbandry
again. _Ib._ p. 76.

[292] _Ib._ p. 104.

From Dorset and Wilts we hear rumours of discontent[293], and
in Oxfordshire and Norfolk there were actual insurrections. The
Oxfordshire rebels themselves say that they rose because of the
sufferings of the poor and the high price of corn. Although Sir William
Spencer, one of the gentlemen who had enclosed land, reported that
the rebellion was not begun by the poorer sort of people, Lord Norris
wrote to the Council, "I want your commission and some order to be
taken about enclosures on the western part of the shire where this stir
began, that the poor may be able to live[294]." It is thus evident
that poverty had something to do with the insurrection. One of the
Norfolk rioters said he had heard that the poor were up in the west
country, and that four or five of his neighbours would go to a justice
of the peace and desire to have corn cheap; if they could not get it
reasonably they would arise and get it by force, and if they did arise
they would knock down the best first; "they stayed onlye butt for a

[293] _Cal. of State Papers_, June 1597, p. 433.

[294] _Calendar of State Papers_, Dec. 14, 1596, p. 316.

[295] _Dom. State Papers Queen Eliz._, Vol. 262, No. 151.

A letter from a Somersetshire justice, Mr Edward Hext, to Cecil gives
a vivid picture of the disturbed state of Somerset. One hundred and
eighty-three persons were to be set at liberty from the Sessions in
the year 1596, "And of these very few came to any good; for none will
receive them into service. And, in truth, work they will not, neither
can they without most extreme pains, by reason their sinews are so
benumbed and stiff through idleness that as their limbs being put to
any hard labour, will grieve them above measure: so as they will rather
hazard their lives, than work. And this I know to be true: for at such
time as our Houses of Correction were up (which are put down in most
parts of England, the more pity) I sent divers wandering suspicious
persons to the House of Correction: and all in general would beseech
me to send them rather to the gaol. And denying it them some confessed
felony unto me; by which they hazarded their lives; to the end they
would not be sent to the House of Correction, where they should be
forced to work." He estimates that only the fifth person that commits a
felony was brought to trial, for "most commonly the most simple country
man and woman ... are of opinion that they would not procure any man's
death for all the goods in the world." He thought the Egyptians were
not so dangerous for there were only thirty or forty in the shire while
there were three or four hundred sturdy rogues[296]. Mr Hext wrote in
a time of famine when the poor were on the verge of starvation and
when the west part of the neighbouring county of Oxfordshire was in

[296] Strype's _Annals_, Vol. IV., p. 404 seq. Letter to Burghley from
Edw. Hext dated 25th Sept. 1596.

This letter thus confirms the inference we should draw from the
state of Oxfordshire, Norfolk, and Durham that on the whole the
organisation for the relief of the poor was still insufficient. The
public opinion of the time seems to recognise that there was a close
connection between the bands of vagrants and the recent enclosures.
Men like Lord Norris, the Dean of Durham, and Francis Bacon saw that
if the agricultural changes were ultimately good for everyone, in the
meantime they were bad for the poor; it was clear that many people had
been without sufficient food, and the many insurrections of the time
showed that this condition of things was dangerous to the peace of the
country. The distress of these years thus brought vividly before men of
the time the evils and the danger of the existing economic condition
of the very poor, and the resulting awakening of public opinion was
probably the chief factor in the creation of the better legislation and
more efficient administration of later years.

A pamphlet written in 1597 by Henry Arth gives us considerable insight
as to the contemporary ideas with regard to the relief of poverty, and
also as to the extent to which the law was executed at the time[297].
The writer makes a list of the various classes included under the term
"poor"; he uses the word to include those who require either relief
or coercion from the public. He mentions both "such as are yong and
lustie yet unwilling to labour," and "such as bee overcharged with
children having nothing to maintaine them but their hand labour." It
is in this sense that the word is most frequently used at the time.
Arth goes on to enumerate the causes of poverty, the sins of the
poor and the actions of the "poore makers." The poor were accused of
idleness, wasting their goods in "bibbing and belly cheare," discontent
and "seldome repairing to their parish churches to heare and learne
their duties better." The sins of the "poore makers" throw more light
on the economic changes of the time. Amongst these are mentioned
the "importable oppression of many landlords," the "unconscionable
extortion of all usurers," the "unsatiable covetousnesse in
cornemongers," "the discharging of seruants and apprentices," and the
"want of execution of good lawes and statutes." Magistrates fail to
execute the laws, ministers fail to admonish them, and so "the most do
live in disorder." But there are exceptions. The "strangers" in London
"may be a patterne in these respects to all our English nation," for
they keep all their fellow-countrymen from idleness and begging, and
find work and wages for their unemployed. If any of them become poor
"their state is imparted unto their company, and then commonly they
abstaine one meale on the next Lordes day and give the price thereof
towardes the parties maintenance." Moreover some well-disposed English
people did their duty in the matter. In some districts a man "shall
see not one begger asking any almes (except one or two that keepe
the common box according to the order) to take the benevolence of
trauellers and strangers so well are the statutes observed in those

[297] "Provision for the poore now in penurie." Explained by H. A.
Printed by Thomas Creede 1597. A copy is in the British Museum.

Wakefield, where the writer lives, is one of these districts, "though
the poore be many and needy yet thus much I may speak to my knowledge
that if any be pinched with penurie the default especially resteth in
themselves though some other persons can not be excused. For, (to the
prayse of God bee it spoken) there is not onelie a house of correction
according to the lawe, but withall, certain stockes of money put forth
into honest clothiers' handes who are bounde with good sureties to set
all the poore to worke, after five pence or sixe pence a pound of wooll
spinning (as they shall deserve) if they will fetch it.

"For the impotent poore in every streete, they haue beene considered
of (by the most able and forwarde men of that towne) and a generall
ceassement voluntarie made for their supplie weekelie, which by
confirmation of her Maiesties justices is still kept of euerie able
householder, besides the Wednesdayes Suppers, for the which the
Church-wardens take paynes accordingly, wherein if euerie one woulde
discharge that dutie required of her Maiestie to let the poore haue the
full benefite of their sayde suppers, there should not one person haue
cause to begge there for all this deare yeare. As for the yonger sort,
fitte to learne trades and occupations there is order taken to put them
to apprentisshippe or otherwise to seruice."

From this pamphlet we see therefore that the law was sometimes well
executed in particular places although as a rule it was negligently
enforced. This view of the matter is confirmed by the rest of the
evidence concerning the period from 1569 to 1597. It is the period of
the growth of legislation and of the machinery of administration, but
the working together of the whole system was also locally successful.
At Reading, St Albans, Norwich, Leicester, York and Ipswich there
is abundant evidence to show that many steps were taken to relieve
the poor, while in Gloucester also we can see that increased action
was taken in this direction, and that the statute of 1572 was more
vigorously enforced than its predecessors. The City controlled the two
hospitals of St Bartholomew and of St Margaret[298] and the corporation
yearly elected a president, a treasurer, two surveyors, two almoners
and two scrutineers to look after them. For certain years the accounts
of Governor, Treasurer, Almoner and Scrutineer of St Bartholomew's
still exist[299]. Before 1569 the house of the White Friars had been
made into a House of Correction. For three parishes the accounts of
the collectors of the poor exist for the years 1572-3 and for five
other parishes for one or more of the succeeding ten years[300]. It
would thus seem that the statute of 1572 was put regularly in execution
in Gloucester and that this was the first statute that was thus
regularly enforced.

[298] Rudder's _Gloucestershire_, pp. 186, 202. Queen Elizabeth granted
the patronage of St Mary Magdalen also to the City on Dec. 4th, 41 Qu.
Eliz. p. 187.

[299] _Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester._

No. 1335. 1569-70. Governor's account. Almoners and Governors exist as
early as 1558-9. No. 1327.

No. 1336. 1570-71. Almoner's account.

No. 1337. 1570-71. Treasurer's account.

No. 1339. 1570-71. Almoner's account.

No. 1340. 1573-74. Scrutinear's account, etc.

The Masters' accounts of St Margaret's are also preserved for the years
1556, 1560-1, 1561-2. _Ib._ p. 459.

[300] _Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester._
Accounts of the Collectors for the poor.

  No. 1349. 1572-3. Parish of St Nicholas, St Mary de Lode and St Mary
                     de Crypt.

      1350. 1575-6. Parish of Holy Trinity.

      1352.    "        "     Graslane.

      1352.    "        "     St Michael.

      1353.    "        "     St Katherine.

      1355. 1576.       "     St Ewen, etc.

The only account of this kind before 1572 is an undated account of the
reign of Queen Elizabeth in a time of plague.

There is comparatively little evidence during the period of the
proceedings of justices of the peace in the country, but we have seen
that Mr Sands in Parliament and the justices themselves in their
report to the Privy Council tell us that in Worcestershire every man
was relieved at his own home. We have also seen that several Houses
of Correction had been established and that their value as part of
the organisation was recognised. It is thus clear that in many places
the local officials were being trained to their duties, and that the
statutes were really put in execution, not completely or everywhere,
but still to some extent and in many places[301].

[301] The effect of the years of scarcity in stimulating the vigour
of the justices is illustrated by a set of orders agreed upon by the
justices of the peace of Cornwall in April 1597. A copy was sent by Sir
Francis Godolphin to Sir Robert Cecil.

The orders first provide for a survey of all the poor which was to
distinguish between those who could earn part of their subsistence
and those who were altogether incapable and also for a list of the
householders who could contribute to their relief. The constables
and chief governors of the parish were to state whether they would
themselves undertake the relief of the parish or whether the justices
should levy a weekly rate for the purpose. After arrangements for
supporting the poor had thus been made beggars were to be severely
punished, fines for absence from church were to be rigorously exacted
and the fast of two meals weekly was to be carefully observed.
The orders further command an arrangement like that known as the
"roundsman" system for the unemployed: "Such poor as cannot provide
work for themselves are to present themselves in a convenient place in
the church on the Sabbath day a little before the ending of morning
and evening prayer and as soon as prayer is ended order shall be taken
to send them abroad among such householders as shall maintain them
meat, work and such wages as they can deserve for the week following"
(_Hatfield MSS._ VII. p. 161). These measures were taken before the
statute of 1597 was passed, and, in accordance with the statute of
1572, the justices and not the overseers were to make the rate. They
show an improvement in Cornish poor relief, not dependent on the
statute of 1597 but like the statute itself brought into existence by
the distress of the years of scarcity.

In Parliament legislative experiments were still tried, and many of
the men in Parliament, as justices of the peace or as members of the
Privy Council, were obtaining experience of the practical working of
the law. At the beginning of the period more stress was laid upon
repression than upon relief. But the events of the years of scarcity
brought home to the minds of most people the weakness occasioned by
the partial execution of the existing system. In most places it could
not stand the strain. The fact that the difficulties of the poor were
partly due to enclosures and not only to the idleness of the sturdy
vagrant was fully recognised. The danger of the distress of the poor
was also apparent: some rose in insurrection, many others, like the
Norfolk peasant, "stayed butt for a drum," all must have greatly
suffered. Consequently the whole question was re-opened, a statute
laying stress on relief was produced and a more efficient organisation
was made possible. A system of public poor relief could not be suddenly
established in a country like Elizabethan England. It had its basis in
the recognised local custom of parochial collections, and the growing
sense of municipal duty in the matter. Still, but for the development
of the action of the Privy Council, but for the growing experience of
members of Parliament, and but for the training of local officials and
of the general public during these years, probably the conception, and
certainly the execution, of the act of 1597 would have been impossible.



  1. Characteristics of the period.
  2. Legislation from 1597 to 1644.

 Administrative machinery.
  3. Action of the Privy Council before 1629.
  4. Action of the Privy Council after 1629 with regard to the provision
of corn.
  5. Action of the Privy Council after 1629 with regard to the unemployed.
  6. The Book of Orders as a whole and the royal commission of 1630/1.
  7. Interference with wages as a method of helping the poor.
  8. Summary.

[Sidenote: 1. Characteristics of the period.]

The years between 1597 and 1644 are in many respects a unique period in
the history of English poor relief. A great deal of evidence exists,
which seems to indicate, that in many places during some of these years
the whole of the Elizabethan poor law was put in execution: that is,
work was provided for the unemployed as well as relief for the impotent.

After the Civil War a part only of the system survived. There are thus
grounds for believing that never since the days of Charles I. have
we had either so much provision of work for the able-bodied or so
complete a system of looking after the more needy classes when they
were suffering from the effects of fire, pestilence and famine. For
this reason alone the history of the poor at this period is especially
interesting, and it is also at this time that the history of the poor
is more directly connected than usual with the history of the nation as
a whole.

We will trace as in the preceding periods the history of legislation
and of the action of the Privy Council. But the relief of the poor is
a matter which can only be efficiently administered by men who have a
great knowledge of detail. The action of the Privy Council would have
had very little effect unless there had been an efficient system of
local government.

We will therefore examine the local machinery of administration as
well as the central and will see what kind of work was done by judges,
justices and overseers in regard to the relief of the poor. We shall
then know who did the duties with regard to relief now performed by the
Local Government Board, Boards of Guardians, magistrates, and relieving

We must then regard the system of poor relief from another point of
view and see what kind of relief could be obtained both in the country
and in the towns by the different classes of poor. This will include
the help afforded to the whole of the poorer population in years of
scarcity as well as the means that were taken in ordinary times to
pension the old, to train and maintain children, and to find work for
the unemployed.

Lastly we will endeavour to determine when and where the administrative
machinery was really set in motion and how far the relief afforded
to the different classes of poor was given all over the country. The
answer to these questions will enable us to see why it is that in
England poor laws were not only made but administered, while in some
other countries they were not administered even after they had been

[Sidenote: 2. Legislation from 1597 to 1644.]

The work accomplished with regard to the poor by Parliament was
unimportant during the period from 1597 to 1644 but some slight changes
were made in the law. It was in 1601 that the statute on which our
system of poor relief has since rested was passed in its final form.
This law, known as the 43 Eliz. c. 2, is often regarded as inaugurating
new methods of dealing with the poor, but as a matter of fact few
important legal enactments have initiated fewer innovations. It is
simply a re-enactment with very slight alterations of the statute of
1597-8. The clause of the statute of 1597 which declared all beggars
to be rogues if they asked for anything more than food was omitted
in 1601, while the liability of parents to support their children,
imposed in 1597, was in 1601 extended to grandparents also. Otherwise
the slight differences between the two Acts consist chiefly of
modifications of detail, designed to render certain doubtful points of
law[302]. This statute of 1601 was itself only passed as a temporary
measure but it was continued by the Parliaments both of James I. and of
Charles I. It remained by far the most important regulation concerning
the relief of the poor until the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834[303],
and is in force as the basis of our system of Poor Relief at the
present day.

[302] Other differences between the two Acts were as follows:


  (1) Four Overseers were to be nominated
  yearly in Easter week.

  (2) Every inhabitant or occupier of
  lands in the parish was to be assessed.

  (3) People refusing to work were to
  be sent to the House of Correction.

  (4) A girl might be apprenticed
  until 21.

  (5) In 1597-8 the Mayors or Head
  Officers of Corporate Towns being
  justices of the peace had the same
  authority within their towns as justices
  of the peace in the country.

  (6) If a parish be in two counties
  or partly in a county and partly in a
  borough the justices or head officers
  of the towns were to "deal and intermeddle"
  only within their own "Liberty."


  (1) Four, three or two Overseers
  were to be nominated according to the
  size of the parish in Easter week or
  within a month after Easter.

  (2) In 1601, the liability of the
  parish, vicar, owner of tithes impropriate
  and of saleable underwoods and
  of the occupiers of houses is specially

  (3) In 1601 they might be sent to
  the House of Correction or gaol, probably
  because there was not yet everywhere
  a House of Correction.

  (4) If she married she was released
  at the time of her marriage.

  (5) In 1601, these powers were extended
  and the Town officials had not
  only the same authority as the justices
  out of their sessions and at their
  sessions, but the same power as was
  appointed "to any two or more of them
  or to the justices of the peace in their
  Quarter Sessions." Every Alderman
  of the City of London in his Ward
  had the same power as one or two
  justices in the county.

  (6) If the parish were in two counties
  or partly in a county and partly
  in a borough there were only the one
  set of Overseers, but the justices or
  Mayors &c. were to be responsible for
  the execution of the Act only within
  the part of the parish in their own
  counties or borough and the Overseers
  were to account to both.

  (7) In 1601 the penalty on justices
  for neglecting to nominate Overseers
  was fixed at £5.

  (8) A special order was made that
  the island of Foulness should be treated
  as a parish.

  (9) It was also provided that if an
  action for trespass should be brought
  against anyone acting in accordance
  with the provisions of the statute, it
  should be lawful for him to plead
  "Not Guilty" or to plead the authority
  of the Act. He was to be entitled to
  treble damages "by reason of his
  wrongfull vexacon."

Between the passing of these two Acts a series of resolutions was
circulated which related to the statute of 1597. These were attributed
to the judges and if they correctly stated the law several of the
new clauses of 1601 were already legally binding. Thus four of the
resolutions were as follows:

Res. 16. By this word parents is understoode a father or a grandfather,
mother or grandmother, being persons able.

Res. 17. Within the word children is included any childe, or
grandchilde, being able.

Res. 18. Parsons or Vicars &c. bee bound (as inhabitants) to the relief
of the poore as wel as others that inhabite within the parish.

Res. 19. Everie one that hath Tithes impropriate, coale mines or
lands in manuel occupation &c. is chargeable. And so for such as haue
saleable woods proportioning the same to an annual benefite.

W. Lambard, _Eirenarcha_, ed. 1599 after p. 206. See E. Cannan, _Hist.
of Local Rates_, p. 75.

[303] 4 and 5 Will. IV. c. 76 (1834).

In comparison with this statute all other legislation of the period on
the subject is of small importance, but several additions were made to
the law, and in four cases these contain provisions which supplement
the system of relief ordered by the principal enactment of 1601.
The first of these concerns maimed soldiers and was also passed in
1601[304]. The two former statutes on the subject, 35 Eliz. c. 4, and
39 Eliz. c. 21, were repealed, but the provisions of both of them were
practically re-enacted. A County Treasurer was to be elected who was
to pay pensions to those who had been wounded or maimed in the wars.
The money was to be raised by a county rate levied on the parishes
as formerly provided, but the amount that might be so raised was now
increased to an average of sixpence weekly from every parish with
a maximum of tenpence from the most highly rated parishes. Another
enactment relating to the relief of the poor was the 43 Eliz. c. 4.
This was likewise passed in 1601 and substantially re-enacts a statute
of 1597 (39 Eliz. c. 6). It provides for inquiries into breaches of
trust by means of writs directed by the Lord Chancellor to the bishop
of the diocese. The list given of the kinds of charity affected shows
how great and varied was the endowed almsgiving of the time. Some funds
had been assigned for "reliefe of aged impotent and poore people; some
for maintenance of sicke and maymed souldiers and marriners schooles
of learninge, free schooles and schollers in Universities; some for
repaire of bridges, portes, havens, causwaies, churches, sea bankes and
highwaies; some for educacon and prefermente of orphans; some for or
towardes reliefe, stocke or maintenance for howses of correccon; some
for mariages of poore maides; some for supportacon, ayde and helpe of
younge tradesmen, handicraftesmen and persons decayed; and others for
reliefe or redemption of prisoners or captives and for aide or ease of
any poore inhabitants concerninge paymente of fifteenes, settinge out
of souldiers and other taxes[305]." In both years in which the great
poor laws were passed, in 1597 and in 1601, a statute of this kind
was authorised. The fact indicates that Parliament desired to maintain
and strengthen the older voluntary system of charity in order that it
might work concurrently with the newer organisation now growing up. A
third measure relating to the relief of the poor was passed in 1603
and provided that a special rate might be levied for the sustenance of
those infected with plague; the rate in this case was to be levied,
not only from the parish but from the whole of the surrounding

[304] 43 Eliz. c. 3. It is interesting to notice that this provision
for maimed soldiers was due to Sir Robert Cecil, Hatfield MSS. VII. p.

[305] Bequests for some of the more unusual of these purposes occur
among the charities of Ipswich.

Thus in (1513) Jan. 14, the following entry is made: "Edm. Danby at
this Court declared that he had given to the Town lands and tenem^{ts}
in vallew 6^{li} p annu' to the end that they should discharge the
poore commonalty of the Towne of all dismes, quinziemes and charges
w^{ch} shall happen: the lands doe lye in Rushmere." Bacon's _Annals of
Ipswich_, p. 186.

Mr Henry Tooley, Portman of Ipswich, in a will dated Nov. 4, 1550

  £100 to the repairing of Bone Bridge.
  £20 to the amending of the Haven.
  £100 towards repairing and amending certain highways.
  20_s._ to every maid who is fatherless and poor and shall marry within
Ipswich until £60 should be spent.

An Indenture of 1513 recites that a Mr Drayle left £70 in order to
release natives and foreigners from certain tolls &c. Ipswich, _Gifts
and Legacies_, pp. 1 and 168.

[306] 1 James I. c. 31.

But the fourth regulation of this kind is the most important. It was
passed in 1609-10 and concerned the building of Houses of Correction.
The Bill introduced on this subject in 1597 had been rejected after
much dispute and discussion and in its place the statute "on rogues"
had been hastily passed; this had repealed all the old regulations
concerning Houses of Correction and although it gave the justices the
power of levying a rate for the establishment of such institutions it
had not compelled them to use the power. The law therefore on this
point was much less exacting in its requirements than that which had
previously been in force. The new enactment of 1609-10 therefore
provided that one or more Houses of Correction must be erected within
every county. It is here laid down that these houses were to be used
to set "rogues or such other idle persons on worke," and no mention is
made of the deserving unemployed[307]. This therefore probably marks
the time when Houses of Correction ceased to be half workhouses and
became very much more like gaols.

[307] 7 James I. c. 4.

Thus while the law of 1601 is the basis on which relief was given
during the period, additional provision was made during the next ten
years for the assistance of maimed soldiers and of persons infected
with plague, and for the building of Houses of Correction[308].

[308] The following are other statutes concerning the relief of the
poor and passed during the period 1597 to 1644:

1 James I. c. 7. Removes the exemption of glassmen from the statute
of rogues. States that no licence by a nobleman shall exempt players
and provides for the branding and in certain cases for the death of
dangerous rogues.

1 James I. c. 25. Continues 43 Eliz. c. 2 and provides that masters may
retain the pauper apprentices whom the Overseers have bound to them.

7 James I. c. 3. Enacts various provisions with the object of securing
that funds which had been left to bind poor children apprentices shall
be properly employed.

21 James I. c. 1. States that the licence to erect "abiding or working
houses for the poor" is to continue for ever.

21 James I. c. 28. Continues 43 Eliz. c. 3, with addition of 1 Jac. I.
c. 25. Also continues 1 James I. c. 7, and 7 James I. c. 4, repeals 11
Hen. VII. c. 2, and 19 Hen. VII. c. 19, 12 Ric. II. cc. 3-9, and also
22 Hen. VIII. c. 12 and 3 and 4 Edw. VI. c. 16.

3 Chas. I. c. 5. Continues 43 Eliz. c. 2, and empowers Overseers to
set up any trade they will, provided it is only for the purpose of
employing the poor, notwithstanding any statute to the contrary. This
last enactment was probably designed to protect the Overseers from
penalties for violating the statute of apprenticeship.

Another series of statutes assigns the fines for their infraction to
the relief of the poor. Some of these are as follows:

1 Jac. I. c. 27, 7 Jac. I. c. 11, 21 Jac. I. c. 28, most of the fines
for the infraction of the game laws.

1 Jac. I. c. 9. Fines of alehouse keepers for allowing people to sit
tippling in their alehouses or for selling for a penny less than one
quart of best beer or two quarts of small.

4 Jac. I. c. 5. } Fine of 5_s._ for drunkenness or 3_s._ 4_d._ for
21 Jac. I. c. 7.} sitting drinking in an alehouse in one's own parish.

3 Jac. I. c. 4. Fine of one shilling for absence from church.

21 Jac. I. c. 18. Fines for breaking certain regulations for making

21 Jac. I. c. 20. Fine for profane swearing, one shilling.

1 Car. I. c. 1. Fine for meeting for games outside one's own parish on
Sunday or in one's own parish for unlawful games.

3 Car. I. c. 2. Fine of 20_s._ for carriers driving on Sunday.
                  Fine of 6_s._ 8_d._ for butchers killing meat on Sunday.

Before leaving the statutes it is perhaps worth while to notice the
proviso that exists in so many of them in favour of John Dutton. The
lord of Dutton claimed jurisdiction over the minstrels of Cheshire. In
the reign of John, the Earl of Chester was imprisoned by the Welsh in
Rhuddlan Castle. He sent for aid to Roger de Lacy then the Constable
of Cheshire. It was the time of Chester fair. De Lacy collected a
multitude of the shoemakers, fiddlers and loiterers who were in the
town and with this force released the Earl. For this he obtained a
grant for himself and his heirs of jurisdiction over minstrels and over
disorderly characters in Cheshire. In 1216 this privilege was granted
by John de Lacy to Hugh Dutton and remained in the hands of the lords
of Dutton through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was the
custom for the lord of Dutton to hold a Court at Chester on Midsummer
day and in 1498 he received from the whole body of minstrels four
flagons of wine and a lance with fourpence halfpenny from each of them.
A Court of this kind was held as late as 1756[309]. In nearly all the
statutes concerning vagabonds until that of 1822, the rights of John
Dutton's heirs were preserved, so that in the seventeenth century the
minstrels of Cheshire, licensed by the lord of Dutton, might wander
without fear of the penalty inflicted on wanderers elsewhere,--a
curious but direct consequence of an incident of border warfare in the
early part of the thirteenth century. Few facts illustrate better both
the continuity of English history and the toleration of anomalies by
English law than this perpetuation of the quaint jurisdiction of the
house of Dutton for more than six centuries.

[309] Lysons' _Cheshire_, p. 523 seq.

Some of the legal handbooks throw considerable light on the way in
which these statutes were interpreted. In the seventeenth century "The
Countrey Justice" was one of the most popular of these books. The
writer, Michael Dalton, defines the meaning of the term "poor." Like
Arth, he divides the poor into three kinds, "the poore by impotency and
defect," the "poore by casualty," and the "thriftlesse poore." This
classification was common at the time and dates back to the reign of
Edward VI. The "poore by impotency and defect" included the aged and
decrepit, the orphan child, lunatic, blind or lame people, or those
who were diseased. The term "poore by casualty" meant maimed people,
householders who had lost their property owing to loss from "fire,
water, robbery or suretiship, &c." and poor men "overcharged with
children." Among the "thriftlesse poore" were included "the riotous and
prodigall person that consumeth all with play or drinking," dissolute
and slothful people, those who wilfully spoil their work, and vagabonds
who will abide in no service or place. The "poore by impotency" were to
be provided with enough to sustain them properly; the poor by casualty
were to be "holden or set to work by the overseers," and further
relieved according to their need, but the thriftless poor were to go
to the House of Correction. None of these last, he says, are to have
relief from the town for that "were a meanes to nourish them in their
lewdnesse or idlenesse which take it, to rob others of releefe that
want it, to wrong those of their money that pay it, and to condemn them
of oversight which dispose it[310]."

[310] Michael Dalton, "The Countrey Justice," ed. 1635, p. 100.

So far the requirements of the law are similar to those of to-day,
but some of Dalton's instructions remind us of the difference between
the Elizabethan poor law and that of our own time. The poor law was
originally part of a paternal system of government: gentlemen were
ordered home to their estates, farmers were required to bring their
corn to market, cloth manufacturers had to carry on their trade under
well-defined regulations, and merchants were obliged to trade in the
manner which was thought to conduce most to the good order and to
the power of the nation. Workmen also were ordered to work whether
they liked it or not, and, if the law were enforced, had to accept
the wages fixed by the justices. Dalton therefore goes on to quote
another clause of the poor law which has long fallen into disuse. The
overseers were to set to work "all such persons (maried or unmaried) as
having no meanes to maintaine them, use no ordinary and daily trade of
life to get their living by[311]." If they refused the work appointed
them they were to go to the House of Correction. Moreover those who
refused to work for the wages commonly given and had not "lawfull
meanes to live by" were not to be sent to the parish where they were
legally settled but were to go to the House of Correction "upon
consideration had of both the statutes of the poore and rogues[312]."
Already any man between twelve and sixty who had not property and was
not a skilled workman might be compelled to serve in husbandry by
anyone who wanted a workman[313]. The poor law went a step farther.
Not only might an employer require an unemployed workman to work
for him but the overseers were obliged to see that he was employed.
Occasionally something seems to have been done to put this clause of
the statute into execution. Thus in a charge given to the overseers
of a division in 1623, these officials were ordered to give the names
of those refusing to work to the justices in order that the offenders
might be sent to the House of Correction. Moreover they were also
commanded "that uppon every Satturday at night or Sunday morninge they
fayle not to enquire and take knowledge what labour and work they"
(the workmen) "are provided of for the week followinge to the end that
if any be unprovided of work they may [therewith] be supplied by the
overseers who for that purpose are to enquire for worke for them and
to provide materialls for the men that are olde and weake and for the
women and children[314]." In other cases we hear of men being punished
for "living idly," and maintaining themselves "none knowes howe[315]";
and one of the regular items in the reports returned to the Book of
Orders of 1631 concerned the number who lived out of service[316].
The existence of this part of the law and its occasional enforcement
reminds us that the poor law once formed part of an economic system
entirely different from our own, in which not only paupers, but
everyone had to do what the government commanded on conditions settled
by authority.

[311] _Ibid._, p. 93. Dalton is here quoting almost exactly the words
of the statutes 39 Eliz. c. 3, 43 Eliz. c. 2.

[312] Resolutions of the judges, No. 10, Lambarde's _Eirenarcha_ (1599)
after p. 206. Dalton, p. 99. It is interesting to notice that a case
concerning the present law on this point has been recently before the
Courts. The Guardians of the poor in Merthyr Tydfil established labour
yards and relief works for the purpose of affording outdoor relief to
able-bodied persons during a strike. An action was brought by, and
on behalf of, the ratepayers of the district against the Guardians
asking for a declaration that the establishment of relief works for the
purpose of providing outdoor relief for able-bodied persons during a
strike was a breach of the Guardians' statutory rights and duties, and
also asking for an injunction to restrain the defendants from paying
for these relief works out of the common fund when there was plenty of
work to be had if the men would agree to accept the wages offered.

It was held by Lord Justice Romer that in any case of urgent necessity
an able-bodied man or his family ought to have such relief from the
Guardians as might be immediately required, even if the necessity had
arisen from the man wilfully refusing to work. But when the urgent
pressure was relieved, the Guardians ought to require the man to
work, and if he were able to get work and still refused they ought
to prosecute him under the Vagrancy Acts. It was also decided that
though the Court had jurisdiction in an action at the instance of the
ratepayers to restrain Guardians from applying the poor rates for
unauthorised purposes, still such an action should not be instituted
for the purpose of asking the Court whether the Guardians had been
right or wrong in granting relief in particular cases. The proper
course for the ratepayers to take when objecting to expenditure was to
go before the auditors appointed by the Local Government Board or to
appeal to the Local Government Board itself. In the present case no
instance of relief given except for urgent necessity had been proved
and no instances of improper relief had been brought before the Court.
The action therefore was dismissed. Attorney-General and others _v._
Merthyr Tydfil Guardians, March 27th, 1899. _Weekly Notes_, April 1st,
p. 38.

[313] 5 Eliz. c. 4. Anyone who was unmarried or under thirty even if he
had a skilled trade could be compelled to serve in that trade or all
artificers could be obliged to help in harvest.

[314] "A true copy of the charge given to the overseers of every towne
the 19th of December 1623," Tanner MSS., 73 II. § 390. The document
seems to relate to some particular division of a county which is not

[315] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I. Vol. 189, No. 66. See Chapter IX.

[316] Thus the overseers of "Idlestrey" (Elstree) report, "We have none
that live out of service ydlely or otherwise." See also "Questions
touching Labourers," Appendix XII. A. Cases of the enforcement of
regulations of this kind occur early in Elizabeth's reign at Norwich.
Thus in 1571 a certain Agnes Smith "is to be putt to service," "Meke's
wife and Garodes wife ar to be with the select weomen" and a certain
Suzan Brown if not hired for the whole year is "to goo to service," the
"Maiores Booke for the poore." Norwich MSS.

[Sidenote: 3. The action of the Privy Council before 1629.]

We will now turn to the administration of the law and we will first see
how this was influenced by the central government. This action of the
central government is important. In London, in Worcester and in Norwich
we have seen that the local administration was at one time successful,
but it tended to become slack when its original founders in county or
borough were followed by less vigorous successors. Without steady and
continuous pressure from a central authority on the local officials it
seems probable that in this period, as in the preceding century, the
laws concerning the poor would never have been energetically executed
in the greater part of England. It is this pressure that was supplied
by the increased activity of the Privy Council.

We will first examine a few instances of the Council's action before
1629, and we will then trace its policy from 1629 to 1644.

Between 1597 and 1629 the orders in Council and royal proclamations
do not differ greatly from those of the previous period; they still
enforce indirect measures for the relief of the poor by means of an
organisation for supplying the markets with corn and keeping the price
more uniform. After 1597 however the orders which relate also to the
ordinary relief of the poor by means of pensions for the old and work
for the unemployed became of greater relative importance, and during
the crisis of 1622-3 they were much better enforced.

Thus almost immediately after the passing of the poor law of 1597
efforts are made by the Council to secure its proper administration. On
April 5th, 1598, a letter is sent by the Council to the High Sheriff
and the justices of the peace in the several counties of England and
Wales. The writers do not doubt that the Judges of the Assize have
admonished the justices that special care must be taken to execute the
laws for the relief of poorer people and maimed soldiers as well as
the laws connected with vagabonds and tillage. "Nevertheless," they go
on to say, "consideringe the remisseness that hath bin used generally
by the justices of the peace in manie parts of the realm" they send
a letter themselves directly to the justices and order that care be
taken to see the new poor law "generally put into execution[317]." The
writers order the justices when they meet in Quarter Sessions after
Easter to take "speciall order amongst" themselves "for one strict
and uniform course to be houlden for the due observinge and puttinge
in execucon of the same lawes and statutes." They were also to meet
from time to time and make the under officers give an account of their
proceedings. This letter shows the Privy Council enforcing the whole
of the ordinary administration of relief by exactly the same means
that had formerly been used to enforce the measures concerning corn
and vagrants in 1572 and 1586. It is the first time in which this
interference seems primarily dictated by motives of humanity and not
mainly by a desire to maintain order.

[317] Privy Council Register, April 5th, 1598. With a note that it was
dated March 25th, 1598 "and stayed until this present." The records
of the proceedings of the Privy Council are to some extent preserved
in the Privy Council Register. This consists of an almost continuous
series of manuscripts preserved at the Privy Council Office. They are
now being printed but are still unpublished so far as the seventeenth
century is concerned. The volume containing the records from 1603 to
1612 is missing. The Register is by no means complete; only some of the
letters and proceedings of the Council are entered there.

Again in 1603 during a time of plague proclamations were issued
ordering the punishment of rogues, and the return of gentlemen to their
homes, in order that they might relieve the poor by their ordinary
hospitality and might take action for preventing the infection of the

[318] Little Proclamation Book, James I., No. 27 and No. 23.

In 1608 a series of measures concern the supply of grain to the
poor. In 1607 there had been serious disturbances in Northampton and
elsewhere on account of enclosures. The harvest in 1608 was bad and
the Council appear to have feared further disorder. They were careful
to issue a book of orders containing regulations similar to the orders
of 1587 and 1594. Two proclamations followed. The first commanded the
careful execution of the Book of Orders and the return of gentlemen to
their households[319]; the second prohibited the making of more malt
than was necessary "in order that the poor may have sufficient store
of barley to make bread for their sustenance at reasonable prices in
this time of scarcity of wheat and rye[320]." In 1608, however, the
price of barley was not much affected and the action of the Council was

[319] _Ib._, No. 88. This proclamation states that special orders had
already been issued for preventing and remedying the dearth of grain.
The orders are stated to command the punishment of engrossers &c., and
the prevention of the transportation of corn; the furnishing of the
markets rateably and weekly &c.

[320] _Ib._, No. 94. 12th Dec. 1608.

In 1621 to 1623 the sufferings of the poor were much more serious, and
the measures of the Council concerned both the supply of corn and the
direct relief of the poor.

As early as January 1619/20 a commission was drawn up for the due
execution of the laws for the relief of the poor in almost exactly
the same terms as that of January 1630/1[321]. Apparently the distress
was then due chiefly to the beginning of a crisis in the cloth trade,
for in May 1620 an inquiry was ordered into the decay of cloth-making
in Wiltshire[322]. During the three following years the poverty of the
poor increased.

[321] Drafts of this commission are in existence both in the British
Museum and Bodleian, and its issue was therefore contemplated, but
it does not follow that it was actually issued. Brit. Mus. MSS. No.
12,504, Tanner MSS. lxxv. 175.

[322] _Privy Council Register_, 12th May, 1620. The Merchant
Adventurers in reply said the vent of cloth was so little because so
many difficulties were thrown in the way of their sale of gold and
silver thread and the glass goods of the Levant.

The harvests of 1619 and 1620 had been exceptionally favourable, those
of 1621 and 1622 were unusually bad[323]. In Somerset four or five
hundred people assembled and took corn from those that carried it to
market, and in many other parts of the country there were similar

[323] The average prices given by Prof. Rogers are as follows:

                           1619                   1620              1621              1622

  Wheat per quarter  25_s._ 10½_d._      25_s._ 5_d._      40_s._ 9_d._      51_s._ 1_d._

  Barley "     "     14_s._ 11½_d._      11_s._ 4½_d._  21_s._ 2¾_d._  27_s._ 2¼_d._

[324] _Privy Council Register_, 8th Mar. 1622. In a letter from Locke
to Carleton it is stated that in the cloth-making counties the poor
have assembled in troops of forty and fifty and have gone to the houses
of the rich demanding meat and money; they had also taken provisions
which were for sale in the market. _Cal. of State Papers_, Feb. 16,

The Council adopted the usual methods; the Scarcity Book of Orders was
amended and reissued, and two proclamations were drawn up ordering the
restraint of maltsters and a reduction in the number of alehouses;
the proclamation of October, 1622, expressly states that this was
done because "barley is in time of scarcitie the bread-corne of the

[325] Minute of the proclamation. _Dom. S. P._, Jac. I., Vol. 133, No.
52. The enforcement of the orders is again especially commended in
another proclamation issued on the 22nd Dec. 1622. _Large Proc. Bk._,
No. 109.

Besides this the special commands addressed to the country gentlemen
to return home were more emphatic than in former times, especially
at Christmas in 1622. Their presence was necessary for two reasons.
English gentlemen still kept great households and relieved many by
their hospitality, and they also were expected to maintain order
in their districts. They furnished information to the Government,
arranged measures of relief for the poor and, if necessary, quelled
and punished disorder. James I. had a great idea of their importance:
he is credited with the remark to the effect that a country gentleman
in town is like a ship at sea, which looks very small, while a country
gentleman in the country is like a ship in a river, which looks very
big. In 1622, therefore, two proclamations were issued ordering
gentlemen to return to the country.

In the earlier of these one of the reasons for the regulation is stated
to be because of "inconveniences which of necessity must ensue by the
absence of those out of their countries upon whose care a great and
principall part of the subordinate government of this realme doth
depend[326]." In the second the king expressed his pleasure that so
many had obeyed, and his displeasure with those who remained in London
because he was "perswaded that by this way of reviving the laudable
and ancient housekeeping of this realme the poore and such as are
most pinched in times of scarcity and want will be much releeved and

[326] _Large Proc. Bk._, No. 108, 20th Nov. 1622.

[327] _Ib._, No. 109.

From a letter written in 1622 we find that the country gentlemen were
by no means pleased at leaving the pleasures of Court; and "divers
lords and personages of qualitie," we are told, "have made meanes to
be dispensed w^{th}all for going into the countrie this Christmas
according to the proclamation but yt will not be graunted, so that they
packe away on all sides for feare of the worst, yet the L. Burghley
hath found favor in regard of his father's age and weakenes[328]." The
king was, however, firm in most cases, and not only issued the second
proclamation in Dec. 22nd, 1622, but by a third in March 1623[329],
continued the regulations, so that it is clear this measure was
considered important and was found successful.

[328] Letter of Chamberlain to Carleton, _Dom. S. P._, Vol. 134, No.

[329] _Cal. of State Papers_, Mar. 26th, 1623.

But in 1622-3 the orders of the Council do not only provide for the
supply of the markets with corn. The poor were as much distressed by
want of work as by the high price of bread. For some years there had
been depression in the cloth trade, partly owing to the outbreak of
the Thirty Years' War, and partly to the small amount of coin which
was in circulation in England. In 1622 the Spanish ports also were
closed to English cloth. The merchants and manufacturers found that
heavy stocks were on their hands and ceased to employ the workmen. As
in 1527 and in 1586 the lords of the Council tried to remedy the evil
by forcing the employers to find work for their men. In Feb. 1621/22
they sent to the justices of ten of the clothmaking counties. They say
letters have been written to them setting forth the "decay of cloathing
and the great distresse thereby fallen upon the weavers, spinners and
ffullers in divers counties for want of worke." They recognise that
so great a trade cannot always proceed with equal profit, but upon it
the "livelihood of so many poore workmen and their families dependeth"
that they let the justices know that they have taken a course with
the merchants for the purchase of the cloths in the clothiers' hands,
and "we hereby require yo^u," they write, "to call before yo^u such
clothiers as yo^u shall thinke fitting and to deale effectually w^{th}
them for the imployment of such weavers, spinners and other persons as
are now out of worke. Where wee maye not omitt to let yo^u know that
as wee have imployed o^r best endeavo^{rs} in favo^r of the clothiers
both for the vent of their cloth and for moderation in the price of
wooll (of w^{ch} wee hope they shall speedily find the effects). Soe
may wee not indure that the cloathiers in that or any other countie
should att their pleasure and w^{th}out giving knowledge hereof unto
this Board, dismisse their workefoelkes, who being many in nomber and
most of them of the poorer sort are in such cases likely by their
clamo^{rs} to disturbe the quiet and governement of those parts
wherein they live. And if there shalbe found greater numbers of poore
people then the clothiers can reviue and imploy, Wee thinke it fitt
and accordingly require yo^u to take order for putting the statute in
execution, whereby there is provisione made in that behalfe by raising
of publicke stockes for the imployment of such in that trade as want
worke. Wherein if any clothier shall after sufficient warning refuse or
neglect to appeare before yo^u or otherwise shall obstinately denie to
yeeld to such overtures in this case as shalbe reasonable and iust,
yo^u shall take good bonds of them for refusing to appeare before us
and immediately certifie their names unto this board."

The Council also say the woolgrowers must sell their wool at a moderate
price, and finish up with the statement of the general principle on
which they act. "This being the rule," they say, "by w^{ch} both
the woolgrower, the cloathier and merchant must be governed. That
whosoever had a part of the gaine in profitable times since his Ma^{ty}
happie raigne must now in the decay of Trade ... beare a part of the
publicke losses as may best conduce to the good of the publicke and the
maintenance of the generall trade[330]."

[330] _Privy Council Register_, 9th Feb. 1621/2. The ten counties to
which this letter was sent are as follows:


This high-handed proceeding on the part of the Government might have
been successful if the slackness in trade had been of very short
duration. But in this case the crisis continued, and the employers were
soon in as bad a plight as their men. The Suffolk justices state that
in twelve towns out of two hundred the manufacturers have lost over
£30,000 by bankruptcies, and in twenty towns only have cloth unsold
worth £39,282. The employers cannot employ the men in clothmaking, but
the justices will do all they can to relieve the industrious poor[331].
The reply of the Gloucestershire justices is to much the same effect:
they add that the people begin to steal and many are starving. The
Judges of Assize also say they have interviewed the clothiers of
Gloucestershire, and have persuaded them to keep on their men for a
fortnight: they were utterly unable to do so for a month[332]. The
harvest of 1622 was again a failure and the distress increased. In
December the Council write to the justices of Suffolk and of Essex
concerning some "disquiet likely to happen ... amongst the poor sort of
people who wanting their usuall employm^t by reason of the badd vent
of new draperies w^{ch} gives them their onely meanes of maintenance
doe beginne to threaten unlawfull and disorderly courses to gett
reliefe." They request the justices to use their best endeavours to
maintain order and say that with "extraordinarie care" they have taken
a course for the relief of those suffering from extreme need. Early in
the year 1623 a series of relief measures were undertaken, possibly
in accordance with the "course" settled upon by the Council. Special
plans of selling corn to the poor under cost price were adopted, and
efforts were made to find work for the unemployed. We shall examine
the details of these reports later[333], and will now only notice that
they indicate a great improvement in the execution of the poor law;
they also record a good harvest for the early crops of 1623 and an
improvement in trade early in the year[334].

[331] _Cal. of State Papers_, April 28th, 1622, Vol. 128, No. 67; March
18th, 1622, Nos. 49 and 50. From Oxfordshire there is a like report.
The justices of Somerset state that the corn riots are now suppressed,
but that the want of work tends to mutiny. _Cal. of State Papers_, May
14th, 1622. The justices of Wilts reply that some of the clothiers
have dismissed their workpeople and there are now 8000 out of work;
some of them have attacked and seized corn on its way to market and
further outrages are feared. _Cal. of State Papers_, April 30th, 1622.
In consequence of this distress inquiry was ordered. A committee of
the Privy Council was appointed to find out the causes of the decay of
trade and to suggest remedies. Representative clothiers were to be sent
from every county to the Council, and the Merchant Adventurers were to
appoint some of their number to confer with the committee. In May it
was settled that if the Eastland merchants did not buy the cloths the
merchants might do so themselves, and in October an important committee
was appointed to consider the whole matter.

[332] _Privy Council Register_, 18th Dec. 1622.

[333] See Chapters XI., XII.

[334] Thus from Suffolk a whole series of reports record a vigilant
execution of the poor laws. In Hadleigh the justices say they have
done their best to set the poor to work (the "towne consisting onely
of clothinge"). At present (Mar. 18, 1622/3) and for a month past were
few shearmen, weavers, spinsters or other workfolk that could not have
sufficient work to employ themselves, but they do not know how long
this may continue ("the vent of cloth being so doubtfull"). _D. S. P._,
Jac. I., Vol. 142, No. 14, VI. In April we hear of the price of corn
abating. _D. S. P._, Jac. I., Vol. 143, No. 24.

This crisis of 1622 seems to mark a time of transition in the action
of the Privy Council with regard to the poor. The Orders in Council
were then more numerous and better enforced than those of any preceding
period, though they were only continued for a short space of time,
and seem to have ceased when the more pressing causes of disorder were

[Sidenote: 4. The action of the Privy Council after 1629 with regard to
the provision of corn.]

Between 1629 and 1644 the interference of the Council is not confined
to the years of scarcity but is continued for a long period of time.
There are every year important entries concerning the poor in the Privy
Council Register, and this fact seems to indicate that the attention
of the Privy Council was thoroughly aroused, and that there was a
determination to make the execution of the poor law a reality. The
years 1629 to 1631 like those of 1621 to 1623 were years of high-priced
corn and of a crisis in the cloth trade, and some of these Orders in
Council in 1629-31 are of the same character as those of 1622-3. In
1631 however the interference of the Council is better organised than
before and is continued until the outbreak of the Civil War. We will
first enumerate a few of the measures relating to grain.

The first proceeding of the Government was to forbid the transportation
of corn out of the country. In 1629 and 1631 proclamations were
issued to this effect[335]. In 1630 the export of beer also was
forbidden[336], so as to husband the barley as much as possible. The
restrictions were extended to Ireland, a survey was ordered of the
quantities of grain there, and it was found that there was a very good
harvest. Exportation to foreign countries was prohibited, licenses
already granted were revoked, and all corn not needed for Ireland was
to be brought to England[337].

[335] May 2nd, 1629, _Proc. Bk._, Chas. I., _D. S. P._, Vol. 541, p.
107. June 13th, 1631, Letters to Justices of England and Wales. _Privy
Council Register._

[336] _Privy Council Register_, Nov. 9th, 1630. Letter to the Lord
High Treasurer. "We understand ... yt the frequent exportacon of beere
beyond the seas doth ... increase the present dearth in the ... City.
We therefore require your lp. to give expresse order ... yt no beere be
caryed out of the kingdome."

[337] _Privy Council Reg._, 12th Nov. 1630, 9th June, 1630, 10th Sept.

At one time, moreover, an attempt was made to limit the export from
county to county and to regulate the supply by means of licenses.
Thus the bakers of London were to have the right of purchase for
twenty miles round the City; Bristol had special license to buy in
other markets and import by sea. Gloucester, Exeter, and London were
allowed to buy in Cornwall, Tewkesbury in Pembroke, Carmarthen and
Portsmouth in the Isle of Wight[338]. But this system of licensing
proved insufficient, and in April 1631 the justices of the home
counties received general orders to remember that the transport of corn
from one shire into another was not forbidden[339]. The Government
then recurred to the Books of Orders which were drawn up in 1587, and
had been re-enforced in every season of scarcity since that time. In
Sept. 1630 these orders were amended and reissued by Charles I.[340];
it is to this Book of Orders that the corn reports of the justices
refer[341]. These Orders we have seen work through the justices, and
require justices' reports. In fact they establish the organisation for
the provision of corn that was afterwards used for the relief of the

[338] _Privy Council Register_, 12th Nov. 1630, ff. 169, 181.

[339] _Ib._, April 2nd, f. 431.

[340] _Proc. Bk._, Chas. I., No. 134. _Privy Council Reg._, 9th Sept.
1630, f. 97.

[341] See Scarcity Reports of 1630, e.g. _Dom. S. P._ Chas. I., Vol.
176, Nos. 1, 18, 55, 57; Vol. 177, Nos. 31, 32, 43 etc.; Vol. 192, No.

One other method of the central Government is perhaps worth noting.
Other laws connected with the poor were enforced, such as those
relating to the suppression of beggars and the labour laws. But these
times of famine were especially the times when inquiries were made
about enclosures. The enclosing of land necessarily excited opposition
when there was not corn enough. There were riots in Northampton and in
other places in 1607-8, and in 1631 "a large number of rebels" pulled
down fences in Braydon Forest[342]. A great inquiry was made into the
whole subject in 1609, and in 1631 also the justices return a few
special reports upon enclosures, and sometimes make their answer a part
of the report concerning the poor. In Appletree, Derby, very little
land had been lately enclosed "for that the greatest parte of this
hundred hath been enclosed long since[343]," but in other cases a few
new fences had been erected[344]. There is enough to show that even in
1631 enclosures continued to be made and continued to excite the old

[342] _Cal. of State Papers_, June 10, 1631.

[343] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 185, No. 41.

[344] _D. S. P._, Vol. 192, Nos. 24, 93, 94.

Thus the Council in 1629-30 endeavoured to minimise the amount of
grain consumed, to secure a proper supply for the markets, and to see
that all laws designed to benefit the poor were rigorously enforced.
These measures are of much the same character as those of the sixteenth
century, but the orders are much more detailed and much stronger in the
parts designed to secure efficient administration. They were better
administered, and in the reports sent in by the justices we can see a
marked improvement, and signs that the organisation which broke down in
the sixteenth century was successful in the seventeenth.

[Sidenote: 5. Action of the Privy Council after 1629 with regard to the

But after 1629 the Orders of Council relate to many other methods of
relieving the poor. Some concern provision for the unemployed poor,
others deal with the Royal commission and Book of Orders of 1631, and
a few have reference to interference with wages undertaken by the
Government with the object of relieving distress.

The want of employment in the cloth-making counties again became a
serious difficulty at the beginning of the year 1629. It was partly
connected with political troubles; the merchants refused to pass their
goods through the Custom House in order to avoid paying exactions which
they regarded as illegal. The clothiers therefore could not sell their
cloths or continue to employ their workmen. Pressure on employers and
merchants was a not infrequent way of helping the poor. The Council
sent for the London merchants and thought they had persuaded them to
buy the unsold cloths[345], but apparently the merchants drew back;
in any case "divers merchant strangers and denizens" were summoned,
and on May 12th they are said to be "inclined" to buy the "bayes made
at Braintree, Bocking, and Coxall[346]." The privileges possessed by
the Merchant Adventurers for the export of cloth enabled the Council
to put especial pressure on the merchants when cloth was concerned.
The threat had only to be made that the trade would be thrown open
to foreign traders and the London merchants had to choose between
competition from rivals or the loss involved in buying the stocks
in the manufacturers' hands. In 1637 there was again depression in
the cloth trade, and again the Merchant Adventurers were told that
the trade would be thrown open if they did not buy the cloths[347].
Moreover one of the last acts connected with the poor enforced by
the personal government of Charles I. was of the same kind. At the
outbreak of the Civil War the clothing trade was the first to suffer,
clothmakers all over the country petitioned the king for help, and one
of the few resolutions of the Privy Council entered between 1640 and
1645 was that the cloth trade should be thrown open to relieve the
distress, and free license to export be allowed at those seaport towns
that remained faithful to the king[348].

[345] 10th May, 1629. _Privy Council Reg._ "The merchants have been
earnestly delt w^{th} ... to continue their wonted course in that
behalfe. And upon conference w^{th} the said marchants wee find them
inclined and plyable to his Mat'^s desire."

[346] _Privy Council Register_, 12th May, 1629.

[347] _Privy Council Register_, 26th April, 1637.

[348] _Ib._, 28th Feb., 1643/4.

[Sidenote: Relief of the unemployed cloth-workers.]

But this was only one of the methods in which the Council tried to
aid the makers of cloth. Special orders were sent to the justices of
Essex to cause adjoining parishes to help the districts where cloth
was made, because these parishes were more charged with poor than the
rest of the county[349]. Early in May, 1629, directions were given
to the Deputy-Lieutenants as well as to the justices of Essex and
Suffolk commanding them to see all possible measures were taken to
restore order and relieve the poor. It was especially stated that the
clothworkers were to be provided with work either in their own trade or
in some other good and honest labour, and if that were impossible they
were to be otherwise relieved[350].

[349] _Ib._, Entered 29th April, 1629.

[350] _Ib._, 5th May, 1629 f., No. 237.

Already the difficulty was not confined to the eastern counties, and
on May 17th, 1629, a proclamation was issued entitled, "A Proclamation
commanding the due execution of the Lawes made for setting the poore on
work." The regulations for "the reliefe of the indigent and impotent
poore, for binding out apprentices, for providing of stockes[351],
and for setting the poore on worke," were to be "duely and carefully
put in execution." The liability of the parish to provide funds, and
afterwards of the hundred and of the county is recapitulated, and
means are devised by which the duty may be performed. The "minister,
churchwardens and overseers for the poore" were straightway to meet and
take these matters into their consideration. They were then to report
to the justices of the peace. These latter were to consult together
in their several divisions, and at Quarter Sessions the necessary
arrangements were to be settled. The judges on their circuits were to
find out what had been done and were to make an exact report. Thus
the Central Authority set in motion the whole local machinery for
the execution of the poor law. The proclamation further ordered that
great care should be taken in those places where there either was or
should be any special occasion "to provide stocks to set the poor on

[351] The word "stockes" or stocks is here used in the sense of capital
for providing employment. We shall see that it was usual to raise a
lump sum of money for this purpose, almost always called the "stock" of
the parish. This was supposed to remain intact. Occasionally the word
stock was used for any capital sum possessed by the parish, but never
for the ordinary poor rates which were spent during the year.

[352] _Proclamation Book_, Chas. I., No. 109. Record Office, 17th May,
5 Chas. I.

[Sidenote: Special commands again to Suffolk and Essex.]

Some of the justices seem to have doubted whether they had legal power
to themselves levy a rate for providing employment for the poor. A few
days after the proclamation therefore a further letter is sent to the
Deputy-Lieutenants and justices of Essex and Suffolk stating that in
their part of the country there was special need for care in matters
concerning the poor, and therefore the writers again particularly
remind them of their duty and let them know "that it is the resolucon
of all the judges that by the lawe yo^u have sufficient power and ought
to raise meanes out of the severall parishes if they be of abilitie,
or otherwise in their defect in their severall hundrethes etc. to sett
the poore on worke and to relieve the aged and impotent not able to

[353] _Privy Council Register_, 22nd May, 1629. See Appendix.

Another crisis of the same kind occurred in 1639 near the end of the
personal government of Charles I. The same methods are employed; it is
the western counties that are suffering most, and letters are written
to the justices of Devon and of Exeter urging them to make special
efforts to remove the more pressing necessities of the poor ordinarily
employed in the cloth trade[354].

[354] The Devonshire justices are told that people began to want
employment "w^{ch} in a short time may (if not prevented) breede
great inconveniences to the country." They in consultation with the
justices of Exeter were to "settle some good course whereby the poore
labouring people in generall may be provided of worke, and that in
particular those who more especially belong to the trade and busines of
cloathing." _Privy Council Register_, 13th April, 1639.

[Sidenote: Summary.]

Thus we see that during this period the Council put pressure on
merchants in order that manufacturers might give their men work; a
proclamation was drawn up by its advice giving strict orders for the
relief and employment of the poor all over the country; and it insisted
in several different ways that in the districts most affected work
should be found and relief given. We can see by the circumstances
of this crisis something of the nature of the difficulty which the
Stuart statesmen had to meet. The social organisation was based on the
assumption that the conditions were fairly stable; a poor man had the
greatest difficulty, as we have seen[355], in going from one part of
the country to another, and the apprenticeship laws were fitfully if
not rigorously enforced, so that, if a man's own trade failed, there
was little prospect of employment in another. In our own time a sudden
falling off in trade causes great hardship to the workmen, and in the
seventeenth century the hardship was thus far greater. The demand for
manufactured goods was essentially unstable; the social organisation
was based on an underlying assumption that work was stable. The
introduction of manufactures would therefore cause peculiar hardship to
the poor employed in them, if exceptional measures of this kind could
not be enforced.

[355] See Chap. VII.

There are several other references in the succeeding years which
refer chiefly or wholly to the action of the Council in enforcing
provision of work for the unemployed[356]. But after January 1631,
regulations of this kind formed part of the Book of Orders of that
date, and the Register of the Council, so far as it concerns the poor,
relates chiefly to the Royal commission, then just appointed, or to the
enforcement of the Book of Orders as a whole.

[356] 15th Feb., 1630/1. Rutland justices ordered to see the poor were
set to work. See Appendix.

31st March, 1631. Houses of Correction were to be erected in Herts.
without any more delay.

22nd April, 1631. J.P.'s of Middlesex and to those of Westminster.
Elsewhere much good had been done but they were negligent. Order them
to look after Houses of Correction and set vagabonds to work there.

31st March, 1631. Lord-Lieutenants commanded to see the poor were set
to work.

8th Jan., 1635-6. Several propositions for the employment of the poor
were referred to a committee, who were to give such order as was fit
for so good a work.

15th April, 1637. Inquiry into want of work at Godalming.

25th Aug. 1639. Inquiry into the grievances of the journeymen silk
weavers, who complain of slack work and lowered wages, f. 615. All
these are entered under their respective dates in the _Privy Council
Register_. We shall see when we consider the relief of the different
classes of poor in detail that there are evidences as to the result of
the Privy Council action on other occasions.

[Sidenote: 6. The Royal commission and Book of Orders as a whole.]

As early as June, 1630, a special committee of the Council itself had
been appointed commissioners for the poor[357], but in January in the
next year a further step was taken and a commission was issued to the
chief people in the country. The minutes of a few of its meetings
have been preserved, but these relate mainly to an inquiry into the
administration of Mr Kendrick's charity at Reading[358]. Its influence
seems to have been very considerable, but to have been exerted not so
much through the proceedings of the commission as a whole as through
the appointment of local committees, and through the delegation of its
powers for administrative purposes to various sub-committees. It had
the power to ask for the appointment of local commissions, and it was
in this way that it could most effectively deal with abuses in any
particular district. Thus if there was a complaint of great distress
or if charitable funds were not properly applied, a local commission
was suggested. Such commissions were granted for Bury, Exeter,
Colchester, for the parishes in and about London, and for Stamford in
county Lincoln[359], and would be a terror to evildoers in matters of
charitable endowments.

[357] In June 1630 the following Privy Councillors were appointed
"Commissioners for the Poore."

  Lord Privy Seal.
  Earl Marshall.
  Earl of Bridgwater.
  Earl of Danby.
  Lord Viscount Wimbledon.
  Lord Viscount Dorchester.
  Lord Viscount Falkland.
  Mr Trer.
  Mr Vic. Chamb.
  Mr Secre. Coke, "or anie foure of them."

The petition of Viscount Wimbledon is referred to them on 12th Nov.,

[358] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 213, dated Jan. 1631. This
volume is said to contain the minutes of the proceedings of the
Commissioners of the Poor, but after a few pages there are few entries
relating to the poor at all. There was an inquiry into the hospitals of
London and into Kenrick's charity at Reading, but little besides.

[359] _Privy Council Register_, Commissions for Exeter and Colchester
were issued 29th Feb., 1631/2, for Stamford 2nd July, 1632, f. 127,
for the London parishes 31st May, 1632. One for Bury had been issued
before 29th Feb. 1631/2, and further complaints were referred to its
members. All these commissions are stated to be issued in accordance
with the commission of the 5th Jan. 1630/1 for putting in execution the
"lawes for the reliefes of the poore," which authorised the granting of
commissions for inquiry into charitable trusts at the request of six of
the commissioners.

But the commissioners not only delegated their powers by means of local
commissions. For administrative purposes they divided themselves into
groups, each consisting of six or seven commissioners. One of these
sub-committees was attached to the counties of each circuit. Thus
Wentworth was amongst those especially responsible for the Northern
Circuit; Laud and Coke were assigned to that of Lincoln; Dorchester,
Falkland and Bridgwater to the district round Shropshire; Abbot, the
Archbishop of Canterbury, and Wimbledon to Kent; the Earl of Holland to
Norfolk, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the west country[360].
This division would immensely increase the administrative usefulness
of the commissioners and was adopted immediately before the issue of
the Book of Orders. It was therefore most probably connected with the
system then established, and designed to enable the commissioners to
bring their influence to bear on the judges, and through them on every
justice in the county.

[360] Addit. MSS. British Museum, No. 12496, f. 282. This document
states that the commissioners were assigned to particular districts
in order that the business of the several counties might be more
thoroughly investigated. The distribution was made according to
circuits because the judges of each circuit were to receive the
justices' reports from the district and then to account to the

The Book of Orders was issued in January 1630/1. It is the most
important of the measures connected with the poor enforced by the
Privy Council. It was not the only document of the kind. We have seen
that a Book of Orders for the prevention of scarcity was issued in the
time of Queen Elizabeth, and was amended and re-issued in the reigns
of James and Charles. This method of issuing a Book of Orders was now
adopted for the relief of the poor at all times and not only in years
of scarcity.

The Orders begin by stating that many excellent laws were in existence
both for the relief of the poor and for the proper employment of
charitable endowments; these for a short time after the making of
the laws were duly executed, and that in some parts of the kingdom
"where some justices of the peace and other magistrates doe duely
and diligently execute the same, there evidently appeareth great
reformation, benefit, and safety to redound to the Commonwealth."
But they also inform us that in other parts of the realm there was
now great neglect, and that these orders were therefore necessary.
The orders and the directions were given separately; the directions
order the enforcement of the regulations of the statutes such as those
for the repression of beggary, the binding of apprentices, and the
provision of both work and relief. They especially command energy in
the matter within the jurisdictions of lords and at the Courts leet.
Only two of them impose new regulations. One orders that the Correction
houses in all counties should be made next to the gaol; the other has
especial reference to the time of scarcity; rates were to be raised
in every parish, and contributions were to be given by the richer
parishes to help the poorer ones, "especially from those places where
depopulations have beene, some good contribution to come for helpe of
other parishes."

Eight Orders precede the directions; they prescribe the method
of administration rather than what was to be administered, and it
was this that was most important. The justices of every shire were
to divide themselves so that certain of them were responsible for
particular hundreds. They were to hold monthly meetings and to meet
the constables, churchwardens, and overseers. From these they were
to inquire what measures they had taken in every parish and to hear
who were the offenders against the laws. The justices were to punish
neglect, and were themselves to report every three months to the
sheriff. The reports were to be sent on to the Judges of Assize, and
from them to the Lords Commissioners, some of whom, as we have seen,
were especially responsible for every circuit. The Judges of Assize
were particularly to inquire which justices were negligent[361] and to
make a report to the king.

[361] Addit. MSS. 12496, f. 243. The Orders and Directions, but not the
preamble, are printed by Eden. _State of the Poor_, Vol. i., p. 156.

It is not difficult to see that these Orders would greatly help the
general administration of the law. Some trouble was found in executing
them, but the Book of Orders formed the basis of the organisation for
the relief of the poor for the years between 1631 and 1640. In April,
1632, we are told that much good has been done, but there are now
signs of slackness. All the justices are to do their best and to make
certificates to the judges[362]. In October 1633 the returns had not
been so well made, and the judges were asked to find out what justices
were remiss[363]. In May 1635 a letter was sent to the judges stating
that many times they had received charge to see the Book of Orders put
in execution. Still in most places the justices have been exceedingly
negligent, and the judges are ordered to insist on their doing their
work and returning their certificates[364]. The effect of the Book
of Orders we shall be more easily able to estimate later, but we can
see from the entries made in these minutes of the Council itself how
energetically its members tried to see that their directions were

[362] A minute of letters directed to "y^r high Sheriffe of y^e
severall countyes of England and Wales," _Privy Council Register_,
April 30th, 1632.

[363] _Privy Council Register_, 16th Oct., 1633.

[364] _Ib._, 7th May, 1635.

Many regulations were made about particular places in time of plague,
but to some extent this had been done in the reign of Elizabeth and
it is not a new development in the policy of the Council. It will be
sufficient to notice that frequent resolutions were passed on the
subject, particularly in 1636, 1637, and 1638, and that many of these
decisions take for granted a fairly efficient organisation for the
relief of the poor in ordinary times[365]. We shall have to consider
these measures more in detail when we examine the provision made for
the poor in time of sickness.[366]

[365] Thus on 25 Sept. 1636, a collection is ordered in the cities of
London and Westminster and in the counties of Middlesex and Surrey for
those affected with plague.

[366] On 30th May the Council order a collection for those stricken
with plague in Hadleigh, and also for the poor clothworkers who are out
of work and have no means of subsistence. Like collections were made
for Northampton 10th May, 1638, and for Gloucester 16th May, 1638, &c.
_Privy Council Register._

[Sidenote: 7. Interference of the Council with wages.]

There are also several examples of the interference of the Council
with wages with the object of relieving the poor. We have seen that in
1629 the cloth trade was depressed, and that the Lords of the Council
endeavoured to insist that work and relief should be provided for the
workmen out of employment. At the same time they also made efforts on
behalf of those who were still employed. In July, 1629, they wrote to
the Earl of Warwick and justices of Essex concerning the weavers of
baize in the neighbourhood of Bocking and Braintree. Wages were already
low, and the men hardly able to live by their labour, yet the employers
were trying to force their workmen to make a greater length of cloth
for the same wages. "Wee thinke it very fit and just," write the
members of the Council, "that they (the weavers) should receive such
payment for their worke as in reason ought to be given according to the
proportion thereof and also that the said Bayes which are woven in the
saide countie are to be made of one length[367]."

[367] _Privy Council Register_, 3rd July, 1629, Vol. 5, f. 399.

In February, 1631, the weavers of Sudbury complained; a petition to the
Council was presented on behalf of Sylva Harbert and others, saying the
"poore spinsters, weavers and combers of wooll" were "much abridged of
their former and usuall wages" by the clothiers, "who are now growne
rich by the labours of the said poore people." The matter was referred
to a committee with instructions to cause "orderly payment" to be made
of the "due and accustomed wages.... And in case any particular person
shalbe found either out of the hardnes of his harte towards the poore
or out of private end or humo^r refractory to such courses as the said
com^{rs} shall thinke reasonable and iust" he shall be ordered to
appear before the board[368].

[368] _Privy Council Register_, 16th Feb., 1630/1.

The employers stated that all of the trade had reduced wages, but that,
if a general rule were made binding on all the employers, they would be
willing to agree to give any wages which were thought reasonable[369].
A rate was fixed by an Order in Council, but the decision was not
obeyed. Lawsuits were brought by clothier against clothier, until
another attempt was made to settle the matter, and in 1636 Charles I.
issued Letters Patent fixing the length of the reel and ordering that
the wages of all the workpeople should be raised in proportion[370].

[369] _Cal. of State Papers_, 27th April, 1631, p. 22.

[370] Rymer, XX. 41.

It is evident, then, that in 1629 the masters of Braintree and Booking
were trying to take advantage of the competition of their workmen to
force down wages, and that in this particular trade both then and
afterwards the Council tried to prevent anything of the kind being done.

A bad harvest in 1629, followed by a worse in 1630, plunged not only
the clothworkers but the whole labouring class into distress. Amongst
many other measures calculated to relieve this scarcity the Council
again interfered with wages in order to aid the whole body of workmen.

Wages had been legally fixed by law in various ways since the middle
of the fourteenth century, and in 1563 it had been provided that
the justices of the peace should every year fix the scale of wages
according to the prices of food, and other conditions of the workmen.
It has been generally considered that these assessments were either
ineffectual or were enforced in the interest of the employers and not
that of the employed. But on September 29th, 1630, the Council ordered
four letters to be written, directed to the justices of the peace
of Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and to the mayor of Norwich,
the contents of which clearly show that in this instance the Council
interfered with the object of helping the poor. The people themselves
had complained that the rates had not been properly made for them
according to law; the Council thereupon write down to the justices and
say that "these hard and necessitus tymes doe require some better care
to be had in that behalfe; we have therefore thought good at this time
to recommend the same to yo^r extraordinarie care. For the statutes
of 5 Eliz. and 1 Jac. having so carefully provided against these
inconveniences, it were a great shame if for want of due care in such
as are speciallie trusted with the execution of these lawes, the poore
should be pinched in theise times of scarcitie and dearth. And his
Mat^{ie} and this Board cannot but be exceeding sensible of any neglect
or omission which may occasion such evill effects, as are like to ensue
thereupon. And therefore since neither you nor any other can pretend
any want of legall power to have prevented all just cause of complainte
in this kinde wee doe hereby in his Mat^{ies} name will and require you
to use such care and diligence that his Mat^{ie} and this Board may
not be troubled with any complaint for want of due execution of the
aforesaid statute. And so etc.[371]"

[371] The text of the document and the substance of these paragraphs
have already appeared in _The English Historical Review_, January,
1898, p. 91.

The fact that the men complained and that the Council so promptly
interfered in this matter is a strong argument that both the workmen
and the members of the Council believed that the assessments were
enforced, or at least that they had a great influence on the wages
actually paid. The occurrence certainly shows us that in this instance
the assessments were ordered to be made in the interests not of the
masters but of the men, and that it was the intention of the Government
to protect the men from oppression. It suggests that the justices were
negligent, but it brings into prominence the fact that the justices
were supervised by the Privy Council.

There is reason for believing that the determination here shown by
the Council to help the poor had considerable weight in inducing the
justices to make the wages assessments of the time. It was probably an
immediate consequence of this letter that the Norwich justices drew
up a new assessment, and reported the fact to the Council in Dec.
1630[372]. Moreover a very large proportion of the other assessments
which have been preserved of the reigns of James and Charles belong
to the years of scarcity, when the relief of the poor was the main
object of the justices[373]. As money wages were rising throughout the
century, new assessments were always in favour of the workman and would
become most necessary in times when the price of food was high; they
would also most readily be made when the necessities of the poor were

[372] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 176, No. 1, 1st Dec. 1630.
"And we have accordinge to the Statute appointed the wages of servants,
laborers and workemen at such Rates as will conveniently recompence
their paynes and yeld unto them competent maintenaunce."

[373] Wages assessments have been printed for Bury St Edmunds in
1630 (_The English Historical Review_, April 1897); for St Albans in
1631 (A. E. Gibbs, _Corporation Records of St Albans_, p. 281); for
Gloucester in 1632 (Thorold Rogers _History of Agriculture and Prices_,
Vol. VI., p. 694). One also exists for Hertford made in 1631, _Hist.
Man. Com. R._ XIV., App. viii., p. 160.

It is perhaps worth while to notice one other instance of protection
given to workmen by the Privy Council. During another time of trade
depression, in the year 1637, Thomas Reignolds, manufacturer, made
his workmen accept cloth instead of money for their wages. The men
complained; the Council found it was a second offence and ordered
Thomas Reignolds to be sent to the Fleet until he had paid his workmen
double the amount they had lost, and their charges for bringing the
complaint besides[374]. The punishment for truck inflicted by the Privy
Council during the personal government of Charles I. was certainly

[374] _Privy Council Register_, 10th May, 1637. On 17th May an order
was made for the release of Thomas Reignolds as he had then given the
weavers full satisfaction.

[Sidenote: 8. Summary.]

Thus in the period from 1597 to 1644 the Privy Council are increasingly
active on behalf of the poor, and during eleven of these years, from
1629 to 1640, they adopt a policy of constantly exerting influence to
secure the proper administration of the poor laws. This continuous
policy seems to be suggested by the exceptional measures which had
formerly been adopted in years of scarcity. In every season of
high-price corn since 1527 some action of this kind was taken, and
every exceptionally bad time of distress increased the extent of
governmental interference. The continuous policy adopted between 1629
and 1640 began with a failure of harvest and crisis in the cloth trade,
and the earlier methods of the Government were like those of 1597
and 1622. But while the season of scarcity still continued the Privy
Council issued the Book of Orders for the relief of the poor, and the
organisation begun by these commands was continued throughout the
period of personal government.

Abbot and Laud, Wentworth and Falkland, Dorchester and Wimbledon are
the members of the Privy Council whose names are most closely connected
with this policy. Its effects and success we shall be better able
to estimate later, but we can already see that the system which the
Privy Council tried to enforce was considerably more extensive than
any organisation of poor relief with which we are familiar. Already we
know that the poor were not only looked after in times of bad harvests,
as in the sixteenth century, but they were also sometimes employed
when they were out of work, and that, not only when an individual was
unfortunate, but when whole classes were suffering from a fluctuation
in trade. This certainly could not always be carried out, but the
Council insisted that it should be attempted. The personal government
of Charles I. has been more associated with the exaction of Ship
Money than with attempts to enforce a system which has much in common
with the socialistic schemes with which we are familiar on paper, and
yet these eleven years are remarkable for more continuous efforts
to enforce socialistic measures than has been made by the central
Government of any other great European country. Apart from its success
or failure the attempt is interesting, because it shows us the ideal of
government which was in the minds of Charles I. and his advisers, and
reminds us that these infringers of individual liberties were also, in
intention at least, the protectors of the poor.




  1. Powers of the justices.
  2. Work of the justices in first putting the law in execution.
    (_a_) In West Riding in 1598.
    (_b_) In North Riding from 1605 onwards.
  3. Reports of the justices in response to the Book of Orders.
  4. The work of the judges.
    (_a_) Authoritative decisions on points of law.
    (_b_) Administrative work as the link between the Privy Council and the justices.
  5. The work of the overseers.
    (_a_) In 1599.
    (_b_) When stirred to greater activity by scarcity measures.
    (_c_) After the issue of the Book of Orders.

The increased activity of the Privy Council, which made the poor
law of the seventeenth century more effective than that of the
sixteenth, depended for its success upon the activity of the local
officials, particularly of the justices of the peace and the municipal
authorities. We will now therefore examine the work done (1) by the
justices and town rulers, (2) by the judges[375], and (3) by the

[375] Although the judges were not strictly speaking local authorities
so much of their work with regard to the poor law was done locally that
it seems more convenient to consider them in this connection.

[Sidenote: 1. Powers of the justices.]

We have seen, in the Elizabethan organisation of Norwich, how much the
justices and municipal officers could do when they were at their best,
but preambles, proclamations, and letters of the Privy Council combine
to tell us that continuous vigour and energy were exceptional. Still
the important point is that this local government existed, and under
pressure could become effective. It was because the organisation was
there that the letters of the Privy Council were so important; if the
justices had been powerless officials, Privy Council letters would have
been useless. It is because the justices had the power and could be
effective, that it is necessary for us to see how far the Privy Council
measures stirred them into action.

The Chancellor's charge in 1608 to the justices and judges throws some
light on the social position and importance of the justices, and also
shows that the Government thought it very necessary that their work
should be well done. The Chancellor complained that the justices who
did the work could have no place on the bench, and could hardly get
into the court "for the number of newe and younge knightes, that come
in there braueryes and stande there lyke an Idoll to be gazed vpon
and doe nothinge, ys so greate and pressinge for place countenaunce
and estimacyon." These young justices are reminded that "they are not
Justices for their countenaunce onelye." They and the other justices
are exhorted to "remember there oathes and dutyes that they are
for the Justice, peace and gouernemente of the cuntrye." They were
especially commanded to prevent vagrants from wandering; to see that
the proclamation and letters "for corne busynes" were enforced, and
that "y^e poore be prouyded for w^{th}in there paryshes." They were
also told that it was their duty to prevent all riotous assemblies at
the beginning, and that if there were disturbances they would be held
responsible[376]. This speech shows us that the Government thought
the peace of the country depended mainly upon the vigilance of the
justices, and that the office of justice of the peace was much coveted
because of the influence and respect it gave its possessor.

[376] _Les Reportes del Cases in Camera Stellata_, John Hawarde, ed. W.
P. Baildon, p. 367-8.

[Sidenote: Powers of the justices under the Statutes.]

Under the provisions of the poor laws the justices had some duties for
the performance of which they were directly responsible, and others
in which they had to supervise the overseers and the constables. They
were directly responsible for the relief of maimed soldiers, for the
maintenance of Houses of Correction and for contributions to prisoners
and to such county hospitals as were in existence. They were further
the authorities who made the special assessments in time of plague and
levied the rates in aid of poorer parishes. To them were also referred
questions of settlement and other matters which concerned several
parishes. Moreover, although the overseers were primarily responsible
for setting the able-bodied poor to work, the justices sometimes levied
county rates for this purpose, and occasionally ordered that particular
people should be relieved from county funds.

But the hardest part of their duty in this matter consisted in the
proper supervision of the overseers. The names of the poor of each
parish had to be presented to them, and the assessments sanctioned by
them; it was their duty to examine the overseers' accounts and to see
that the pauper children were bound apprentices. Moreover, they had to
punish negligent officials, to coerce unwilling contributors, and to
listen to the appeals of aggrieved persons, whether they were injured
ratepayers or unrelieved poor.

[Sidenote: 2. Work of justices in first putting the law in execution.]

[Sidenote: (_a_) In the West Riding in 1598.]

The orders of the West Riding Sessions Rolls during 1598[377] give
us some idea of the difficulties of the justices in putting the
system into execution. The statute of 1597-8 was apparently the
first regulation of the kind generally administered in the West
Riding, but efforts were made to enforce this as soon as it came into
operation[378]. In June 1598 elaborate orders were drawn up for the
division of Knaresborough, which show us that the new methods met with
considerable opposition. The churchwardens and overseers presented the
names of the poor, but they said that all the parishes objected to pay
money. The inhabitants preferred to give "releefe" to beggars, and
some, they said, could help in this way who could not afford to pay
rates. The justices allowed the parishioners to have their own way to
some extent. They stipulated, however, that the poor should ask relief
of their fellow parishioners only, and that those who were able to
work should be set to work. Moreover, the occupiers who lived out of
the parish and the inhabitants who refused to give sufficiently were
to be assessed[379]. It was not only in Knaresborough that poor rates
were unpopular. Seven inhabitants of Tickhill refused to give the sum
assessed on them[380], while in Bentley and Arkesey an assessment was
duly made, but the money was not paid until the goods of many of the
inhabitants had been distrained[381].

[377] The _West Riding Sessions Rolls_ have been printed from 10th
Jan. 1597-8 to the 1st July, 1602, inclusive. The Roll for the year
1598 contains the orders made at the Sessions as well as the panels
and indictments, _West Riding Sessions Rolls_, Vol. III., Yorkshire
Archæological Association.

[378] April, 1598. "Ordered that the churchwardens and surveiors of
the poore within the parishe of Braiton shall see and take order that
Elizabethe Corker and her iiij^{or} children shalbe releeved and
provided for as the late statute requireth etc." _West Riding Sessions
Rolls_, p. 76.

[379] _West Riding Sessions Rolls_, pp. 84-86, June, 1598.

[380] _Ib._ p. 94.

[381] _Ib._ p. 97. The churchwardens and overseers of Wakefield in some
way failed to comply with the statute, although according to Arth's
pamphlet the poor there were sufficiently relieved. _Ib._ p. 118. See
Chap. VIII. _supra_.

This enforcement of local responsibility at first increased rather than
lessened the hardships endured by many of the poor. We are told that
"divers personnes are nowe sent forth of all partes of this realme to
the places of their births; wherof some of those personnes so sent have
bene inhabitinge and dwellinge in those places and townes from whence
they are sent by the space of twentie yeares, some more, some lesse."

This was done by the parochial officials in order that their own parish
might not be forced to support these poor people. They endeavoured
to shift the burden to the parish where the people were born, or to
get them sent as rogues to the House of Correction, where they would
be supported by the county. The justices of the West Riding tried to
prevent this unjust practice. No poor of the Knaresborough division
were to be sent to the place of their birth without special order from
some neighbouring justice of the peace. Moreover, the testimonials of
the poor passing through the division were to be examined, and when the
bearers were found to have lived more than three years in the parish
from which they were sent they were to return again. "For," say the
justices, "such kynde of personnes ... are not rooges nor wanderinge
beggers within the meanyng of the statute, but ought to be releived as
the poore of the parishe wher they so inhabited and wher they wrought
when they were able to worke[382]."

[382] _West Riding Sessions Rolls_, pp. 84, 85. Knaresborough Orders.

The Mayor of Doncaster seems to have been an offender in this respect;
a poor man named Gregorie Shawe had lived in Doncaster twenty years and
was in the Hospital, but he had been turned out and sent away. _Ib._
XXXI. p. 105.

The refusal of the inhabitants to pay rates and this illegal way in
which the parochial authorities attempted to get rid of the poor they
were now forced to maintain indicates that the first enforcement of
the new poor law caused considerable dissatisfaction[383]. These
difficulties bear out the conclusion that no earlier poor law had been
adequately put in force in this district. Now, however, the justices
insisted that more should be done, and occasionally they seem to have
been successful[384].

[383] Sometimes a parish was disobedient even when an order for relief
was made by the justices. Thus the parish of Silkston had been ordered
to pay vi^d weekly to John Michell of Gunthwaite towards the educating
of Mary and Elisabeth Michell. They had neglected to do so and were
therefore fined £3. 6_s._ 8_d._, while the churchwardens and overseers
were ordered to provide for the children "according to the last statute
in that case made and provided." _Ib._ p. 96.

[384] The following orders seem to show that regular relief funds could
be taken for granted. A poor succourless child was left in Ossett,
and Ossett was charged with many poor. The three townships of Ossett,
Dewisburie and Suthill were each to pay 16/8^d. for its support. _Ib._
p. 41.

A child came with its mother begging to Northowrom: the mother fell ill
and was carried by the constable to a poor man's house in Shelfe, where
she died. Northowrom was ordered to pay a shilling and Shelfe 4^d.
towards the relief of the child. _Ib._ p. 39. There are several other
orders of the kind. See p. 40.

[Sidenote: 2. (_b_) Work of the justices in first putting the poor law
in execution in the North Riding.]

The North Riding Records begin in 1605 and disclose a somewhat similar
state of things. The system of compulsory poor relief is evidently more
generally in operation. Vigilance in enforcing laws designed to prevent
the growth of a poor population is one of the signs that the poor
rates in a district are high, and in the North Riding much care was
taken to prevent the building of cottages without four acres of land,
and to punish landlords who took in lodgers[385]. Moreover, maimed
soldiers received pensions, the county hospitals were supported and
many orders were made for the relief of particular poor people[386].
A House of Correction was also built, though not until 1619, after
many resolutions had been passed on the subject[387]. On the other
hand, there is also evidence that the organisation did not yet work
smoothly. Overseers are constantly presented for neglecting their
duties, ratepayers for not paying their rates; sometimes even all the
overseers of a parish are presented for not making "cessments," or for
not relieving the poor[388], and in one case not only did the overseer
neglect to obey the justices' order for the relief of a particular poor
man, but the constable refused to obey the warrant for the apprehension
of the overseer[389]. If the justices' difficulties in Yorkshire are
typical of their difficulties elsewhere, it is not surprising that some
of them were negligent.

[385] Thus on April 14, 1607, Rob. Thompson was presented for building
a cottage or habitation for John Joye of Alne, labourer, now occupied
by the same, without assigning to it four acres of land &c., contrary
to the statute 31 Eliz. _North Riding Sessions Rolls_, Vol. I. p. 68.
Several cases of the same kind were presented at Richmond Oct. 8, 1607,
and they occur frequently throughout the North Riding Sessions Rolls
of our period until 1672, except from the period 1634 to 1647. _North
Riding Sessions Rolls_, vol. VI. 177, Oct. 8, 1672. See also pp. 28,
94, 99, 112 &c.

Like presentments were made for harbouring inmates or undersettles
(i.e. lodgers) until 1675, VI. p. 232, e.g. Oct. 8, 1607. Leon.
Marshall of Ravensworth "for keeping of an undersettle for the space of
a moneth &c. and also John Ramshawe, James Foster and Richard Dunn all
of the same: they were fined 10_s._ each." _Ib._ vol. I. p. 95.

[386] Thus there was a disputed liability with regard to Margery
Pearson, and she was to be relieved in accordance with the decision of
Sir Richard Etherington and Tho. Dearle, Esq., _Ib._ vol. I. p. 12.

Elizabeth Scotson of Melmerby is to be provided for by the High
Constable and the churchwardens and overseers of the parish, _Ib._ p.
97. See also pp. 115, 117, 124, 125 &c.

The Treasurer for the hospitals appears all through these records. In
1608 the payments made by Mr Brigges, Treasurer for the Langbaurgh
district, were as follows:--

                                          £   _s._ _d._
  The Hospitall juxta Malton              13    6    8 per ann.
  Hospitall of Sharbrough                  5    0    0
  The Marshallsey                              20    0
                                    Summa 19    6    8

At the same time another treasurer for the district distributed
pensions to eleven soldiers amounting altogether to £28. 6_s._ 8_d._
_Quarter Sessions Records, North Riding_, vol. II. p. 257.

[387] _Quarter Sessions Records, North Riding_, Vol. I.

p. 75, 13th July, 1607. "It is ordered that there shalbe a House of
Correction at Thirske within the North ridding of the countie of Yorke."

p. 203. Oct. 2nd, 1610. "Two Houses of Correction shalbe builded
within the North Riding, whereof thone to be within the Liberties of

p. 225. April 26, 1611. House fixed upon but not yet used as a House of

1612-19. Orders continue about the House of Correction the site of
which was sometimes arranged at Richmond and sometimes at Thirske.

p. 229. Jan. 8, 1619/20. The House was almost finished at Richmond and
the Governor was appointed.

p. 249. Oct. 1620. James Durham committed.

Vol. III. p. 134. Jan. 15th, 1621/2. £100 raised for stock. There are
many entries relating to committals in the succeeding years, vol. III.
pp. 39, 64 &c.

[388] April 29, 1606. Relief of Ellen Killington ordered by parish of
Boltby; the same order is repeated on July 10, pp. 38, 43. _Quarter
Sessions Records, North Riding_, p. 1. The following also were

11th April, 1605. Michael Meeke, one of the Churchwardens of Kirkly
on the Wiske for not paying the sum due for lame soldiers and the
hospitals, p. 2.

p. 31. Richard Nicholson, of Topcliffe, for taking on himself the
office of Overseer and declined to fulfil the duties.

p. 99. "Rog. Ringrose of Aymonderly being one of the supervisours of
the poore for Appleton-in-the-Street A.D. 1600 for not having maid his
monethly accompt for the said office for that year and the like for the
years 1601 to 1607 both inclusive."

July 1611, p. 231. The Overseers of Kirklington for not relieving
their poor and exercising their office. Also the Overseers of Wath,
Burneston, Topcliff, West Garfeild and Condall.

Jan. 11, 1632/3. The Churchwardens and Overseers of Grinton for not
making cessments for the relief of their poor, etc., p. 345.

[389] April 11, 1621. _Quarter Sessions Records, North Riding_, vol.
III. p. 115.

[Sidenote: 3. Reports of the justices in response to the Book of

Between 1629 and 1631 there was a new development in consequence of
the frequent orders on behalf of the poor of those years. In each
period of scarcity the justices had been told to allot themselves to
particular divisions for the purpose of carrying out the special orders
sent by the Privy Council. The Book of Orders of January 1630/1 made
this a permanent arrangement so far as the relief of the poor was
concerned[390]. The justices of each particular division were to meet
monthly and examine the overseers and constables so as to see that
their duties with regard to the destitute were properly fulfilled.

[390] See Chapter VIII.

Not only were these orders made but we have evidence that they were
executed. The proclamation of 1629 and the Book of Orders of 1630/1
direct reports of the justices' proceedings to be sent to the Council.
About a thousand reports dealing with the ordinary relief of the poor
were received and are preserved among the State Papers. A few of them
relate to the proclamation of 1629 or to other special letters or
inquiries, but the majority are reports as to the execution of the Book
of Orders of 1630/1. Moreover, three hundred other documents concern
efforts to provide corn at reasonable prices for the poor. These latter
begin to arrive in October, 1630, and are numerous in December. The
series of reports on ordinary poor relief are exceptional in 1630, but
were received frequently in April and May, 1631. Both series of reports
were returned until 1633; after that date there are few corn reports,
but those dealing with the poor continue until 1639, when both cease
altogether[391]. A proclamation is issued in 1640, and, like that of
1629, orders the execution of the poor laws and the provision of stocks
for the employment of the poor; it also orders special inquiry by the
judges as to how far these orders were executed, and as to how far
they were successful[392]. But there are no more reports, and it seems
most probable that no more were sent. These documents thus relate to
the years 1630 to 1639, that is to the greater part of the period of
the personal government of Charles I. They exist in consequence of the
action of the Privy Council and form the chief evidence as to how far
that action was effectual.

[391] One letter in the form of a corn report and several reports
dealing with ordinary poor relief are printed in the Appendix.

[392] _Proclamation Book_, Chas. I., No. 228.

The details of these returns will have to be considered in every part
of our subject, and especially when we come to discuss the relief
given to the able-bodied poor. We will now only examine their general
character, partly in order that we may see what sort of work was done
by the justices acting under the special instructions of the Privy
Council, and partly that we may understand the kind of evidence which
is furnished by these documents. We have seen that the orders issued
by the Privy Council to the justices concerning the poor were similar
in form to those that had previously been issued concerning corn. The
reports sent in answer to them are also similar to the corn reports
of 1587. They are sometimes addressed to the Sheriff, often to the
judges of Assize, and occasionally directly to the Lords Commissioners
or Lords of the Privy Council[393]. The justices adopt many different
methods in making their returns. Occasionally they enclose the
reports of the overseers, or give a full abstract of them[394]. But
more usually the justices only state the general nature of their
doings, occasionally inserting details about particular assessments,
workhouses, or fresh methods of employing their poor. Incidentally they
frequently give us information as to the state of trade, the number of
recusants, the population, weights and measures, and the difficulties
in the way of administration[395].

[393] See Appendix XII. Reports B. E. and H. were sent first to the
sheriff, C. is sent to the Lords of the Privy Council, G. was delivered
to the judges of assize.

[394] See Appendix XII. B. F. G.

[395] See Appendix XII. D. E. F. New assessments and the increase of
assessments are frequently mentioned, e.g. _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., vol.
192, 79; the fines of people who do not go to church in many others,
e.g. Hitchen and Broadwater, _D. S. P._, Chas. I., vol. 238, No. 42.
Other reports state whether there is employment in the cloth trade or
other occupations, e.g. _D. S. P._, vol. 190, 54. In this report the
justices of Babergh and Cosford report that the clothiers are on the
point of dismissing their workfolk. It is interesting also to learn
that on April 5, 1631, Portsmouth only had corn for 20 days "there
being resident w^{th}in the said Towne and Liberties therof six hundred
persons att the least." _D. S. P._, Chas. I., vol. 188.

There are one or two cases in which they give the minutes of their
meetings. One of these is sent by the justices of the Alton division of
Hampshire and will give us an idea of how these special meetings were
conducted. The Sheriff sent a letter and the Orders to these justices
on February 10th, 1631. They held their first meeting on March 12th,
and three others before May 1st, so that they seem very anxious to set
things in order[396].

[396] _D. S. P. Chas. I._, vol. 189, 66.

On March 12th from Fropfield John Godden was presented for "being
drunk on the Sabbath day," John Roake "for liveing idlye," and four
others for "useinge unlawfull games in tyme of eveninge prayer." Five
children were also placed apprentices. From Petersfield there were
three cases of a man being accused of "liveinge idly and mainteyninge
himself none knowes howe." Warrants were sent for some others for
"teareinge of hedges." Six were fined a shilling each "for beinge
absent from diuine service," and John Aylenge paid eighteenpence as he
was suspected of being drunk. Richard Wolgatt was presented for keeping
"a common alehouse w^{th}out lycence but noe process beinge made to
convict him; yt was prohibited." The children fit for service of this
place also were placed apprentices. Similar cases were settled for the
other places at the other meetings. But the most important part of
the proceedings for our purpose is the presentment of the constables
and churchwardens. The constables and tithingmen stated what rogues
had been punished in every tithing, "the churchwardens and overseers
of the poore made presentm^t of the nomber of theire impotent poore
in theire severall parishes, the nomber of theire able poore and howe
they are releived and the other sett to worke and of all other thinges
concerninge theire office." At the fourth meeting, held on April 30th
at Petersfield, the accounts of the churchwardens and overseers were
taken and new overseers appointed for the next year. Moreover, besides
all this "articles in writing" were given to the constables, tithingmen
and overseers of which they were to give an exact account at the next

The report for the town of Cambridge gives perhaps even a better idea
of the work done by the justices but no details of cases. As we shall
have to refer so often to these justices' reports, it is worth while to
quote this one in full in order that we may have a clear idea of what
these documents were like.

      To the right Ho^{le}: the Lords and others of his Ma^{ties}
                     most Ho^{le} privy Councell.

 The certificate of the Maior, Aldermen and Justice of the peace
 w^{th}in the Towne of Cambridge and the lib(er)ties thereof
 concerninge his Ma^{ties} orders and direccons sent unto us in printed
 bookes together w^{th} letters from yo^r Hono^{rs} for the due
 puttinge in execucon such Lawes as tend to the releivinge of impotent
 poore people, settinge to worke those that be able, and punishinge
 those that be idle, and reformeinge of divers abuses and disorders
 therein menconed.

 Humbly sheweth,

 1. That accordinge to the said orders and letters, we presentlie uppon
 receipt thereof did assemble o^rselues together and calld before us
 the High Constables, petty Constables, Churchwardens, and overseers
 of the poore of o^r said Towne and gave them strictlie in charge for
 the performance of the service therein required accordinge to the said
 orders and direccons.

 2. That we have ever since kept and continewed o^r weekely
 meetings and there caused the said Constables dulie to make theire
 presentm^{ts} and from tyme to tyme have strictly called them to
 particular accompt concerninge the apprehendinge and punishinge of
 rogues and vagabonds for disorderly tiplinge, useinge unlawfull games
 and other misdemeanors in alehouses.

 3. That we have caused the said Constables to see the watches and
 wardes duly kept accordinge to lawe and to restrayne wandringe and
 goeing aboute of beggers and alsoe for safety and good order.

 4. That we have taken divers presentments of the said officers and
 inflicted punishment accordinge to lawe of the offenders both for
 drunknes for inordinate hauntinge of alehouses, for profanacon
 of the Saboth by Carriers travellinge with packhorses and carts,
 with butchers sellinge of meate, for profane swearinge and other
 misdemeanors and have caused the penalties to be duly taken and
 distributed accordinge to the lawe.

 5. That we beinge exceedingly oppressed w^{th} poore since o^r last
 heavy visitacon have taken order at o^r weekely meetings for the
 competent releife of the impotent, by raiseinge and increasinge the
 monthly rates in all o^r parishes to a treble and quadruple proportion
 through o^r towne for to keepe them from begginge and wandringe aboute.

 6. That we have caused the churchwardens and overseers of o^r severall
 parishes to sett to worke all such poore as are able to worke
 beinge of seaven yeares of age and upwards or to bynde them forth
 apprentises. And for the better performance of theire duties therein
 and whatt ells belongs to theire office we doe take of them a iust and
 exact accompt the ffirst weeke in every month howe they dispose of
 there monthly colleccon and other monies comeinge to there hands and
 alsoe howe the impotent poore are provided for and releived and the
 rest imployed and sett to worke and for punishment of such as are idle
 or refuse to worke.

 7. And as touchinge the Assize of bread and beare, as alsoe for
 punishinge of bakers, bruers, ingrosers, forestallers and the like
 (w^{ch} the governo^{rs} of the universitie clayme to belonge to them)
 we leave to the vicechancelor and governers thereof accordinge to
 there Charter of priviledge w^{ch} they challendge.

  May 2^o 1631.      SAMUEL SPALDYNG, Maior.
                     MARTIN PERSE.
                     RICHARD FOXTON.
                     EDWARD COPLEY.
                     JOHN WICKSTED.
                     ROBT. LUKYN.
                     THOMAS ATKINSON.
                     THO. PURCHAS.
                     JOHN SCHIREWOODE.
                     JOHN BADCOCKE[397].

[397] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., vol. 190, No. 13.

As the main part of our evidence depends on the justices' reports we
must determine whether the methods described in these returns are
typical of those employed all over the country or whether we have
reports only from the more energetic justices. Now we hear of some
instances of finding work for the unemployed from other sources[398].
If we possessed all the most favourable cases in our reports all or
most of these instances would be found amongst them. But this is
not the fact; some are reported and some are not. It is clear then
energetic administration of the law existed which was not mentioned in
the reports now preserved amongst the State Papers. We may therefore
conclude that the reports do not come only from vigorous administrators
but are fairly typical of the whole country.

[398] See note Chapter XII. for cases of employing the poor in counties
and towns where no justices' reports definitely report anything of the

The minutes of the meetings at Alton and the report of the justices
of Cambridge give us a good idea of the effect of the Orders and
Directions on the justices. In the first place they show us that a
number of meetings were held in consequence of the Book of Orders.
In some cases these meetings seem to have taken place every month
throughout the period from 1631 to 1639[399]; but from a report of
Lord Fairfax it appears that special inquiries into the requirements
of the Book of Orders were made only once a year in his part of
Yorkshire[400]. The meetings, even if they were only infrequent, must
have had a considerable influence in improving the execution of the
poor laws.

[399] _e.g._ Appendix XII. H.

[400] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 293, No. 129. Report from Ryedale,
July 1635.

On these occasions a number of offences were punished. Some were
connected with the relief of the poor because the fines exacted
were used for that purpose. Among these were such faults as playing
at unlawful games, getting drunk, swearing, the "profanacon of the
Saboth," and not going to church[401]. Other cases related to breaches
of the vagrancy laws and of that part of the poor law which placed upon
the overseers the duty of seeing that all who had not any means were
set to work[402].

[401] All these are mentioned in the above-mentioned reports from Alton
and Cambridge. The fines for not going to church were often regularly
exacted. In one report we are told that some of the accused were too
poor to pay and that others had compounded for recusancy, Vol. 300, No.

[402] See Chapter VIII. See above, Alton and Cambridge. See also
Appendix XII. B. Westmill.

But the presentment of offenders was only a part of the duties to the
poor discharged at the meetings. Arrangements were made for binding
children apprentice, and pressure was exercised on the subordinate
poor law officials to properly perform their duties. The justices
found out how many poor were relieved and what each received, and they
inquired whether there was a stock for their employment[403]. They
also, when necessary, urged the increase of rates, the raising of a
new fund, or the provision of stores of corn to be sold to the poor
at lower prices. The whole system shows how much of the social side of
government depended upon the justices, and may perhaps induce us to
sympathise with the complaint of the gentlemen of Nottingham that they
have "little rest either att home or abroade[404]."

[403] The proceedings at these meetings closely resemble those at
Petty Sessions. If these meetings were identical with the ordinary
Petty Sessions, then these latter must have been held more frequently
in consequence of the Book of Orders. Many of the reports, like that
of Cambridge, expressly state that the meetings they report were
held because of the letters and orders of January 1631, _e.g._ see
Winchester, _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 188, No. 101.

[404] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 189, No. 42.

[Sidenote: 4 _a_. The work of the judges. Authoritative decisions on
points of law.]

The judges also were concerned in the administration of the system
of poor relief partly in the ordinary course of their duties, and
partly in consequence of the special action of the Privy Council. It
was the custom of the time to obtain interpretations of law from the
judges in reply to general questions and not only through the decision
of particular cases. These interpretations were given not only in
such cases as the imprisonment of Members of Parliament, but also in
matters affecting the poor law. A long list of resolutions was arrived
at on the statute of 1597-8 concerning the interpretation of that
statute[405]. Other questions arose later, and were decided in the
same way. Thus in 1620 there was a dispute in the town of Lydd which
led to the seizure of the bailiff's cattle and his retirement from the
magisterial Bench of his ungrateful town[406]. The query is submitted
as to the legality of a tax for the poor which was levied on the
inhabitants of a parish for their lands and goods in gross, and on the
farmers for their land per acre. Sir Robert Houghton and Sir Ranulph
Carew decided in its favour, and the paper is endorsed "The question of
taxing for the poor of Lydd decyded by the Judges of Assize[407]." We
have already seen that the Council told the justices of Suffolk that it
was the resolution of all the judges that they themselves might levy a
tax to employ the poor[408], and in 1633 also many decisions on points
of law were issued as the resolutions of the judges of assize[409].

[405] See Chapter VIII.

[406] _Dom. State Papers_, James I., Vol. 115, Nos. 98, 100.

[407] _Dom. Stat. Papers_, James I., Vol. 116, No. 51.

[408] See p. 154 _supra_.

[409] Michael Dalton, _The Countrey Justice_, ed. 1655, p. 115. The
resolutions are given in the form of answers to questions submitted
to the judges on particular points of law. They decided among other
things, that a man must take an apprentice if the justices so ordered
whether payment were made or not; that all the lands in the parish must
be rated equally, but that an extra sum might be levied from a man
"for his visible ability" within the parish; and also various points
concerning settlement. One question and answer are as follows:

_Qu._ If one who is under the age of 30 years and brought up in
husbandry or a maid servant, or brought up in any of the arts or trades
mentioned in the statute, 5 Eliz. cap. 4, and not enabled according
to that stat. to live at his or her own hand, shall be warned by two
justices of the peace to put him or her self in service by a day
prescribed by them, and shall not doe the same accordingly, but shall
after continue living at his or her own hand, what course shall be
taken with such a person and how punished?

_Resol._ Such persons being out of service, and not having visible
means of their own, to maintain themselves without their labour, and
refusing to serve as a hired servant, by the yeer, may be bound over to
the next Sessions or Assises, and to be of good behaviour in the mean
time, or may be sent to the house of correction. These resolutions of
the judges are quoted by Dalton as having great authority.

[Sidenote: 4 _b_. Administrative work as the link between the Privy
Council and the justices.]

But the duties of the judges of assize under the orders of the Privy
Council were much more important. They had to act as the link between
the central government and the county and municipal officials. They
were particularly ordered to let the Council know which justices did
their duty[410], and many of the reports were sent in to them. In March
1630 we hear that in Suffolk malting was prohibited in the interest
of the poor by the judges of assize in order to increase the supply
of barley[411]; a little earlier the Norwich authorities had great
difficulty in controlling the maltsters, but stated that with the
approbation of the judges they had arranged that no alehouse should
be licensed but such as entered into a recognisance by sureties to
sell two "thurdendeles" of beer for a penny[412]. The work done by the
judges is indicated by one or two references of this kind[413], and
since some of the later orders of the Privy Council were especially
directed to them it seems probable that they had a great deal of
influence in enforcing the orders of the Council.

[410] _Privy Council Register_, 16 Oct., 1633.

[411] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 187, No. 22.

[412] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 186, No. 16.

[413] In 1631 also a dispute about a poor rate in Marlborough was
referred to the Lords of the Council and was sent by them to the Lord
Chief Justice and judges of assize. _Privy Co. Reg._, 13th May, 1631.

[Sidenote: 5 _a_. The work of the overseers in 1599.]

The last authority who was responsible for the execution of the poor
law was the overseer. He it was who had to do the work, the function of
all the others was to make him do it. It was the duty of the overseers
to know all about the poor in their parish; to fix the amount of the
assessment and to levy it proportionately. They had also to provide
pensions and habitations for the impotent poor, to find masters for
apprentices and to procure work for the unemployed. The overseers'
accounts for Staplegrove in the county of Somerset in the year 1599
will show us something of their ordinary work. Payments were made by
twenty-two parishioners quarterly and by sixteen weekly, while two of
the inhabitants took charge of two impotent people. Ten poor people
received payment of a small sum every week on what we should now call
the outdoor relief system. Besides this money had been disbursed in
order to provide for a pauper's burial, to recompense tithingmen
for receiving the poor strangers that were brought to them, and to
purchase clothes and wood for the older poor and also outfits for
apprentices[414]. In this account there is nothing about setting the
poor to work, but the rest of the poor law seems to have been well
executed in 1599.

[414] See Appendix.

[Sidenote: 5 _b_. When stirred to greater activity by scarcity

The kind of instruction given to the overseers when the justices were
stirred to greater activity than usual may be gathered from a paper in
the Tanner Manuscripts. It is entitled "A true copy of the charge given
to the overseers of every towne the 19 of December 1623," and must
refer to some particular county or some particular division. During the
early part of this year the price of corn was high and the justices
took many measures to provide for the poor. The sufferings of the
poor in the preceding winter may be the reason that the justices were
more strict in their supervision at this time. There are altogether
eight orders, one of which relates to alehouses; the constables and
overseers are ordered to see that the labourers and other poor are well
served with bread and beer, and that they do not linger longer than
is necessary for the delivery of the bread and beer. Another order
shows how very inquisitorial was the character of the Government of the
time: there was certainly no notion that the Englishman's house was his
castle. The overseers and one of the constables were twice every week
to search the houses of the labourers at night to see that all were at
home, and also to look out for any articles that the people might be
suspected of stealing. Several of the orders concern the keeping of the
poor at work[415]. Others arrange that children, not yet old enough to
be apprentices, should be taught to spin by some honest woman in the
town, who was to have a penny a week for each child until it could earn
something for itself. Beggars were to be punished, and provision of
fuel was to be made for the poor[416]. We can see how far removed this
system was from our own notions of liberty, and we can also see that if
the overseers performed these orders, they had even more reason than
the justices to complain of hard work. There is a great deal about the
provision of work and comparatively little about pensions, so that here
it seems likely that the overseers were more likely to provide for the
impotent without pressure than to find work for the unemployed. During
the years 1631 to 1640 we are often told that "articles" were delivered
to the overseers, and this document is not improbably typical of some
of them. For these are the kind of matters commented on by the justices
whenever they enter into details at all[417].

[415] See _supra_, p. 142.

[416] "A true coppy of the charge given to the overseers of every
towne," Dec. 19, 1623. Tanner MSS. LXXIII. II. f. 390.

[417] See justices' reports, Appendix XII.

[Sidenote: 5 _c_. After the issue of the Book of Orders.]

We have seen that in a few of the justices' returns the reports of the
overseers were enclosed. The justices of the Liberty of St Alban's sent
their answers in this manner. They were responsible for the parishes of
Chipping Barnet, East Barnet, Elstree and Northaw. In 1637 they still
held monthly meetings, and the overseers' accounts returned at them
will give us some idea of the work often done by overseers when they
were supervised in the special manner ordered in 1631 and continued
until 1640. At the January meeting of 1637 the justices gave "charge
that the presentments should be better and more fully certified[418]";
at the February meeting, therefore, fairly detailed reports were
returned from three of the four parishes[419]. At Chipping Barnet we
hear they have no Popish recusants or non-churchgoers. They have not
put forth any apprentice during the month, but are about to bind a
certain fatherless child. One of the magistrates undertook to see the
boy was bound before the next meeting. One family had apparently been
stricken with plague, and had been paid eight shillings before they
were shut up; eight weekly pensions were paid to impotent people, one
to a "Mad Tib," and two people receive payments for taking care of
children. The report also states that "we have in towe and yarne and
cloath xx^s and in money to buy more xx^s." From this account it is
clear that the poor were actually set to work in Chipping Barnet and
that not all the funds available for the purpose were utilised. From
Northaw the constables only report, but their return concerns poor
relief as well as vagrants. They say all the impotent poor are relieved
while the poor that can work are "sett on work and doe not refuse the
same." In this virtuous parish also none disorder themselves with
drinking or frequent alehouses during divine service on the Lord's
day and no idlers could be found though the constables had diligently
searched for them. From Elstree we have an account of the pensions paid
to certain poor people, and we have also the statements that "we have
in stocke for the poore remayning forty shillings," and "we set such on
worke as want uppon euery occasion." East Barnet makes no return, and a
warrant is sent for the overseers to answer the contempt. On April 9th,
1639, they send a report, and then relieve only one impotent person,
but have eight pounds in hand for setting the poor to work[420].

[418] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 344, No. 30.

[419] _Ib._, Vol. 347, No. 67.

[420] _Ib._, Vol. 418, No. 21.

If therefore we may take these reports as specimens of rural parishes,
we see that in each parish a stock existed for setting the poor to
work, and that there does not seem to have been any great difficulty
about the unemployed. The relief of the impotent and the apprenticing
of children appear to have been carefully looked after, and the
justices were prompt to notice any omission in the reports. We shall
see later that there is reason to believe that these parishes were not
exceptional, but that under the supervision of the justices the same
kind of measures were taken in many parts of southern England.

We have already seen that the central government, the Privy Council,
energetically tried to enforce the law, and that this increased energy
makes the seventeenth century the important period in England for
the poor law administration. We now see that in justices, judges and
overseers the local government existed through which the action of
the Privy Council could be made effectual. It is in this that England
differed from other European countries, particularly from France and
Scotland. We have drawn our information chiefly from the official
records of Privy Council, justices or overseers. We have noted examples
in the work of the justices and overseers in which the action of the
Privy Council did have a considerable effect. We have also seen that a
large body of evidence exists which will give us much information as
to the methods of relief employed, and may enable us to tell how far
the system was successful. We have now to see how this organisation
affected the poor, and how far it was generally enforced in all parts
of the country.

We will therefore cease to examine the system from the point of view of
the administrative machinery, and instead consider, first, the relief
which it afforded the various classes of poor, and secondly, the extent
to which the organisation, whose nature we have described, was employed
over the whole country.




A. _In Times of Emergency._

  § 1. The methods in which the Scarcity Orders of the Privy Council
were executed in 1623 and 1630-1.
     _a._ The suppression of alehouses and restrictions of malting.
     _b._ The regulations for serving the markets with corn and supplying
the poor in their homes.
     _c._ Selling corn bought by the inhabitants to the labourers under the
market price.
     _d._ Other special methods of providing food for the poor.
  § 2. Evidence as to the success or failure of the corn regulations.
  § 3. Reasons for their adoption.
  § 4. Bearing of the scarcity measures on history of poor relief.
      _a._ Growth of organisation.
      _b._ The standard of life of the poorer classes.
  § 5. Provision of fuel for the poor in winter.
  § 6. Help afforded in times of sickness or plague.
  § 7. Contributions to sufferers from fire.
  § 8. Two characteristics of seventeenth century poor relief accentuated
by this emergency relief.
     _a._ Little distinction between paupers and non-paupers.
     _b._ Little distinction between relief afforded by voluntary
contributions and that provided by poor rates.

The special emergencies in which the poor most often obtained relief in
the seventeenth century were those arising from bad harvests, sickness,
and fire.

We will first examine the methods of supplying the poor with corn
after bad harvests. We have already seen that in 1608, 1621-3, and
1629-31 the central government issued orders with this object, which
closely resembled the commands which had been issued during the reign
of Elizabeth. We have now to see how these orders were executed in the
early part of the seventeenth century.

In 1608 there is little evidence in this direction. A report however
was sent from Colchester. There, the constables took an account of
the number of persons that had corn by them; of the bargains they had
made and of the number of acres they had sown, and in accordance with
that survey every person was ordered to bring weekly to market so many
bushels of corn unless they had already sold them to poor artificers
and day labourers[421]. There were probably like reports from other
places but there is nothing to make us think that the scarcity Book of
Orders was better executed in 1608 than it had been in 1587 or 1597.

[421] Morant's _Essex_, p. 53.

[Sidenote: 1. The methods in which the scarcity orders of the Privy
Council were executed in 1623 and 1630-1.]

But in 1623 and in 1630-31 there are returns from many different
parts of the country, and these seem to show that the orders which
were occasionally put in force under Elizabeth were frequently put in
force under James I., and were usually well executed in the season of
scarcity in the reign of Charles I.

[Sidenote: _a._ The suppression of alehouses, and restrictions of

The Book of Orders issued in each period of scarcity contained
directions for limiting the quantity of malt and for suppressing
unnecessary alehouses. This was the case because barley bread was the
chief food of the poor, and they would be more easily able to obtain a
supply if the barley which would have been used for malt was brought
to the markets. The corn reports of 1623 and 1630-1 for the most part
state in general terms that these directions had been carried out[422].
Moreover sometimes the justices enter into details and show that they
had taken great care in putting this part of the Council's orders
into execution. Thus in 1623 the number of alehouses in Banbury was
reduced by one-third, in Ripon by a half, while in Wycombe only nine
were licensed out of twenty-one[423]. In April 1631 also in Bradford,
in Hertford, and in Stafford more than half the alehouses were

[422] See reports from Newbury, six hundreds of Norfolk, Taunton, nine
hundreds of Somerset, Wentllooge in Monmouthshire, Bridgewater, the
soke of Peterborough and the wildish parts of Pevensey, all returned
between May 21st and May 31st, 1631.

[423] _Cal. of State Papers._ Ripon, Feb. 25, 1623, Banbury, Mar. 1st,
Wycombe, Mar. 12.

[424] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 189, Stafford, No. 1, I.,
Bradford and Haworth, No. 8, V., Hertford, Vol. 189, No. 79.

Similar details show us that the making of malt was carefully
regulated. In 1623 the justices of South Hampshire fixed the total
quantity of barley that might be used for this purpose in the county
and allotted a definite quantity to each division: a hundred quarters
were allotted to each of the divisions of Andover and Fawley,
eighty quarters to that of Alton, and in proportion to the other
divisions[425]. At other times malting was suppressed altogether, as
in three hundreds of Herefordshire in 1623[426] and at Taunton in

[425] _Dom. State Papers_, Jac. I., Vol. 138, No. 14.

[426] _Ib._, Vol. 140, 25. The three hundreds were those of Stretford,
Grimsworth, and Wigmore.

[427] _Ib._, Chas. I., Vol. 192, No. 34.

Occasionally malting was continued by some of the maltsters, but in
order to counterbalance the injury to the poor they contributed in some
special way to their support. Thus at Warwick in 1623 the maltsters
brought corn to market and sold at a shilling a bushel under the market
price to the poorer people, while at Stafford in 1631 the maltsters who
had continued their trade in the town agreed to contribute a specified
sum to the support of the poor in several of the surrounding country
districts[428]. At Norwich some of the maltsters were disobedient,
and they were there ordered as a punishment to bring corn to the
public granary and sell it at low rates to the poor[429]. It is thus
clear that this regulation of the consumption of ale was made in the
interests of the poor, and that it was carefully executed in 1623 and

[428] _Ib._, Jas. I., Vol. 138, No. 88; Chas. I., Vol. 192, No. 25.

[429] Court Book of Norwich for the Court held 1st Feb. 1630/1.

[Sidenote: _b._ Regulations for serving the markets with corn and for
supplying the poor in their homes.]

As in 1586 and in 1597 elaborate surveys of the quantities of corn
possessed by each owner were made both in 1623 and 1630-1, and in
accordance with these surveys the farmers were ordered to bring a
proportional amount of their produce to market[430]. Moreover in
1623 and in 1631 increased attention was paid to the difficulties
experienced by the labourers who had not sufficient leisure to come to
market for the small quantities they were able to buy at a time. In
Babergh and Cosford and in Thingoe in 1623, arrangements were made for
their supply at home[431]. In 1631 more organised plans were adopted.
At Lewes a survey was made of the quantity of corn available and a
reasonable proportion was then allotted to each householder: out of the
residue the poor of every parish were to have enough to serve them,
while any that was then left over was to be sent to market[432]: in the
lath of Shepway two-thirds of the corn was sold to poor artificers at
home, while only one-third was brought to market and there sold to the
poor or to anyone who wanted to buy for his own consumption[433].

[430] Thus in 1623 detailed returns were sent in by the constables of
Devonshire, Vol. 144, 32, V. to XXXIV., while an especially elaborate
report was sent from the hundred of Pider in Cornwall on Dec. 2nd,
1630. The bushel there consisted of twenty gallons, and a return is
made of the number of people in every household, of the quantity of
barley, oats and wheat possessed by every owner, of how much of it was
already sold, of the names of the brewers, bakers, and maltsters, and
of how much they brewed and baked every week. _D. S. P._, Jas. I., Vol.
176, No. 13.

It is perhaps interesting to notice that as early as 1613-14 a special
payment was made to Rich. Aucher, Sergeant-at-Mace, "for his attendance
at corne market in the deare yeares to see that such corne were brought
in as appoynted by the justices," _Hist. Man. Com._, Rep. IX., Appendix
I. 162 a.

[431] _D. S. P._, Jas. I., Vol. 142, 14.

[432] _Ib._, Vol. 189, 15.

[433] _Ib._, Vol. 189, 6.

[Sidenote: _c._ Selling corn to labourers under price.]

But in some respects the corn measures of 1623 and 1631 were not only
better executed but provided more direct relief than those of former
times. We know that the town rulers in 1586 and 1597 bought particular
quantities of corn for the inhabitants[434], and that individual owners
like the Duke of Rutland sold their corn under price. The reports of
1623 and 1630-1 indicate a great extension of this practice both in
London, in other corporate towns, and in the country.

[434] See pp. 123, 124 _supra_.

[Sidenote: Corn sold under price to the poor in London.]

Even before 1520 the City rulers possessed a magazine of corn. In
1622 a regular system of selling to the poor under price was so much
the usual plan that the Lords of the Privy Council complained of
the method by which the Companies furnished their quota of corn for
this purpose. Each Company contracted with the bakers to furnish the
quantity required from its members. The wardens however were told
that this course "would rather lessen the stoare than replenish the
markett"; they must import for themselves from abroad so that the
total supply in the City might be increased[435]. In 1630-1 even more
vigorous methods were taken. The population of London was numbered,
so that it was found that there were 130,280 people in the City, and
the Lord Mayor calculated that five thousand quarters a month would be
necessary to provide for all the inhabitants[436]. Each Company had to
provide a certain quantity at under rates for the poor and was required
to state how much of this supply they had in their granaries[437]. The
efforts made to lower the price were for a time successful, and in
December 1630 the Lord Mayor ordered the price of meal to be reduced in
proportion to the fall in the price of grain[438].

[435] _Privy Council Reg._, 23rd Dec. 1622, Vol. 5, p. 543.

[436] This amount was arrived at by calculating that eight ounces a day
would serve for each person, counting "the little" with "the great."

[437] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 197, 61. In July 1631 the Companies
had a very small proportion of the quantity they had to supply in their

[438] _Privy Council Reg._, 14 Dec. 1630. The Lord Mayor appears to
have fixed the price of grain. See the complaint of the badgers of
Chipping Wycombe.

[Sidenote: Selling under price in large towns.]

In other large towns similar plans were adopted both in 1621-1623
and in 1629-1631. In 1623 the Bailiffs of Derby report "wee have
alsoe at the charge of the cheife and ablest inhabitants of this
Burrowe provided 140 q^{ters} of corne w^{ch} wee weekely afford to
the poore as their necessities require under the comon price of the
markett[439]." In the later period, 1630 and 1631, Norwich spent £300
for this purpose and then borrowed more; Great Yarmouth, Leicester and
Buckingham made similar provision[440]. There is no reason to think
these towns were exceptional; there are comparatively few reports from
the corporate towns in 1630 but we have already seen that in Bristol
and Shrewsbury stores had been bought in earlier years, and their
action was probably similar now to that of London and Norwich.

[439] _Dom. State Papers_, Jas. I., Vol. 143, 35, 2.

[440] Norwich. Numerous resolutions are recorded by the Court Books,
18th Oct. 1630. "Some of the corne in the City Granary shalbe weekely
ground into meale and solde to the poore in the market."

14th Feb. Corn is bought for the poor and delivered to the aldermen of
each ward weekly to be sold.

6th Mar. The corn delivered to the poor to be two parts barley, one
wheat, and one rye.

8th June. Barley bought.

15th June. Rye bought.

2nd July. Wheat bought for 30_s._ the combe, rye 25_s._ and barley
16_s._ To be sold to the poor at 16_s._ the combe; the three grains
equally mixed.

Between 25th Feb. and 25th March, 1631. £114. 18_s._ 10_d._ "was given
towards buyeinge of corn for the poor."

See also _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 186, 26, 191, 54.

Great Yarmouth, _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 188, 80. "There hath beene
300^{li} laid out to buy corne w^{ch} hath beene brought into the comon
graineries of the towne and there by parcells delivered to the poore
inhabitants of this towne under the rate of the markett price which
hath beene a great releife to the poore."

Leicester, Vol. 191, 69.

Buckingham, Vol. 187, 2, i.

Ware, Vol. 189, 80.

"93^{li} to buy corne for the poore and sold them at iiijs the bushell."

[Sidenote: Stores of corn sold under price to the country labourers.]

The same plan was also adopted in the country. It was recommended by
the Council, but it is not one of the fixed regulations enforced by
them. In one case however we find that a small sum of money had been
collected for a magazine of corn in Suffolk, and that now the Council
ordered it to be used to supply the poor of Halesworth[441].

[441] _Privy Council Register_, 18th Dec. 1830.

In many other cases corn was provided by the inhabitants themselves
often by voluntary agreement made under the persuasion of the justices.
In 1623 this method of helping the poor was usual in Hertfordshire. In
March the Sheriff sends to the Council reports from the justices of the
greater part of the country. He states that the justices and gentlemen
have "by there good and charitable exsamples and perswasiones"
provided a quantity of corn at nearly half the market price in "euery
parish where neede requireth." There was enough to last until next
harvest and they hope "noe complainte of the pore shall hereafter
add any disturbance unto his Ma^{ti's} most graciouse pittifull, and
charitable minde[442]."

[442] _D. S. P._, James I., Vol. 140, 41. This statement is confirmed
by the reports enclosed by the Sheriff from the justices responsible
for the divisions of Braughin, of Hitchen, of Edwinstree and Odsey and
of Dacorum. These all state that in most of the "townes" the poorer
people have corn provided them far under the market rate.

In districts of Devonshire and Suffolk[443] also like plans were
tried in 1623, while in 1631 similar methods of relief seem to have
been universal in the counties of Essex and Norfolk, and to have been
adopted in some districts in almost every eastern county.

[443] At Crediton, West Budleigh and part of Wonford in Devon and in
several districts of Suffolk, _e.g._ in the hundreds of Blything,
Wangford, Mutford and Lothingland corn was sold to the poor under the
market price. _D. S. P._, Jac. I., Vol. 142, Nos. 37, II. and 14.

Thus in December 1630 in four of the hundreds of Essex arrangements
were made for supplying the people with corn at home. The chief
inhabitants "of theire owne accords" laid in a store for the poor
allowing 7_d._, 18_d._ or 2_s._ the bushel and giving an equivalent
amount in money to those that did not bake their own bread[444]. Next
month we hear that this plan had been adopted in most of the shire;
every parish had its store and the poor were served at 18_d._ and 2_s._
a bushel under the usual price. Sometimes when grain was scarce, bread
and money were given instead. Our informant states that this provision
of corn for the poor at cheap rates had had a considerable effect in
lowering the price of grain[445]. From every hundred of Norfolk a
report of the state of the corn supply of the poor was received, and
some arrangement of this kind is usually reported. In some hundreds
two degrees of poverty were recognised. The very poor only paid
half-a-crown a bushel for their barley, but "the labourers y^t had
nott so much neede" were served at three shillings[446].

[444] The hundreds of Dunmow, Uttlesford, Freshwell and Clavering. _D.
S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 177, 43.

[445] Jan. 7th, 1631. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 182, 20.

[446] Hundred of South Greenhoe and half hundreds of Grimshoe and
Wayland. Rye was also sold to the very poor at 3_s._ 4_d._ and to the
poor at 4_s._ May 1631, _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 191, No. 78. Other
stores in Norfolk are reported as follows:

i. At Blofield, Walsham and Taverham barley was sold to the poor for
2_s._ 6_d._ rye at 3_s._ 4_d._, and buck for 20_d._: all far under the
market rate, Vol. 186, 16, Vol. 190, 20.

ii. West Flegg, East Flegg, Happing and Tunstead a sufficient quantity
of barley and buck "for the most part in euery towne throughout all the
sayd hundreds is set aside to be issued to ye poore at a reasonable
rate." Vol. 192, 19, (_D. S. P._, Chas. I.).

iii. In Earsham, Diss, Deepwade and Henstead corn was provided for the
labourers in every parish. _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 191, 79, Vol.
186, 16.

iv. A like arrangement was made in Forehoe, Mitford and Humbleyard,
Vol. 190, 8.

In this county therefore the store for the poor was probably generally
adopted all over the county.

This plan does not seem to have been general in Yorkshire, but it
was adopted by at least eight hundreds[447]. There are moreover many
examples of stores of this kind in Hertfordshire and some in every
Eastern county except Northumberland and Lincolnshire[448]. The fact
that special mention is made of poor labourers shows that relief was
not confined to the disabled or to paupers. It was given in the eastern
counties more than in the western probably because the scarcity was
more felt in the east and the poor were in greater distress[449].

[447] Eight hundreds of York, Vol. 177, 31. See App. XI.

[448] (1) Herts.: Edwinstree and Odsey. The poor were relieved at under
rates in their parishes. Vol. 182, 40, _D. S. P._, Chas. I.

Braughin, 189, 80, _D. S. P._, Chas. I. See Appendix.

Part of the Liberty of St Alban's and hundred of Cashio, 188, 43, _D.
S. P._, Chas. I.

Hertford. The poor are relieved by "corne or otherwise," 189, 79, _D.
S. P._, Chas. I.

(2) Sussex: Lewes, Vol. 189, 15. "Some charitable well-disposed persons
sell to the poore at lower rates."

Pevensey, Vol. 192, 99. The justices "dealt w^{th} the most
substantiall inhabitants ... who partly by the perswasions of us and of
theire ministers and of theire owne charytable disposition haue laid
corne in some one parish about 30 pounds, in another 20 pounds some
lese," and have sold it one shilling a bushel "better cheape than itt
did cost."

(3) Kent: Shepway, Vol. 187, 40. The parishes have provided a store of
corn for their own inhabitants.

(4) Suffolk: The Liberty of St Ethelred's, Vol. 187, 10. A supply
of corn was to be brought from Norfolk and sold to the poor 4_s._ a
quarter under cost price.

(5) Cambridge: Staploe, Cheveley, Staine and Flendish, Vol. 189, 81,

(6) Berks.: Wantage and Farringdon, Vol. 191, 40, I. and III.

(7) Nottingham: charitable selling under price, Vol. 189, 12.

(8) Surrey: Rye was sold to the "poorer sorte" at 5_s._ the bushel,
_Dom. S. P._, Vol. 182, 7.

It is most probable that the poor were relieved in this way in many
other parishes though the justices' reports may not have been returned
or preserved.

[449] We hear in Nov. 1630 of Ireland that "that kingdome is for the
present so plentifully stored w^{th} corne that besides the feeding
of itselfe it may also in some measure supply the necessity of this
realme," _Privy Council Register_. In Cornwall, Flint and Hereford also
there was plenty of grain (_D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 176, No. 57, Vol.
184, No. 61, Vol. 183, 37) while the justices of Agbrigg report that
"Lancashire is a county this year able to help its neighbours."

[Sidenote: _d._ Other special methods of providing food for the poor.]

Sometimes other plans were adopted. The owners and dealers of corn were
expected to contribute to the need of their less fortunate neighbours.
At Reading the corn masters set apart a sack in every load to serve
for the poor at twelvepence a bushel under the market rate[450]. It
would seem that some allowance was usually made by dealers in corn, for
another dealer who was a victim of a riot at Woodchurch states that out
of ten quarters he left five to be sold to the poor[451].

[450] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 182, 81.

[451] _Ib._, Vol. 191, 4. See below for the custom of the badgers at
Chipping Wycombe.

Other expedients of this kind were adopted; in Devonshire the children
of the poor were billetted on those able to give relief[452], and at
Maidstone the town baked the bread and gave loaves to the day labourers
and poorest inhabitants[453]. Three of the hundreds of Cambridgeshire
tried a still more organised plan: "the poorer sort had weekly corne
delivered to them at home at twelvepence in the bushell in the least
under the market prices[454]."

[452] _Ib._, 189, 5.

[453] _Ib._, 186, 74.

[454] _Ib._, 189, 75, Whittlesford, Chilford and Radfield.

[Sidenote: 2. Evidence as to success or failure of the corn

We have very varied opinions as to the success or failure of the
organisation for supplying the poor with corn. The justices in several
instances state that the search raised prices, and ask that a second
search may not be made[455]. In a few cases they say the regulation
of the markets was injurious. The most decided of these is an account
from Edwinstree and Odsey, "And we humbly conceaue that o^r strickt
lookeing to the marketts by o^rselves and others, very sufficient and
diligent supervis^{ors}, whom we haue imploied w^{th} a great deale
of care in these businesses is an occacion that the marketts are
the smaller, the corne dearer and new shifts and devises are found
out[456]." In the autumn of 1631 inquiries as to the cause of the
scarcity were instituted, and the Bridport authorities candidly replied
that it was owing to the interference of the justices[457]. But perhaps
the most interesting protest is that from Chipping Wycombe. It was a
town on the borders of Buckinghamshire, which was largely inhabited
by dealers in corn and was the market for the neighbouring parts of
Oxfordshire and Berkshire. After the instructions of the Privy Council
had been followed, only a quarter of the usual quantity was brought
to the market. The dealers, the Mayor tells us, lost heavily because
the price of meal had been fixed by the Lord Mayor, and both they and
the farmers were disgusted at the lowering of prices in other parts of
the country. Formerly the badgers had set aside sacks for the poor,
and the farmers and others had provided stores for them. This they now
refused to do, but the justices did their best and themselves sold to
the poor under the market rates[458]. The dislike of the orders is very
apparent in this report, but it bears witness to the fact that they
were sometimes successful, since prices had been lowered in consequence
in other parts of the country. But as Chipping Wycombe was inhabited
largely by corn-dealers, and as it drew its supplies from other
counties, the orders failed there, and the fact that Chipping Wycombe
was such a town may have been not without its influence on the making
of history, for John Hampden, we are told, was one of the justices
present who witnessed the distress of this disastrous market-day. It
was not a position in which he would judge favourably of the effects
of governmental interference.

[455] _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 189, Nos. 11, 39, 92.

[456] _Ib._, Vol. 186, No. 98.

[457] _Ib._ Vol. 203, No. 30.

[458] _Ib._ Vol. 177, No. 50. See above.

Still the balance of evidence is in favour of the orders. When they
were first put in force they seem to have had a considerable effect in
lowering the price. Many of the reports sent in during the last half of
December and beginning of January tell us that this was the case[459],
though after the beginning of the year prices again rose, because the
corn was wanted for seed as well as for food. However even as late as
April 30th a report from the district of Horncastle in Lincolnshire
informs us that the writers have ordered the markets to be furnished
every week with a particular quantity, and that the price of oatmeal,
which was the chief food of the poor in that part of the country, had
been lowered from eight groats to one shilling and tenpence[460].

[459] _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 177. Contains reports between
Dec. 15th and 30th, 1630, and the following state that prices have

Dec. 20th, No. 29. Anderfield etc., Co. Somerset prices decrease.

Dec. 21st, No. 31. Eight hundreds of York. Wheat 7_s._ and 6_s._ 6_d._
where formerly 9_s._ 6_d._

Dec. 21st, No. 32. Hundred of Lexden etc. Essex, "So as whereas before
there was a great scarcitie and want of graine in every market and the
price every-daie risinge nowe by these endeav^{rs} the markets are
fully served w^{th}out any want and the prices of corne decreasinge."

Dec. 24th, No. 43. Dunmow etc. Essex. By means of "princely care" wheat
has fallen from 8_s._ 6_d._ to 7_s._

Similar reports occur from Jan. 1 to 14th, 1630/1, _D. S. P._, Vol.
182, No. 2, 7, 39, 81.

In 1623 the approval of the justices expressly concerns the suppression
of alehouses.

Feb. 14th, 1623, the Mayor of Launcester states that the price of a
bushel of wheat has fallen from 12_s._ to 10_s._ and that the quantity
of barley brought to market has doubled. (_Cal. of State Papers._)

The Mayor of Liverpool also reports that much good has been done by the
suppression of alehouses. _Ib._ 20th Feb. 1623.

[460] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 189, 58.

There are other statements of the same kind[461], but one of the most
strongly expressed of these is from the justices of Suffolk, "We giue
y^r lo(rdshi)ps many humble thanks for your great fauours shewed unto
vs and to the whole state of this county in these necessiteouse times
by those most prudent, compassionate and charitable considerations
deliuered in your bookes of directions and sent vnto vs w^{ch} we
haue w^{th} our uttermost endeauours laboured in euery parte to see
accomplished as well by o^rselues as others. And we must acknowledge
with o^r and the countryes great thankfulnesse unto y^r lo(rdshi)ps
that y^e benefit w^{ch} hereof hath arisen hath bine beyonde all
expectation inestemable and of wonderful effect[462]."

[461] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 187, 22; Vol. 189, 39. The High
Sheriff of Suffolk states that "much good haue ensued."

[462] _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 187, 12.

But the strongest argument that on the whole these measures were
beneficial is to be found in the fact that they were enforced
throughout the country by the justices with very few protests. The
justices would as a rule be landlords and generally corn owners; the
regulations were against their interests, and, unless they had thought
that they contributed to the public welfare, they would have complained
more and performed less. When they thought a course objectionable they
said so: many of them did not approve of a second search of the stocks
of corn[463]; in several instances they said that the order to prevent
millers from buying corn was not beneficial, because the millers sold
in small quantities to the poor who did not come to market[464]. But
the rest of the orders concerning corn were enforced nearly always
without comment or with approval.

[463] _Ib._ Vol. 188, 92, Vol. 189, 12, 29.

[464] _Cal. of State Papers_, Jan. 27, 1623, _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I.,
Vol. 182, Nos. 2, 1 and 67.

[Sidenote: 3. Reasons for the adoption of the corn regulations.]

It is not difficult to see reasons for the success of such an
organisation. Corn fluctuated violently in price because of the
narrowness of the area from which the supplies came. Even with our
own worldwide supply a corner in wheat has been attempted and for a
time maintained. When little corn was imported into England, and even
counties were largely self-supporting, farmers might easily raise the
price by keeping back their corn from market[465].

[465] The following examples show that prices varied considerably in
different parts of the country at the same date.

       _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I.         Price of bushel of wheat.     Barley.

  Cornwall, Feb. 5th, Vol. 184, 16    9_d._ a gall. or 6/-        5¼_d._ 3/6
                                      for eight galls.            for eight

  Flint, Feb. 10, Vol. 184. 61        5/- a bushel                3/6 a bushel

  Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke Devon,    8/- for 13 galls.           5/8 for 13 or
    1630/1, Vol. 184, 3               or 4/11 for eight           3/7 for eight galls.

  Edwinsey and Odsey, Feb. 18th       8/- a bushel                5/2 a bushel
    Vol. 185, 27

  Appletree, Derby, Feb. 21st,        8/- do.                     6/- do.
    Vol. 185, 41

  Bulmer, N. Riding, April 26th       6/- to 7/- do.              3/6 to 4/4 do.
    Vol. 189, 35

  Westminster, April 28th, Vol.       12/8 1st qu., 11/8 2nd
    189, 48

But the great price was not always the worst of the trouble. The
justices of Devonshire tell us that corn could not be had for money,
and the statement is confirmed by Fitz-Geffrie in his _Curse of
Corne-horders_, "O miserable condition! the poore man is put to a
double labour, first to get a little money for Corne and then to get a
little corne for money & this last is the hardest labour; he might haue
earned almost halfe a bushell while hee runnes about begging to buy
halfe a pecke[466]."

[466] Fitz Geffrie, _Curse of Corne-Horders_ (Printed 1631) p. 37.

We must remember the narrowness of the market; the excessive
fluctuations in price, and the difficulty of finding a seller willing
to sell a small quantity of grain, before we can criticise fairly the
organisation which was established during these years of high-priced

In any case the corn orders of the Government seem to have helped
to maintain the public peace. In 1527, in 1551, in 1587, in 1597,
and in 1623 the rise in the price of corn immediately occasioned
disorder[467], and even in 1630 attacks were made on the carts carrying
corn, and there were other signs of disturbance[468]. But in this
last season of scarcity there was no serious outburst. The orders of
the Government probably relieved the distress and certainly helped to
convince the people that their rulers were trying to help them.

[467] See above pp. 48, 85, 129, 145.

[468] As early as Nov. 18, 1630, the justices of Berkshire were uneasy
and ordered the constables of several parishes not to allow the people
to assemble, to charge the churchwardens and overseers to double the
poor rates; to forbid the brewers to serve the alehouse keepers and the
alehouse keepers to sell ale at all. (_Cal. of State Papers_, Nov. 18,

In Kent the Sheriff reports signs of disorder; the people, he said,
fell on the carriers of corn and the following lines of doggerel were
picked up in the minister's porch:--

    The corne is so dear
    I dout mani will starve this yeare
    If you see not to this
    Sum of you will speed amis
    Our souls they are dear
    For our bodyes have sume ceare
    Before we arise
    Less will safise
    Note. The poor there is more
    Than goes from dore to dore etc.

      _Cal. of State Papers_, Nov. 22nd, 1630.

There were several attacks on carts at Newbury and elsewhere; and there
were rioters at Gloucester.

[Sidenote: 4. Bearing of the scarcity measures on the history of poor

[Sidenote: _a._ The training of the justices.]

The organisation for supplying the poor with corn in 1631 is both
indirectly and directly connected with the history of poor relief.
We have already seen that the orders for supplying corn seem to have
suggested the orders for the ordinary relief of the poor, and that
both sets of orders were worked by similar methods. The season of
1630-1 is the first in which the administrators seem to have properly
fulfilled their duties. Then the commands of the Government seem to
have been vigilantly enforced. This was not always easily accomplished,
rebellious inhabitants were coerced, negligent justices were
punished[469]. But on the whole the justices seem to have worked with
zeal, and the success obtained by them during this exceptional crisis
must have made it easier for them to cope with the relief of the poor
in more ordinary times.

[469] Thus at Doncaster engrossers of corn were made to sell their
stocks in bushels and peckes 7_s._ a load under the market price.
_Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 189, 8. III. At Ipswich, Edw. Man
refused to bring his corn to market when ordered to do so and was made
to submit and to sell sixpence a bushel under the market rate. _Privy
Council Reg._ 26th Dec. 1630, f. 256 and 272. Conners and bakers of
Colchester also were guilty of the same offence and were punished in
the same manner, _D. S. P._, Vol. 184, 30. At Uppingham, an Edmund
Wright refused to pay his rate and if still refractory was to be
ordered to appear before the Privy Council. _Privy Council Reg._, 24th
Feb., 1631/2. Two justices of Stamford were removed from their office
and one was sent to the Fleet because they opposed the Book of Orders.
3rd Dec., 1631, f. 286.

[Sidenote: _b._ The standard of comfort of the poorer classes.]

Moreover the direct relief afforded by the corn stores must be taken
into account when we attempt to estimate the amount of comfort enjoyed
by the manual workers in the reign of Charles I.

Prof. Rogers has compared the condition of the labouring population at
different times by estimating the amount of food which could be bought
by a labourer receiving average wages in each period. This method
of comparison leads him to the conclusion that the majority of the
population were in a very miserable condition before the outbreak of
the Civil War[470].

[470] _Hist. of Agric. and Prices_, Vol. V. p. 592.

But in 1630-1, and to some extent also in 1623, labourers did not
pay the market price for their food, and this fact must modify any
conclusion derived from such a source so far as the reigns of James
I. and Charles I. are concerned. Not only was corn sold under price
from public granaries and stores, but it is probable that whenever
arrangements were made to serve the labourers at home the prices were
somewhat reduced, as the sellers would then be saved the trouble of
taking the corn to market, and the expense of paying the market tolls.

Moreover it has often been pointed out that the relative comfort of
any class can be better ascertained if we consider the earnings of the
family rather than those of the individual[471]. This was a period in
which women could easily obtain work in spinning and when children were
apprenticed at an early age, and so required little support from their
parents. For these reasons it seems likely that the labourer of the
reign of Charles I. would be better off than the amount of his wages
would lead us to suppose, and this estimate is confirmed by the scale
of diet fixed for the boys in the Children's Hospital of Norwich in

[471] W. Cunningham, _Growth of English Industry and Commerce_, Vol.
II. p. 688.

The boys in the hospital were between the ages of ten and fourteen. For
dinner they were always to have six ounces of bread and a pint of beer:
three days in the week they had also a pint of pottage and six ounces
of beef, and on the remaining four an ounce of butter and two of
cheese. For supper they had always six ounces of bread, a pint of beer,
an ounce of butter and two of cheese, and for breakfast every day three
ounces of bread, half an ounce of butter and half a pint of beer[472].
As this represents the food of the destitute orphans of Norwich it is
not likely to be much better than the usual standard of the poorest
class, and seems to compare very favourably with the food of a boy
in the same class in our own time. The ordinary standard of living
thus does not appear to be miserable, but the poor must have suffered
terribly, if there had been no exceptional relief, whenever there was
no work for them to do, and when corn was double the usual price.

[472] This table of food was approved by the city rulers on 30th June,
1632 (Norwich Court Books). The keeper of the orphanage was sold wheat
and rye from the granary at 12_s._ a combe and was given £4. 6_s._
8_d._ for each child every year. He had also their work and certain
allowances for their clothing.

It is these fluctuations that were the chief source of misery, and
by lessening their effect the scarcity measures of the time were of
enormous importance to the whole of the labouring class.

But relief in times of emergency was afforded to the needy in other
times of exceptional distress.

[Sidenote: 5. Provision of fuel for the poor in Winter.]

In Winter fuel was provided. Thus at St Albans, wood was bought for
the poor in the reign of Queen Elizabeth[473]. In London there was a
coal yard before 1590, and early in the reign of James I. the City
authorities obtained permission to import four thousand chaldron of
"sea cole" free of duty for the purpose of supplying those in need of
help[474]. Payments for fuel formed part of the regular organisation
at Norwich[475], and directions to secure a supply to the poor of
their district are contained also in the orders to the overseers of
1623[476]. This provision is another illustration of the fact that a
great deal of the relief given was designed to protect the people from
excessive fluctuations in price.

[473] _Corporation Records of St Albans_, A. E. Gibbs, June 10th, 1587,
p. 28.

[474] _Remembrancia_, I. No. 586, II. No. 255 and VII. No. 193. In
October 1630, the store of coal was larger than in former years. _Ib._
VII. No. 50.

[475] "Maioris Booke for the Poore" Norwich.

[476] See above chapter IX.

[Sidenote: 6. Help in times of sickness and plague.]

Methods of relieving the poor in times of sickness were also numerous.
The Great Plague of London was not an isolated attack; throughout
the seventeenth century few years pass without an outbreak in one of
the large towns. Special orders were drawn up to prevent the spread
of infection; watchmen were appointed to guard stricken houses, and
the inmates for the time had to be supported by the community[477].
The cost of this severely taxed local resources. At Cambridge we
hear that in 1630, 2800 claimed relief and only seven score were
able to contribute. In this case a brief was issued authorising
collections from other parts[478], and London and Norwich sent generous
contributions[479]. One town seems to have helped another frequently
when this scourge broke out: New Sarum sent aid to London, Norwich to
Yarmouth, and both New Sarum and Bury thanked the Londoners for the
help they had themselves received under like circumstances[480].

[477] In 1638 at Reading 4_d._ a day was allowed to each person shut
up in the Conduit Close and 3_d._ a day to each of those confined in
Minster Street. _Reading Records_, Vol. III. p. 421.

[478] The brief was issued 25th June, 1630. Cooper's _Annals of
Cambridge_, III. p. 223.

[479] Cooper, Vol. III. p. 225. Some thousands of pounds were collected
in London.

[480] New Sarum contributed £52 to London. _Remembrancia_, VIII. 180.
October, 1636. Bury, _Ib._, VIII. 207, April, 1638. Norwich, see
_Norwich Court Books_, 4th Feb., 1626.

Pest houses were often established; at Reading eight were built,
and we hear of their erection in Norwich, London, Cambridge and
Windsor[481]. The way the funds were raised for the plague-stricken
poor of Windsor is one of the many illustrations of the fact that
private charity and public rates were often used for the same purposes
and administered by the same officials. The site for the pest house
was given by an alderman, some of the money was raised for the relief
of the infected poor "by way of taxation," part was given by gentlemen
of the neighbourhood, and the rest was probably paid out of the town
chest[482]. At Hitchen and in other places relief was given to the
plague-stricken by means of the poor law organisation[483].

[481] Reading: 1639. More than £190 is spent in building eight pest
houses. _Records of Reading_, Vol. III. p. 454.

Norwich: _Court Books_. 12th May, 1630: a pest house was built. 24th
June, 1630: a separate pest house was built by the Dutchmen. 14th May,
1632: two more pest houses ordered to be made.

London: _Remembrancia_, 7, 19.

Cambridge: _Cooper's Annals_, III. p. 226.

[482] Windsor: Tighe and Davis, _Annals of Windsor_, Vol. II., p. 52,
1604. The site of the building was given by Thos. Aldem an Alderman.
Also "There was collected within the Towne for ye reliefe of infected
people by way of taxation £25. 11_s._ 1_d._ Given by divers gentlemen
and other neighbours £29. 6_s._ 6_d._ and paid them over and above
these two somes £17. 5_s._ 2_d._"

[483] The justices of Hitchen thus report their expenses in time of
plague. "By the ouerseers of the poore in this tyme of y^e visitation
128^{li}. Besides the charges of six watchmen and one officer with them
euerie night, And besides dailye reliefe from the houses of the able
and welldisposed. And xx^{li} taxed by us upon the halfe hundred the
greatest parte wherof is not yet payd in. And besides the charges in
setting of poore on worke etc." _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 349, No. 70.

The Privy Council frequently made orders connected with the plague.
Sometimes they ordered the erection of pest houses, sometimes a special
collection. In Grantham and Worcester the rich fled from the infected
town, so that government was at a standstill; the absentees were
required to pay double rates and, if necessary, to return and help
govern the town[484]. At another time the paper-makers in Suffolk were
prevented from working because of the plague, and a special collection
was ordered for them[485]. All these orders illustrate the paternal
nature of the Privy Council government, and also seem to show that in
social matters it was exercised in favour of the poor.

[484] _Privy Council Reg._ 22nd April, 1636.

[485] _Ib._, 6th and 27th Nov. 1638.

But not only in time of plague was provision made for the sick. At
Norwich it was part of the regular organisation for the poor; in London
St Thomas's and St Bartholomew's hospitals were already in existence,
and in most towns there were numerous lazar houses. In some places the
help provided was even greater than that of to-day; a town physician
was appointed especially to look after the poor. Newcastle adopted
this plan in the reign of Elizabeth, and the practice was continued
down to the time of the Civil War, and in 1629 a "learned physician"
was engaged by the Mayor and Corporation of Barnstaple to give advice
gratis to the poor[486]. This happened just at the time when, as we
have seen, there was great activity in matters connected with the poor,
and is an illustration of the fact that the duties of the seventeenth
century municipality were very various, and that even in 1629 the town
authorities were sometimes pioneers in matters concerning the poor.

[486] 1599: the Town's physician was appointed at Newcastle. _Welford,
Newcastle and Gateshead_, III. p. 132. Seven years earlier a surgeon
obtained by grant of the mayor 40_s._ as his accustomed fee for helping
to cure the maimed poor folk. In 1599, a physician was paid his
quarter's fee and in later years was known as the town physician.

[Sidenote: 7. Contributions to sufferers from fire.]

Fire was another way in which sudden loss was caused to large numbers
of people. Houses were still built largely of wood and often very
close together. Whole towns were not infrequently destroyed. Tiverton
suffered twice in this way, and the suddenness of the calamity to so
flourishing a town seems to have especially struck men's imagination.
"He which at one a clocke was worth fiue thousand pound and as the
Prophet saith drunke his Wine in bowles of fine Siluer plate, had
not by two a clocke so much as a woodden dish left to eate his meate
in, nor a house to couer his sorrowfull head"[487]. In the second
destruction of 1612 three hundred of the poor people were boarded in
the shire, and collections to rebuild the town were made throughout
the country. Similar disasters happened to several other towns, to
Dorchester in 1613 and Hertford in 1637, and like collections were made
for them among charitable people.

[487] Pamphlet of 1598 reprinted in Harding's _Tiverton_, Appendix, p.

1632: "Paid Mr Henderson the townes physician his ½ yeares stipend
due at lady-day 1632, 20_l._" A payment of £10 was also made in 1647,
to "doctor Samuel Rand the townes physition." M. A. Richardson's
_Tracts_, Vol. III. p. 47. Extracts from the municipal accounts of
Newcastle. Barnstaple, Nov. 24th, 1629: "Dr Symes a learned Physician
engaged by Mayor and Corporation to be resident in town and give advice
gratis to the poor at £20 per annum for two years to be paid out of
town stock if not raised by subscriptions." Wyot's Diary, Barnstaple
Records, _North Devon Herald_, April 21, 1881.

Relief was also given to individuals who suffered loss from fire,
sometimes by means of authorised collections and sometimes out of the
public funds[488]. Thus in the North Riding £20 was paid to twelve
persons of Thornton and Farmanby, on account of their losses caused by

[488] Circular letters or briefs were often issued by the Council
authorising collections for the sufferers. W. A. Bewes, _Church
Briefs_, p. 97.

[489] _North Riding Records_, Vol. IV. p. 27. Jan. 16, 1634/5.

[Sidenote: 8. Characteristics of seventeenth century poor relief.]

Thus in the first half of the seventeenth century relief in times of
emergency forms a considerable part of the assistance given to people
in distress.

[Sidenote: _a._ Little distinction between paupers and non-paupers.]

That provided in years of high priced corn was not distributed only
to those who were usually paupers but to the whole of the labouring
class; that afforded in times of fire or sickness affected all classes
of the community. There was thus much less difference between paupers
and the rest of the community than there is to-day. All classes were
relieved because poor relief was originally part of a paternal system
of government under which the rulers regarded the maintenance of the
usual prosperity of every class as a part of their duties. There is a
curious case of landlord and farmer relief during the season of plenty
in 1619. It was then stated that of late years there had been so much
corn that the farmers were impoverished. A letter was therefore sent to
the justices of every county ordering them to confer concerning some
fit place where a magazine might be provided for storing a quantity of
corn. The reason for this is stated to be that it is the "care of the
state to provyd as well to keepe the price of corne in tymes of plenty
at such reasonable rates as may afford encouragemt and lively good to
the farmer and husbandman as to moderate the rates thereof in time of
scarcitie for the releefe of the poorer folke"[490]. Few regulations
could make it clearer than this, that the paternal measures of the
Government were not confined to one particular class, but affected the
whole of the community.

[490] _Privy Council Registers_, 19 Jan. 1619/20.

[Sidenote: _b._ Little distinction between relief afforded by
voluntary donations and that provided by poor rates.]

The distinction between paupers and non-paupers therefore was much
less clear than it is to-day, and it is also true that the distinction
between voluntary contributions and compulsory poor rates was much less
rigidly defined. The supply of the poor with corn is nearly always
stated to have been a voluntary measure, but it was carried out under
very considerable pressure from the justices. Sometimes the pressure
amounted to compulsion. Thus in the Sarum division of Wiltshire some
gave "franklie and freely good quantities of their store" to the poor
but others were "wilfull." The justices "terrified them a little w^{th}
conventing them before the Lords of the Counsell and then they seemed
very willing and tractable"[491]. It is difficult to say therefore how
far the corn charities of the time were voluntary and how much they
were compulsory. There was also a close connection between private and
public charity in other forms of relief.

[491] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 182, No. 2. I.

Probably in every town there were numbers of endowed charities
controlled by the municipal officers or by overseers or by some public
or semi-public authorities, which were practically a part of the same
system as that enforced by law. Such were the four royal hospitals of
London and the hospitals of Gloucester and Norwich. Such also were
the many almshouses under the management of corporations, as were the
almshouses founded respectively by Leche and by Kendrick at Reading,
and the many charities for apprenticing poor children and lending
money to poor tradesmen, which we shall afterwards consider in detail.
Sometimes the connection was closer still, and the workhouse like the
Free Library of to-day might be partly provided by private generosity
and partly by public rates. Such was the case with the Barnstaple
workhouse and the Jersey school of Newark[492].

[492] Barnstaple Records, _North Devon Herald_, Feb. 24th, 1881. Mr
John Penrose gave £200 to employ the poor in Bridewell. Shelton's
_Hist. of Newark_, pp. 38, 387.

The relief of the poor in times of emergency thus brings into
prominence two of the main features of the poor relief of the time.
First, that the public compulsory system was developed from a voluntary
system and that in the seventeenth century voluntary and public poor
relief were closely connected. Secondly, that the poor relief of the
time was intimately connected with the general system of government
under which all classes were compelled by Government to do their duties
and any class might be relieved that for the time failed to obtain its
usual degree of prosperity.


METHODS OF RELIEF, 1597-1644 (_continued_).

B. _Ordinary Relief._

    α. Impotent poor.
  1. Almshouses and endowed charities.
    (_a_) Old endowments which remained unchanged through the Reformation.
    (_b_) Old endowments regranted to the Corporation or other public body.
    (_c_) Fresh endowments.
    (_d_) Pensions and gifts from endowed charities.
  2. Provision for the old from compulsory rates.
    (_a_) Relief from the county by pensions paid to soldiers and sailors
and by hospitals maintained by county funds.
    (_b_) Relief from the parish by pensions paid to the destitute, by the
grant of a house, or by arrangements for free board and lodging in the
house of some parishioner.
    β. Children.
  3. Provision for children by apprenticeship.
    (_a_) To masters. (_b_) To the masters of the Bridewells or industrial
schools of the time.
  4. Schools for little children and orphanages.
    γ. Able-bodied poor.
  5. Relief given to prisoners.
  6. Provision of funds to provide work for the unemployed.
  7. Methods of providing work.
     (_a_) Stocks used to employ the poor in their homes or elsewhere.
     (_b_) Introduction of new trades.
     (_c_) Workhouses and Jersey schools.
     (_d_) Bridewells.
     (_e_) Emigration.
     (_f_) Pressure on employers.
     (_g_) Advancement of capital without interest.

We have seen how the poor were relieved in times of special emergency;
we will now examine the kind of help that was bestowed upon those
classes of poor who in almost every community were more or less
constantly in need of assistance. We will notice first the relief
given to the impotent and aged poor; secondly, the measures adopted to
provide for destitute children; and lastly, the methods used to find
work for the unemployed or to suppress vagrants.

[Sidenote: α. The impotent poor.]

[Sidenote: 1. Almshouses and endowed charities.]

[Sidenote: _a._ Old endowments which remained unchanged through the

The method of relieving the impotent poor differed very considerably
from that with which we are familiar. The workhouses of the seventeenth
century were mainly places for people who could work, the aged and
impotent poor were often relieved by almshouses controlled by public
and by private authorities, but founded and maintained by private
liberality. It was indeed an age in which almshouses or hospitals as
they were often called abounded. Probably there were nearly as many
in existence then as there are to-day, in spite of the fact that our
population has increased sixfold. Some of these hospitals were old
endowments that had survived the Reformation; others had been dissolved
with the other religious houses and regranted to the municipal
authorities of the place to which they belonged; many more were founded
during the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I.

The well-known Hospital of St Cross at Winchester is a good example of
an old foundation that has had a continuous existence from its first
endowment in the middle ages until the present day. The modern tourist,
like the wayfarer of mediæval times, may partake of the refreshment
provided by its ancient regulations, and may still receive his bread
and beer like a seventeenth century beggar. But it has also been an
almshouse since the time of Henry II. By the Charter of Foundation
"thirteen poor men, feeble and so reduced in strength, that they can
scarcely, or not at all, support themselves without other aid, shall
remain in the same hospital constantly; to whom necessary clothing,
provided by the Prior of the Establishment, shall be given, and beds
fit for their infirmities; and daily a good loaf of wheaten bread
of the weight of five measures, three dishes at dinner and one for
supper, and drink in sufficient quantity[493]." This hospital was
not dissolved by Henry VIII. but continued under its old regulations
throughout the Reformation. Laud ordered inquiries to be made
concerning it shortly after 1627, and the thirteen pensioners were
then maintained with full allowances[494]. Many hospitals survived the
dissolution besides St Cross and remained in private hands; a few like
St Giles's, Hereford, or St Bartholomew's at Sandwich had been governed
by the town-rulers from the time of their foundation[495], and these
for the most part retained their old endowments and remained under
municipal management.

[493] _The Hospital of St Cross_, Rev. L. M. Humbert, p. 14.
Translation of the Charter of Foundation.

[494] _The Hospital of St Cross_, pp. 38 and 41 seq. There were then
belonging to the hospital besides the Master and 13 brethren, 12
out-brethren, 28 sisters and 2 probationers.

[495] See Chapter I.

[Sidenote: 1 _b_. Old endowments regranted to the Corporation or other
public body.]

Other hospitals were regranted to the Corporations of their respective
cities and towns soon after the dissolution in the same way as St
Bartholomew's had been given to the City of London. Such was the case
with St Bartholomew's of Gloucester. Queen Elizabeth stipulated that
some of the payments formerly made by the Crown should be remitted,
but placed the rest of the revenues in the hands of the Corporation on
condition that a physician and surgeon and forty poor people should be
there maintained[496]. Two other of the ancient hospitals of Gloucester
came into the hands of the Corporation. One of these, St Margaret's
Hospital, provided for ten poor men in 1562, and was then governed
by the town authorities; the other, St Mary Magdalen, was granted to
the city both by Queen Elizabeth and King James, and was called King
James's Hospital[497]. Even if a hospital came into private hands it
often returned to its original purpose. Sentiment as to its rightful
use was probably very strong in the case of any institution which
had been founded to do a work which obviously needed doing. Thus
Kineburgh's, another of the old hospitals of Gloucester, had been sold
at the dissolution to a Mr Thomas Bell, and was afterwards refounded
by him and placed under the care of the Corporation. His donation was
confirmed by Queen Elizabeth, and during the reign of James several
other small endowments were added by various donors for the maintenance
of the poor there[498].

[496] Rudder's _Gloucestershire_, p. 202.

[497] _Ib._, pp. 186-7.

[498] Rudder's _Gloucestershire_, p. 203.

Gloucester was perhaps especially fortunate in retaining so many of
its old endowments, but elsewhere similar arrangements were made.
St Giles's of Norwich, St Leonard's of Launceston, St Edmund's of
Gateshead, St Thomas's and St Catherine's of York, St Mary Magdalen's
of King's Lynn, and Trinity Hospital of Bristol were all old
foundations which, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, came
into the hands of the corporation of the town to which they severally
belong[499]. St Giles's Hospital of Norwich may be taken as an example
of these re-established hospitals. According to the Letters Patent of
Edward VI. it was granted to the Mayor and Corporation of Norwich, and
was to be called the House of God or the House of the Poor: forty men
and four matrons were to be provided for; they were to receive bed
and bed-clothes, bread, meat, drink and firing. The pensioners were
not appointed for life, but were removable from week to week or from
day to day[500]. This hospital therefore was very much like a modern
workhouse, except that it was supported by endowments or by voluntary

[499] St Leonard's of Launceston is an interesting example of the way
in which the old hospitals for lepers came to be used for the poor.

Philip and Mary granted the hospital to the Corporation for the use of
leprous and infirm people.

James I. repeats this grant and adds that "for default of leprous
persons in the hospital aforesaid that it be and shall be lawful" for
the mayor and aldermen etc. to receive the rents for the support of the
poor. _Char. Com. Rep._ 32, Pt. 1, p. 406.

1610. King James I. refounded St Edmund's of Gateshead. Sykes's _Local
Records_, I. p. 84.

St Thomas's and St Catherine's, York, also came under the control of
the city. Drake's _Eboracum_, pp. 246, 247.

St Mary Magdalen, King's Lynn, was originally founded partly for
lepers; its revenues were taken away in the time of Edward VI., but a
few of the poor were maintained there by the Corporation. Its lands
were restored by James I. and it was placed under the care of the town
rulers. Mackerell, _Lynn Regis_, p. 194.

The property of Trinity Hospital, Bristol, since the time of Queen
Elizabeth has been conveyed in trust to members of the Corporation of
the city of Bristol. _Reports of the Charity Commissioners_, VI. p. 506.

[500] Letters Patent, 1 Edw. VI. No. 54. _Charters, Oaths and Charities
of the City of Norwich_, p. 50.

Occasionally these ancient charities came to be managed by the vestry.
Thus in Bristol there were three old endowments of this sort. Redcliffe
almshouse was supposed to have been established about 1440 by the
famous Bristol merchant William Canninge; the Temple Gate almshouse
and Burton's were probably foundations of an even earlier date. The
two former were governed by the vestry of St Mary, Redcliffe, and long
before 1821 had become simply houses in which aged paupers were placed
by the overseers[501]. Burton's almshouse was governed by the vestry
of St Thomas's parish, and was used as an almshouse from which paupers
were not excluded. These institutions had thus then become part of the
compulsory and legal system of poor relief rather than of the voluntary
charity which existed by its side.

[501] _Charity Com. Rep._ 7, pp. 204, 205, 234.

[Sidenote: 1 _c_. Fresh endowments.]

But not only were there many old foundations for helping the aged poor,
but the century from 1550 to 1650 was itself the great time of the
foundation of new almshouses. It is rare to find a town of any size
in which some institutions of this kind were not established during
these years, though in country parishes they were not so frequent. They
were governed in many different ways, but generally by some public
body or by some set of men closely connected with the authorities
who were responsible for the administration of poor-relief. Some
were governed by the Corporation like the small almshouse founded by
Fox at Beverley. Many resembled the Temple Hospital at Bristol; this
was endowed by Sir Thomas White and was vested in trustees who were
members of the Corporation. A few were managed by merchant or craft
companies associated with the government of the town; such was the case
with the Merchants' Hospital of Bristol and Dame Owen's almshouses
in Islington. Others were in the hands of private trustees sometimes
connected with the founder's family, at other times with his position.
The Archbishops of Canterbury were generally associated with some of
the favourite charities of the time. Grindal provided a stock for
setting the poor to work, Abbot a workhouse, Laud apprenticeship
endowments, and Whitgift an almshouse at Croydon for twenty-eight poor
people, the government of which he vested in his successors in the see
of Canterbury. These hospitals were usually filled by the aged and
impotent of the poorer classes. But occasionally they also supplied
the wants of the poor in a better social position. The Charterhouse of
Colonel Newcome fame was a foundation of the reign of King James, and
supplied a refuge for eighty poor gentlemen, merchants, soldiers, or

Altogether the almshouses of the time formed a very important part of
the provision for the poor. In some towns like that of Hereford[502]
they were extremely numerous. Other places like Morton Hampstead seem
to have established a public almshouse for the poor, but as a rule
these institutions were privately endowed, and the help given by them
was thus free from the sting that is attached to legal and compulsory

[502] There were endowments for at least ten almshouses in Hereford in

  I. St Ethelbert's, an old foundation for ten poor people in the hands
  of the Cathedral authorities.

  II. Sick Man's Hospital. A foundation partly managed by the Corporation
  and partly by the Vestry.

  III. St Giles's, an old endowment in the hands of the Corporation.

  IV, V, VI. Kerry's, Williams', and Price's Hospitals, endowed during
  the reigns of Elizabeth and James I., and governed by the Corporation.

  VII. Lingen almshouses founded 1609.                             }
  VIII. Coningsby Hospital founded 1617 for eleven old soldiers,   }Under
  mariners, or serving men.                                        }private
  IX. Mary Price's almshouses, 1636, for six poor widows or single }
  women.                                                           }

  X. Weaver's almshouses, 1641. Under management of parochial authorities
  of All Saints'. _Charity Commissioners' Rep._ 32, Pt. II., pp. 6-56.

[Sidenote: 1 _d_. Pensions and gifts from endowed charities.]

But besides the almshouses many other charities were founded to help
the aged poor, some of which have proved of doubtful benefit to their
successors. Many pensions and gifts of small amount were distributed by
public or semi-public bodies. The City Companies of London frequently
received bequests of this kind. Thus the Clothworkers administer the
gift of Sir Thomas Trevor. In 1622 he bequeathed £100 in order that six
poor women might have 20s. a piece in quarterly instalments. At Bristol
every week some one poor widow receives 10_s._ from Mr Whitson's
charity, and two poor householders have 20_s._ each, though neither
widow nor householder can have the gift more than once in the same

[503] _Rep._ VI., pp. 253 and 495.

Innumerable smaller charities also exist in particular towns and
parishes ordering the distribution of sixpences and shillings on
particular Sundays or Feasts, or after the hearing of some sermon. Even
more frequently bread charities were established. Thus in Hereford
Cathedral twelve poor people receive a loaf every Saturday, and
sixpence on twelve of the principal feasts and vigils of the year[504].
Sometimes so many poor men or women are "apparelled," or gowns, shirts
and smocks are bought and distributed: more often fuel and wood are
provided[505]. Bequests of this kind are very numerous, but the amount
of relief afforded to each individual is often ridiculously small.
Still the value of money was three or four times greater then than
it is to-day, and a pension of 10_s._ or 20_s._ was a much greater
contribution towards the maintenance of the poor person. Moreover,
parochial authorities and officials of City Companies had comparatively
few people to deal with, and it was possible for them to know something
about the recipients of these charitable doles.

[504] _Ib._ 32, Pt. II., p. 11.

[505] Numerous examples of these bequests occur in the Reports of the
Charity Commissioners. The following may serve as specimens of the
charities of this kind existing in a single parish.

_In St Giles, Reading._ _Char. Com. Report_, 32, pt. I., pp. 131, 132.

_Clothing._ Augustine Knapp, 1602, gave to the churchwardens 20_s._ a
year for ever to be bestowed for the clothing of poor, lame, blind and
impotent people in the parish.

1625. Richard Shaile gave £10 upon trust to buy yearly three shirts
and three smocks worth 2_s._ 6_d._ a piece for three poor aged men and
three poor aged women, chosen by the churchwarden. This gift was lost
before 1688.

_Bread._ 1606. Thos. Deane gave an annual rent of £3 to be bestowed
yearly in good, wholesome, well sized bread and given to the poor
of the town in St Giles's churchyard as might be settled by the
churchwardens and overseers of the poor. The bread was to be given as
follows: yearly upon Christmas Eve, 20 dozen of bread: upon Good Friday
another 20 dozen, and upon Ascension Eve another 20 dozen.

1623. Rich. Aldworth gave another gift of £3 a year for the same
purpose, to be distributed at the same times.

_Money._ In 1614 A. Humphrey Champion had given a gift of £10, the
interest of which was given to poor people. Now lost.

Altogether the number of endowed charities which afforded assistance to
old people was large in the seventeenth century in comparison with the
number of persons who were in need of relief. Moreover, new almshouses
were continually founded throughout this period and until the close
of the century. Probably many of these are in existence to-day, but
there has been no increase at all proportionate to the growth of the
population, while a few of the old institutions like the Redcliffe
almshouse at Bristol have become part of the legal system of relief
while others have disappeared altogether[506].

[506] There is an almshouse in St Just not now occupied. See _Rep._
32, Pt. I., p. 438. In Gloucester also almshouses were founded by a Mr
Hill, Mr Keylock, Mr Pater, and Alderman Thomas Semys. The two last
were in existence in 1643, but are not now distinguishable. Rudder's
_Gloucestershire_, p. 204.

[Sidenote: 2. Provision for the old from compulsory rates.]

[Sidenote: 2 _a_. Relief provided by county funds.]

But although the aged poor were largely relieved by almshouses there
were still many who were provided for by the legal and compulsory
system. Some hospitals were supported by the county funds. There were
several in the North Riding of Yorkshire which were used as almshouses
for the impotent and aged poor and received grants from the County

[507] Sums were paid out of the county funds of the North Riding to
hospitals at New Malton, Old Malton, and Scarborough. _Quarter Sessions
Records, North Riding_, Vol. I. p. 43, Vol. II. p. 183. In 1618/9 New
Malton hospital was dissolved, and pensions were then allotted to the
old and impotent poor there. _Ib._ Jan. 7th, 1618/9.

Aged soldiers and sailors were also provided for not by the parish but
by the county. As we should expect this was found to be a heavy charge
in Devonshire, and the magistrates grumbled at the amount they had to
give for this purpose[508].

[508] _Quarter Sessions from Queen Eliz. to Queen Anne._ A. Hamilton,
p. 17.

[Sidenote: 2 _b_. Relief of the aged by means of pensions from the
parish or by the provisions of houses or free board and lodging.]

More often the aged poor were relieved by the funds raised by the
parish. Two methods seem to have been adopted. The most usual was
what we should now call a system of out-relief. Pensions were granted
varying in amount from threepence to two shillings a week, but
generally about one shilling[509]. Sometimes in addition rent was paid
and often habitations were provided which were built by the overseers
on the waste[510]. But the poor in these were not under any special
control but were allowed to look after themselves in other respects. In
some parishes, however, instead of receiving weekly pensions the poor
were billeted on the rich. In a report from the district of Furness
and Cartmell, one hundred and seventy-six people were relieved in
this manner, and two hundred and eighty-eight by means of pensions.
In this case each parish adopted one method or the other exclusively;
thus in Alythwaite thirty-nine poor were billeted, in Coniston twelve
were provided for by money payments[511]. In other cases the method
of billeting existed as an exceptional practice side by side with the
pension system. Thus in Staplegrove, Somerset, in 1599, after the list
of payments given for the poor, there are the names of two men, each of
whom kept a poor impotent person in his house[512].

[509] See Appendix VII., and also the overseers' returns from East
Barnet and Elstree in 1639, and from Chipping Barnet and Elstree in
Feb. 1636/7. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 347, No. 67, and Vol.
418, No. 21.

[510] In the North Riding, at Quarter Sessions orders were frequently
made for the building of houses for particular poor people. Thus in the
Court held April 17th and 18th, 1610, the overseers and churchwardens
of Bagby were commanded "to find or provide Alice Cooke, being a poore
widowe, of a house." _Quarter Sessions Records, North Riding_, Vol. I.
p. 189. On July 20, 1619, also an order was made that the churchwardens
and overseers of Startforth shall provide a convenient dwelling house
for Ellen Winter before Michaelmas. At the same court the overseers of
Easbie were told to collect 82_s._ 10_d._ from various townships in
order to pay for a house for two poor men which had been already built
by order of the justices. _Ib._ Vol. II. p. 211. Like orders continued
to be made through the reign of Charles I. and under the Commonwealth.
_Ib._ Vol. V. pp. 62, 255.

[511] _Dom. S. P._ Chas. I., Vol. 330, No. 90.

[512] See Appendix VII.

The parochial system of the time was therefore mainly a system of
out-relief and sometimes free lodging, but it was modified by a
practice of "boarding out" the aged. It was of considerably less
importance than it is to-day because the amount of endowed charities
bore a much greater proportion to the number of old who were to be

[Sidenote: β. Children.]

[Sidenote: 3 _a_. Apprenticeship to masters.]

We will now consider the main methods of providing for the young.
Compulsory education does not seem to be peculiar to the nineteenth
century. In the reign of Charles I. all children had to be taught to
work and trained to a trade. The method chiefly employed was that of
apprenticeship. But schools, training homes and orphanages also existed
in which children received the technical education of the time. Parents
were obliged to apprentice their children or put them into service
as soon as they were old enough. If the parents were able they paid
the preliminary fee themselves; if not, the parish found masters for
the children, but in this case they often had to work at the more
unskilled trades. Sometimes money was paid for the pauper apprentice
as for any other child, but at other times men were forced to keep
the children without payment. There was often, as we should expect,
a great deal of friction in the matter. In a report from Yorkshire,
signed by Lord Fairfax, we are told that the justices do their best
to find masters and keep the children with them, but that there was
considerable difficulty in so doing[513]. Elsewhere there are also
hints that the masters wished to free themselves from any burden of
the kind[514], but there is much to make us think that on the whole
the method at this time worked well. It was apparently the favourite
remedy for the time for the evils of poverty. The writers of the
legal handbooks insist that it was an especially important part of
the duty of overseers[515], while throughout the seventeenth century
numerous bequests for the purpose were left by private persons[516].
This is very strong evidence that the philanthropists of the time
thought that the binding of poor children apprentice was an excellent
way of providing for their maintenance and training. Laud himself was
especially interested in the matter. In his own lifetime he made a
gift for the purpose of apprenticing ten poor boys of Reading[517],
and either during his lifetime or by his will he also provided funds
for the same object in Croydon, Wokingham, Henley, Wallingford, and
New Windsor[518]. Moreover the Privy Council appear to have specially
enforced this part of the relief of the poor and to have demanded and
received more detailed reports on this subject than on any other. This
action of the Privy Council and the number of these bequests therefore
make us believe that the evils of pauper apprenticeship were not very
prominent in the seventeenth century. No doubt the fact that it was
then the usual custom for an apprentice to board with his master and
not a practice chiefly confined to children brought up by charity, made
a great difference. Both kinds of apprentices were bound in the same
way and would tend to be dealt with in the same manner. The selection
of the master would make the principal difference; and the welfare of
the apprentice would depend upon the care taken by the administrators
of the charities and the parochial funds in providing masters for the

[513] _D. S. P._ Chas. I., Vol. 293, No. 129.

[514] _Ib._ Vol. 190, No. 56.

[515] Dalton's _Country Justice_, 4th edition, 1630, p. 93. See Chapter

[516] Among such bequests were:--

Bristol, Edw. Cox, 1622. _Reports of the Char. Com._ VI. pp. 532-533.

"        Andrew Barker, 1658. _Ib._ p. 467.

Oxford, Thomas' Charity, 1639. _Ib._ p. 381.

Exeter, Sir John Acland, 1609. _Reports of Char. Com._ p. 155.

Maidenhead, Rixman's Charity, 1628. _Ib._ XXXII. Pt. 1, p. 77.

At Reading besides Laud's gift there were John Johnson's Charity, 1614,
and Marten's Charity, 1635. _Ib._ p. 43. Both these were in existence
in 1652, but have been lost for many years.

Wokingham, Laud's Gift and Planner's Charity, 1605. _Ib._ p. 213.

Hereford, Wood's Charity, 7 James I. _Ib._ Pt. 2, p. 29.

West Wickham, Lady Slaney, 1607, £3 a year. _Rep._ VI. p. 271.

[517] _Records of the Borough of Reading_, Vol. III. pp. 512, 513. In
1640 £100 was paid for half the year and ten boys were appointed to
be bound apprentices with such masters as the Mayor and aldermen had
arranged, £10 being paid apiece for them.

[518] _Reports of Char. Com._ XXXII. Part 1, 221.

The picture in the _Fortunes of Nigel_ of Jenkin Vincent, the London
apprentice of this time brought up at Christ's Hospital, could not have
been very unlike the reality. Great hardship must have been inflicted
in some cases[519], but when the practice was new and the custom
general, the apprentice bound by charitable funds would not usually be
treated much worse than other apprentices. Otherwise it is not probable
the Privy Councillors in their public capacity, and an Archbishop and
many other charitable people in their private capacities, would have
taken so much trouble to extend this practice by finding the funds for
the purpose of thus providing for the maintenance and education of poor

[519] In the Records of the Borough of Reading between 1630 and 1640
we have an instance of complaint by a pauper apprentice. We are told
that "At this daye complaynt was made by the officers of Shinfeild that
heretofore they gave v li in money and bound John Chaplen, borne in
their parishe, apprentice to William Applebye of Readinge, weaver, for
15 yeares by indenture, of whiche terme 9 yeares are expired, and that
the said apprentice for lacke of meate and drinke and apparell hath
often-tymes run awaye, and is nowe brought agayne by the officers of
Shinfeild desiringe a reformacion or restitucion of the v li.

"William Appleby saith he hath victualls as he himself and family daily
have, and further saith that the said apprentice is soe ill-condicioned
that he will still run awaye and hath noe hope of good service of him.

"All thinges heard, examyned and understood the said William Appleby
was enjoyned to take his apprentice and to sett him to worke agayne and
to use him well in all thinges.

"And the apprentice willed, when he is misused or ill treated to
complayne to Mr Mayour, and he will provide further for him, as shalbe
fitt and expedient in that behaulf." _Records of the Borough of
Reading_, Vol. III., p. 233.

The poor boys of Reading appear to have been regularly placed as
apprentices, sometimes by charitable funds and sometimes by the

[Sidenote: 3 _b_. In the bridewells, or Industrial schools of the time.]

But not all destitute children were bound apprentice to masters in the
town. The bridewells or workhouses of the time had often a special
children's department which seems to correspond with our own Industrial

The London Bridewell had thus two distinct functions to perform. On the
one side it was a House of Correction, on the other it was a technical
school for young people. Sometimes the orphaned sons of freemen were
received there, at other times children were sent by the overseers of
the parishes, and often young vagrants were brought in from the London
streets. They were trained in very various occupations: a full report
of the hospital was drawn up in 1631, and we are then told that "four
silk weavers keep poore children taken from the streets or otherwise
distressed, to the number of forty-five."

There were also more than a hundred others at that time in the
Hospital who were apprenticed to pinmakers, ribbon weavers,
hempdressers, linen weavers, and carpenters[520]. Christ's Hospital
at Ipswich, the Hospital at Reading, and the Nottingham House of
Correction, had all training departments of this kind in which many of
the poor children of these towns were taught trades.

[520] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 190. 10. See Appendix XII.

[Sidenote: 4. Schools for little children and orphanages.]

Besides all this, children who were too young to be apprenticed were
in many places taught to spin and sometimes to read and write. We have
seen that in Norwich in every parish "a select woman" was appointed for
this purpose in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and in 1630 a similar
order was made to the effect "that a knittinge schooledame shalbe
provided in every parishe where there is not one already, to sett
children and other poore on worke[521]." Even in the hamlets like those
of Whitwell and Sellside, in the county of Westmoreland, three poor
boys were maintained at the school by the parish who were to be taught
trades as soon as they were old enough[522]. In Hertfordshire we are
told that many had been placed as apprentices "and such as are not of
fitt yeares to bee put forth wee haue caused to bee sett to spinning
and such smale worke as is most meete for them according to the
tendernesse of their age that idlenesse may not fasten in them[523]."

[521] _Norwich Court Books._ 18th October, 1630.

[522] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 388, No. 7, XXXVIII. 2.

[523] _Ib._ Vol. 189. 79.

These schools were not improbably very numerous. In documents
containing the instructions of justices to overseers knitting schools
were advocated. Thus in directions issued in 1622 by some of the
justices of Norfolk for the hundreds of Eynesford and South Erpingham,
the justices resolve "that poore children be put to schoole to
knittinge and spinninge dames and the churchwardens and ouerseers for
the poore to paie the schoole dames their wages where the parents are
not able[524]."

[524] British Museum Add. MSS. No. 12496, f. 222. In another document
containing instructions by justices to overseers the establishment of
knitting schools is advocated. See above, p. 181.

All this points to a system of popular education of the kind then

In the largest towns orphanages also were established about this
time. Christ's Hospital in London, as we have seen, was originally
established for the little children of the London streets. During this
period there were from seven to nine hundred children maintained at
the cost of this institution, some in London and some at nurse in the
country[525]. At Bristol there were two establishments of the same
kind. Queen Elizabeth's Hospital was founded by a citizen named John
Carr after the model of Christ's Hospital in London. The boys were
subject to the same regulations and still wear the same blue and yellow
dress[526]. The Red Maid's School was endowed by the will of John
Whitson in 1621. It was to consist of a matron and forty girls. The
children were to learn to read and sew and do such other work as the
matron and the Mayor's wife should approve. They were to be apprenticed
for eight years, to wear clothes of red cloth, and attend on the wives
of the Mayor and aldermen on state occasions[527]. In Plymouth, Exeter,
and Norwich also there were similar institutions, but they seem to have
only existed in the large towns. Both in the country and towns orphaned
and deserted children were generally "boarded out" until they were old
enough to be apprenticed, and payments were made for them from the
rates amounting to about a shilling a week.

[525] Reports of the four Royal Hospitals, 1632, 1641. King's
_Pamphlets_, 669 f. 4.

[526] Probate of John Carr's will was granted in 1586. An Act of
Parliament confirming the foundation was passed 39 Eliz. The school
was established on the site of Gaunt's Hospital, and the citizens of
Bristol provided some of the necessary money. _Char. Com. Rep._ VI. p.
463 seq.

[527] _Char. Com. Rep._ VI. p. 490.

Children were thus very well provided for, and their training was
considered a matter of national concern. Parents, whether they were
very poor or not, were compelled to send their children to work or
school and either to apprentice them or to find situations for them. We
are apt to consider popular education an exclusively modern movement,
but in this, as in many other matters, the aims of the seventeenth
century anticipate those of the nineteenth. They had ideas which
were very different from those of to-day as to the kind of training
which was necessary, but they attached an equal importance to the
necessity of training. The Town Council of Norwich and the justices of
Hertfordshire and Norfolk took energetic action in the matter.

[Sidenote: γ. The able-bodied poor.]

[Sidenote: 5. Relief given to prisoners.]

We will now see how the administration of the time affected the
able-bodied poor. The help given to the unemployed is by far the most
important part of this relief, but some aid was also given to prisoners.

The prisoners of the sixteenth century must have suffered great
hardships. No adequate means seem to have existed for their
maintenance. Their friends supported them, and under certain
regulations they were allowed to beg. Several statutes made in the
reign of Elizabeth provided partially for their support as part
of the relief of the poor[528]. By the statute of 1601 prisoners
were to be relieved by a county rate. The County Treasurer, who was
responsible for the relief of soldiers and hospitals, also disbursed
a part of the funds to them, and every county was bound to pay at
least twenty shillings a year to the prisoners of the King's Bench and
Marshalsea[529]. Still the help given was very small; up to 1650 the
allowance granted to the poor in the Norfolk prison was only a penny a
day[530], and this sum could barely have sufficed to keep them alive.
In Devonshire their allowance was increased in 1608 because "divers of
them of late have perished through want"[531]. We must remember that
incarceration in these prisons was the fate of debtors. Charitable
people tried to help these people, and bequests were often made for the
purpose of granting them some assistance. Thus in the reign of Charles
I. George White of Bristol left a gift of five pounds a year to be
used for the purpose of freeing or relieving some of the prisoners in
the Bristol Newgate, and there are many other bequests of the same
kind[532]. Still the amount of these legacies was wholly insufficient
for the need. Certainly neither the legislators nor the administrators
of the reigns of the earlier Stuarts made the criminal poor more
comfortable than the unfortunate poor. If we realise the condition of
the prisoners of this time we can understand why Houses of Correction
were regarded as charitable foundations. We can also see how it was
that whipping and stocking were so frequently inflicted and that they
were comparatively merciful punishments.

[528] 14 Eliz. c. 5; 39 Eliz. c. 3.

[529] 43 Eliz. c. 2.

[530] _Orders of the Norfolk Quarter Sessions_, 1650.

[531] _Quarter Sessions from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Anne_, p. 91. A.
H. A. Hamilton.

[532] _Char. Com. Rep._, VI. p. 529.

Richard Holworthy also in 1640 left £20 for the poor in the Bristol

At Oxford, Wardell in 1625 and Myles Windsor both left the profits of a
small sum for the poor in Bocardo. _Rep._ VI., p. 403, 404.

At Launceston by Connock's charity in 1611 a rent of 52_s._ a year was
set apart for the poor felons in the county gaol. _Rep._ 32. 1, p. 406.

Bequests in London for this purpose were very frequent. _Rep._ VI. p.
302. Sir T. Bennett in 1616 left £24 a year for redeeming twelve or
more poor debtors.

[Sidenote: 6. Provision of funds to provide work for the unemployed.]

But the provision for the unemployed workmen is by far the most
characteristic part of the early seventeenth century administration.
A man who was unemployed and had no resources had either to beg or to
steal. If he begged, he was whipped; if he stole, he went to one of
the terrible prisons of the time. The bands of armed vagrants, who
made themselves terrible by their numbers and defied the law, were
therefore only a natural consequence of the social conditions of the
period. Repressive measures were tried but did not succeed because
force could not restrain a man from begging if that was his only means
of escaping starvation. The provision of work which had been made for
the unemployed before 1597 was quite inadequate, and it remained for
the earlier Stuarts to develope and extend the system.

We will examine first some of the methods of raising funds which now
came to be utilised, and secondly a few of the various plans adopted in
different places at different times with the object of employing the

It is characteristic of the time that the money was frequently
provided by private people. At Guildford Archbishop Abbot founded a
workhouse, and we are told that the poor men of the town were employed
to spin flax and hemp into cloth, and that this was found to be a
"great comfort to many poore workefolke men, women and children[533]".

[533] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 191, 42.

At New Windsor several sums of money were left for this purpose. One
of these was bequeathed by Andrew Windsor in a will dated 1621. He
bequeathed £200, the annual interest from which amounted to fourteen
pounds. With this the poor were to be set to work in the making of
cloth. To some extent the donor's intentions were fulfilled up to the
present century. During the eighteenth century and up to 1829 the money
was expended in setting the poor to work to spin sheeting[534].

[534] _Rep. Char. Com._, XXXII. Pt. 1, p. 100.

Other legacies left at New Windsor for this purpose were as follows:--

Mathias Jenis £20 "towards a stock for the setting of poor people of
Windsor on work or to purchase some parcel of land for their relief."

B. Chert gave a similar sum for the same purposes. _Rep._ XXXII. 1, p.

There were many other gifts of the same kind, but of some no farther
trace has been found, while others are employed for a somewhat
different purpose[535].

[535] Other charities of the same kind were those of

Lawrence Atwill, Exeter, 1588, £600. _Rep._ VI. p. 136.

George White, Bristol, 10 Chas. I., £100. _Rep._ VI. p. 530.

Aldworth, Bristol, 1634, £1000 towards the setting of poor people on
work. _Char. Com. Rep._ VIII. p. 58.

Atwell's gift. A lost charity of Wolverhampton. _Rep._ V. 593.

Croydon. Henry Smith gave £1000 in 1624, subject to certain
trusts, which was partly to be used for this purpose. _Bibliotheca
Topographica_, II. p. 79.

Hereford. Francis Pember, 1632, left money which in 1635 was assigned
by his executors to be used for setting poor children to work.
_Report_, XXII. ii. p. 39.

Besides these voluntary contributions the finding of work for the
unemployed was still in some cases regarded mainly as a municipal
duty. Thus at Richmond in Yorkshire before 1631 the money for this
purpose had been provided from the town chest, and about the same time
a contribution was requested but not obtained from the Corporation of

[536] _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 189, 65, and Vol. 194, 19.

Usually however the funds were provided by means of parochial
rates. A lump sum was raised called the "stock." This was expended
in purchasing materials and implements, and ought to have been
continuously replaced when the finished products were sold. A "stock"
was thus obtained in the three parishes of Beverley; each parish
contributed six or seven pounds, besides the amount they formerly had,
and the poor were employed in spinning hemp[537].

[537] _Dom. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 189, 8. X. A detailed assessment for
the raising of a stock and relief of the poor was made in Norwich in
1644. See Appendix.

It was usually in these three ways that the money was raised for the
purpose of finding work for the unemployed, but many different methods
were used in the administration.

[Sidenote: 7 _a_. Stocks used to employ the poor in their houses or

We will now examine some of the more typical cases of setting the poor
to work. Generally we hear that stocks were raised and the poor found
with work, but we do not hear that the work was done in any public
building. It does not follow that a building was not used, but we do
not hear that one was provided. We will first notice a few instances in
which the poor were set to work in this way, and we will then examine
some of the Jersey schools and the workhouses and Houses of Correction
of the period. Lastly, we will endeavour to see what expedients were
adopted by public or semi-public authorities to provide the poor with
work without directly employing them. Under this head we will notice
such expedients as emigration, putting pressure on employers, and the
various ways in which a young artisan or tradesman was helped to set up
in business for himself.

We shall see later that all these expedients were adopted much more
often after 1631 than before it, and it is at that date that our
information is most complete. About that time we hear of several
ways in which the poor were employed directly or indirectly by the
public authorities, but in which we are not told of the erection
of a workhouse or other building of the kind. In Winchester, for
instance, the stock was placed in a clothier's hands; at Maidstone
"the towne doth ymploy poore women and their children in spinning,
making of buttons and twisting of threed for the same." In two of the
hundreds[538] of Shropshire "the poore of euery paryshe w^{th}in the
said hundreds are sufficiently provided for and are not permitted to
wander or beg but are set to worke on husbandry as the state of the
countrey doth require."

[538] _Ib._ Chas. I., Vol. 188, 101; Vol. 186, 74; Vol. 194, 17. IV.

All these and many other instances are reported in 1631, but there
are examples at other times. At Norwich many plans were tried[539],
but in 1625 it was resolved that the stone-mines should be used for
that purpose. The workmen were to be "sett on worke" the next Monday
at eight o'clock and surveyors were ordered to be present. "And the
Belman ys required to warne all such as want worke and dwell not in
infected howses to repaire thither at that hower w^{th} barrowes and
fittinge tooles to digg stone & they shall be compounded w^{th}all for
reasonable wages[540]."

[539] In Dec. 1630 a certain "Nathaniell Crotch was appointed to sett
the poore on worke in the Newhall," and certain aldermen were appointed
to overlook the work done. _Court Books, Norwich_, 23 Dec. 1630.

[540] _Court Books, Norwich_, 3rd Nov. 1625, f. 72. Other plans were
even then contemplated at Norwich, and on Nov. 16th people were
appointed in every ward to "sett the poore on worke."

At King's Lynn also different expedients were adopted. As early as 1581
money had been spent in changing St James's Church into a workhouse,
and shortly afterwards we have evidence of employment being then given
to the poor. In 1623 the building was pulled down, and possibly in
consequence of this we find an agreement made in that year between
the citizens on the one side and a merchant taylor, a glover and a
woolchapman on the other. These last undertook not only to teach
children to spin worsted yarn, but also to give employment to the poor,
and to pay proper wages to those who were not learners. In June, 1631,
the Mayor and the Recorder sent in a report to the Sheriff, in which
they said that then they had "bought materialls to sett the able-bodyed
poore on worke not suffering to o^r knowledge anie poore to stragle and
begg upp and downe the streets of this Burgh[541]." In Lynn, therefore,
the authorities on several occasions made energetic efforts to find
employment for those out of work, and very possibly some arrangement
of this sort was in continuous operation from the year 1581.

[541] _Hist. Mun. Com. Report_, XI. App. III. p. 247; _D. S. P._, Chas.
I., Vol. 195, 46.

[Sidenote: 7 _b_. Introduction of new trades.]

Sometimes the authorities utilised the labour of their poor in order
to establish a new trade. Thus in eight of the towns of Hertfordshire
public funds were obtained for an unsuccessful attempt to employ
those out of work in making serges and baize, then called the "new
drapery[542]." A project of the same kind was suggested to the justices
of Pembrokeshire, but they were very cautious about committing
themselves to its adoption[543].

[542] _Cal. of State Papers_, May 10th, 1620.

[543] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 192, 70 and 71.

Our informants generally tell us only that stocks were raised and the
poor set to work. But from the instances we have just examined we can
see that many kinds of employment were used. On the whole clothmaking
and the provision of flax, hemp and tow were the most usual expedients.

[Sidenote: 7 _c_. Workhouses and Jersey schools.]

But both private employers and public officials found that if
the very poor took work into their homes they might embezzle the
materials. Moreover, the seventeenth century administrators often
carefully provided for the training of workers, and this could be more
conveniently done in some building. We, therefore, hear of the erection
of workhouses and Jersey schools and the continued use of Houses of
Correction. At Newbury and Reading institutions of this kind were
founded by Mr Kendrick. At Newbury we are told threescore persons were
employed in the trade of clothing and other manufactures, most of these
"being houskeepers and havinge wyfes and children depending upon their
labours." Besides this fifty households were set to work by spinning
for the workhouse, and a "stock" was raised by taxation to be partly
expended "to imploie the poore in worke[544]."

[544] _Ib._ Vol. 192, 14 II.

We have detailed accounts of the Sheffield corporation. From these we
find that they spent about two hundred pounds in building a workhouse
and providing the necessary materials. The details of the construction
were very carefully planned; the carpenters were sent to Newark to see
the workhouse there and every item of expenditure is set down in the

[545] _Extracts from the Earliest Book of Accounts of Sheffield._
Entries from 1628 onwards. By J. D. Leader.

At Taunton and Abingdon similar institutions seem to have been
established in consequence of the special activity of the years after
1630. The Taunton workhouse was newly built in May 1631, and some
children and others who were able to work were already sent there to
be trained in labour[546]. In June also in 1631 the Mayor of Abingdon
reports that "wee haue erected w^{th}in our borough a workehouse to
sett poore people to worke[547]."

[546] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 192, 65.

[547] _Ib._ 195, 7.

At Cambridge the workhouse was also a House of Correction. In 1628
many houses had already been built for the benefit and employment of
the poorer sort of people, and in that year Hobson gave the town the
site without Barnwell Gate on condition that a more convenient place
should be erected. This was soon afterwards begun, and was partially
paid for by certain sums, which had been sent to the town for the
plague-stricken poor in 1631, and which after that time remained in the
hands of the Corporation. In 1675 Hobson's workhouse was still not only
a House of Correction but a place where five combers could be employed
if they wanted work, and where all the poor people of the town that
desired to have work in spinning and weaving were to be provided with
employment and to be paid the usual wages[548].

[548] Cooper's _Annals of Cambridge_, Vol. III., pp. 204 seqq. and 569,

In these cases the workhouses are all in large towns, but in one
country district there were small institutions of the kind in the
parishes. The justices responsible for Little Holland in Lincolnshire
report in 1635 that in "all our seuerall parishes wee haue a Towne
stocke with a workhouse, a master and utensills and that there hath
beene aboue two hundred poore people sett on worke and imployed weekly
by the officers[549]."

[549] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 315, No. 99.

Workhouses were thus fairly numerous and varied greatly in size. They
were not then like a modern workhouse, but were places where people
who could work were sent that they might be trained and employed.
They were, too, municipal or parochial institutions, whereas Houses
of Correction were not parochial, but were either municipal or county

[Sidenote: 7 _d_. Bridewells.]

In the sixteenth century we have seen that the distinction between
the two was not very great, but in this period the new Houses of
Correction are much more like gaols. This is especially the case with
those erected by public funds, those which were privately endowed
still retained much of their old character. London, Bristol, Norwich,
Gloucester and many other places had organised their Bridewells either
before or during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and we have already
noticed that there were four Houses of Correction in Devonshire in
1598[550]. If was during the early part of the seventeenth century
however that Houses of Correction appear to have been established
in every county. They formed a necessary part of the system of the
time. You could not provide work and maintenance for everybody unless
you had some arrangement for coercing idlers. A great many of these
institutions appear to have been established or revived after 1597. In
1598 one was founded at Liverpool, and in 1601 some measures of the
same kind were taken in Nottingham and in Kendal, Westmoreland[551].

[550] The Barnstaple workhouse was in existence soon afterwards. 1607.
"Paid for erecting and placing the stoope in the house of Correction,
18_d._" 1633-1640, "Paid to John Locke who is appointed to the charge
of the Workhouse for two journeys here, 10_s._ 10_d._" _North Devon
Herald_, Aug. 19th, 1880, and Aug. 12th, 1880.

[551] _Selections from the Municipal Archives of Liverpool_, Picton,
June 24th, 1598. "It was agreed by all the assembly that a house termed
a 'House of Correction' shoulde be had and taken for the poore people
aforesaid," and it was further arranged that Mr More should let his
house at Poole for that purpose at a reasonable rent.

For Nottingham, see _Nottingham Records_, Vol. IV., p. 225. In 1601 it
was arranged that John Cooper should remain keeper of St John. He was
to take up rogues and punish those committed to him, though at the same
time he was to have an allowance for the poor infants and others which
were sent to him.

Kendal, A.D. 1601. There is a list of collectors of benevolences for
the House of Correction. _Hist. Man. Com. Rep._ X. App. IV., p. 299.

Others were erected shortly after the statute of 1610 was passed:
thus in 1614 the City of London consented to help the counties of
Middlesex and Surrey to build Houses of Correction: about the same time
the Nottingham burgesses furnished and reorganised St John's Hospital
for this purpose, and both Preston and Manchester had followed the
same example before 1620[552]. In the reports of 1630 to 1639 the
existence of Houses of Correction is assumed, since the justices state
how many idlers have been sent to them[553]. Sometimes the reports
give a few details concerning them; at Hastings the justices tell us
they have kept their House of Correction in good repair[554], and from
the justices of Edwinstree and Odsey in 1631 we learn that a House
of Correction had been long maintained at Buntingford, and that the
justices send their prisoners there although there is a more important
institution of the kind in the county, fourteen miles distant[555].
The justices' reports thus indicate that Houses of Correction were
established in most places before 1635. This impression is confirmed by
a letter from the Earl of Pembroke to the justices of South Wiltshire.
He complains that there is no place of the kind nearer than Devizes,
and he asks the Council to enforce his request that another should be
built in Wiltshire[556]. This letter would hardly have been written
unless in 1623 it was usual for Houses of Correction to be nearer than
Devizes is to South Wiltshire, and seems therefore to show that they
were now a general institution.

[552] May 19, 1615. "The company decide to raise 40 marks for
furnishing St John's and for setting the poor there to work."
_Nottingham Records_, Vol. IV., p. 331.

June 21, 1615. An agreement was made with John Kirby. He agrees
to "diligently teach, instructe and bringe upp all such youthes,
children and other persons as shalbe sent or committed into the saied
Howse of Correccon in some honest and true labour soe longe as they
shall remayne there vnder his chardge and government and shall fynde
and allowe vnto them convenient meate, drynke, apparell and other
necessaries vnlesse they bee lame and impotent and nott able to worke."
For Manchester and Preston see Earwaker, _Constables' Accounts_, Vol.
I., pp. 39, 54 and 65.

[553] _D. S. P._, Chas. I. Vol. 349, 72, Hayridge etc. Devon. _Ib._
Vol. 349, 12, Hartesmere, Suffolk. _Ib._ 192, 79, Blofield, Norfolk.
_Ib._ Vol. 250, 42, Arundel, Hants. _Ib._ Vol. 426, 67, Bastable and
Becontree, Essex, &c. The justices of Somerset write "It was presented
to us that many persons lived out of service w^{th}in certayne parishes
whome wee sent to the Howse of Correccon at Shepton Mallet," _Ib._
Vol. 194, 20. At Chichester it is reported that "there is a house of
Correccon neere the common prison in the said Cittie w^{ch} is parcell
of the said provision and that such prisoners as are thether committed
are employed to worke duringe the tyme of their restraynt. _Ib._ Vol.
190, 67.

[554] _Ib._ Vol. 188, 34.

[555] _Ib._ Vol. 189, 13. Eight years later this house at Buntingford
was still in existence and reported to be doing much good in the
country. _Ib._ Vol. 426, 73. July, 1639.

[556] _Cal. of State Papers_, May 15, 1623.

Their character seems to have been much the same as in the preceding
century. They provided a temporary lodging for stranger vagrants and
a house of detention in which the idlers and offenders convicted for
small causes could be made to work hard and were possibly reformed.
Coarse kinds of labour were used at the London Bridewell, mainly the
beating of hemp, but sometimes other plans were tried and the prisoners
were put under the care of undertakers who agreed to keep them all at
work and made such profit as they were able[557].

[557] _Remembrancia_, II. 254.

But there were many other ways in which the unemployed were provided
for. The modern remedy of emigration was adopted, pressure was put upon
employers and there were various ways in which money could be lent to
set a young householder up in business.

[Sidenote: 7 _e_. Emigration.]

It was about this time, and partly in connection with Bridewell,
that the remedy offered by emigration was adopted. It was the age in
which several of our colonies were founded and first developed. The
earliest vagrant emigrants were sent to Virginia. We hear of a payment
of 12_s._ 3_d._ from a London parish "towards the transportacon of a
hundred children to Virginia by the Lord Maior's appointment," in 1617
and in 1619[558]. Again, in 1622 and 1635, vagrants were detained in
Bridewell for Virginia, who were usually paid for by municipal funds
and collections, though in a few cases we are told that the parochial
officials sent particular people and paid their expenses. A few years
later some vagabonds were sent to sea, and others were put to work in
the Barbadoes[559]. The emigrants did not come only from London; three
boys of Barnstaple departed in 1633-4, and probably there were many
more both from Barnstaple and other places. The emigrants thus sent
out were bound apprentice for some years to some employer, and at the
end of their term of years they were to have the opportunity of making
plantations for themselves. There is a declaration made in 1647, by
the Earl of Carlisle, who was Lord of the Caribee Islands, in which it
is stated that there was not land enough in Barbados for all who had
served their time[560], and that every freeman unprovided with land may
have a grant in his other island of Antigua.

[558] W. A. Bewes, _Church Briefs_, p. 96, 1617, quoting the Records of
St Alphage, London Wall.

[559] Court Books of Bridewell, Feb. 24th, 1619. Sixteen vagrants are
entered as "sent to Virginia," and entries of the same kind follow at
the next meetings.

1622. Vagrants are again "kept for Virginia."

April 1635. It is ordered "that if Mr George Whitmore and the Treasurer
shall think fit to send any vagrants beyond seas, what reasonable
they shall consent unto shall be allowed." At the same meeting some
parishioners agreed to pay for a certain inhabitant of their parish to
go beyond seas.

At the meetings held later in the month on April 15th and 29th several
people are destined for Virginia and others for the Barbadoes.

Other entries occur in 1639.

The names of all these vagrants are given, and the descendants of
several of them occupy good positions in America. An enterprising
American has endeavoured to enlighten his countrymen on the subject,
but the publication of names is now forbidden as the descendants did
not care to be enlightened.

[560] A declaration of the Lord of the Caribee Islands touching
servants who had served their time and could not get land. _King's
Pamphlets_, British Museum, 669 f. 11, f. 106.

In the midst of all the abuse heaped upon the vagrant in his own
time and in our own, it is interesting to remember that he sometimes
did something useful when he got the chance. Even in the days of the
Stuarts he and his descendants played a part in developing the British
Empire and in founding the settlements which led to the existence of
the United States.

[Sidenote: 7 _f_. Pressures on employers.]

But work was also provided for the unemployed by means of pressure
exercised on employers. We have already seen how both in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries the Privy Council endeavoured to compel
cloth manufacturers to continue to carry on their trade, and how cloth
merchants were called before the justices and judges and ordered not
to dismiss their men[561]. Another instance of the same kind of
interference occurred soon after the outbreak of the Civil War. After
Bristol was captured by the Royalists, Prince Rupert endeavoured to
relieve the distress of the time by ordering the clothiers to keep
their workpeople employed for one month at least[562].

[561] See above, pp. 85, 147 seq., p. 153.

[562] Seyer's _Memoirs of Bristol_, Vol. II., p. 420. 1643.

In another case we can see the justices exercising pressure on
particular individuals not because of a fluctuation of trade, but in
order to carry out the ordinary provisions of the poor law. Hitchen
was the centre of an agricultural district, there was no manufacture
in which men could be employed: wages were very low and many were out
of work. The justices therefore ordered the "richer sort" to give
employment, but they thereby only occasioned complaints, for in this
part of the country there seems to have been a permanent difficulty in
finding work for the poor[563].

[563] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 385, No. 43.

At other times municipal rulers exerted their influence in favour of
the inhabitants of a particular town. Thus in 1623 at Reading certain
poor complained; the clothiers were warned to appear and thirty of
them came to the Guildhall. It was arranged that two clothiers should
be appointed to consult with the overseers and see that the poor were
set to work. However the complaints still continued, and both at this
time and in 1630 the difficulty was met by ordering the clothiers
to have all their work done in the town and not to send it into the
country. The distress at Reading was thus lessened at the expense of
the surrounding district[564].

[564] _Records of Reading_, Vol. II., p. 153, Vol. III., p. 39.

That the public authorities of state and town thought they had a right
to exercise pressure of this kind is evident, and many incidental
sayings show us that the employers considered they had a duty in
the matter. Thus at Norwich the hosiers, finding that they cannot
sell their stocks, tell the town rulers that though they have not
yet dismissed their men their money is exhausted and they find it is
impossible for them to go on much longer[565]. They thus intimate that
it was their interest to have dismissed their men sooner but that
they held on as long as they could. In another case an employer writes
to Nicholas about some payment, and hopes he will be used well by the
Council because during a bad time, when most men stopped work, he
continued his manufacture and kept nearly one thousand people at work,
although he lost heavily by so doing[566].

[565] Norwich Court Books, 22nd Feb. 1630/1, f. 326, Vol. 16.

[566] _Dom. S. Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 184, 65.

All this shows that the employers recognised some sort of
responsibility for the men whom they usually employed. The continuance
of business would save much hardship if the cause of distress was
merely a temporary fluctuation in trade. In the cloth-manufacture this
was often the case, and therefore the pressure brought to bear on
employers in this direction must be considered a real method of helping
the poor.

But there was another way in which pressure was put on employers.
We occasionally find that the town, instead of providing a stock of
materials to set the poor to work, reported that the inhabitants found
employment for them or that the inhabitants provided hemp and tow and
flax and set the poor to work themselves[567]. This not improbably
points to some plan like that of the roundsman system of later days. A
man in want of work, on applying to the parish authorities, was sent
round to different employers and was set to work by each of them for a
short period. This plan does not seem to have been much used, for in
most cases the justices mention that the overseers had raised stocks of
money in order to provide work for the ablebodied, and thus imply their
intention of giving direct employment.

[567] Eastwicke. "The poore are set on worke by the inhabitants."

Hundred of Braughing, 4th April, 1631. "Noe stoeke to sett the poore on
worke but they are sett on worke by the inhabitants to spinn towe at
iiii_d._ the pound." _Dom. S. P._, Charles I., Vol. 189, No. 80. See

[Sidenote: 7 _g_. Advancement of capital without interest.]

Perhaps the charity which was most peculiar to the seventeenth century
was that of lending sums of money to set young tradesmen and artificers
up in business for themselves.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries capital was growing
a more and more important factor in production and it was becoming
an increasingly difficult thing for the young journeyman to become a

We must remember that six to twelve per cent. was the ordinary rate
of interest at the time. The difficulty of paying so much probably
prevented many poor young men from starting business. Moreover all
through the Middle Ages lending money for interest was considered
contrary to Christian morality, and many men still held to the old
opinion. In great numbers of places therefore funds were bequeathed
to what have been termed "Lending Cash Charities." Sums were lent to
young men, or sometimes to older men who had lost their capital, either
for no return or at what was then a low rate of interest, and the
borrowers had to find security for the repayment of the original sum.
Many of the City Companies are responsible for the administration of
very considerable sums of this kind. The Haberdashers' Company alone
possesses £2510 which ought to be lent gratis and which was bequeathed
by many different donors between the years 1569 and 1638. The Mercers'
Company possesses at least twenty-one gifts of this kind. One of the
most considerable of these is that of Lady Campbell, who in 1642
bequeathed £1000 which was to be lent gratis on good security to eight
young men of the Mercers' Company; shopkeepers of the mercery were to
be preferred, and next to them silkmen[568].

[568] _Haberdashers' Company Char. Com. Rep._ X. p. 230. _Mercers'
Company Char. Com. Rep._ VI., pp. 285, 291, 307.


David Appowell, 1508. £100 to be lent to two young men for seven years
in consideration of four cart-loads of coal every year.

Alice Blundell, 1570. £100 to be lent to two young men who were to
give 1_s._ 1_d._ every week to thirteen poor folk of the parish of St
Lawrence Jewry.

Richard Fishborne, 1625. £1000 to be lent to five young men free of the
Company £200 each for five years gratis with three good securities.

Not only the City Companies but also the town rulers of most provincial
towns and sometimes parish authorities were trustees for such
charities. At Ipswich bequests of this kind are especially numerous;
they are much smaller in amount than those of London, but they are
typical of the kind of charity that once existed in almost every town
in which old records remain. In common with twenty-three other towns,
Ipswich had an interest in Sir Thomas White's will and received in
its turn £100 to be lent to four poor tradesmen. Besides this no less
than eleven other legacies of this sort were received before 1635.
Amongst these Mrs Alice Scrivener gave £100 to be lent gratis to ten
people for four years, Christopher Cock gave £100 to be lent to four
clothiers for five years, and John Barrett £20 to four shoemakers
without interest[569]. At Reading the same kind of thing was done; in
1626 Mr Ironside left £100 to be lent gratis to two clothiers and two
shopkeepers, and in 1633 Richard Johnson gave £100 for four tradesmen
for twelve years[570]. At Oxford there were once many sums for such
loans, but these have most of them either been lost or are used for
other purposes[571].

[569] _Legacies to charitable uses in Ipswich_, p. 74 seq.

Other Cash Charities of the same kind for the benefit of the
inhabitants of Ipswich were as follows:--

1579. Mrs Rose Bloise £20 to four handicraftsmen for two or three years.

1583. Mr John Tye £25 to five or more persons who are inhabitants for
not longer than three years without interest.

1595. Mr Thos. Goodwin £40 for four poor occupiers for two years
without interest.

1608. Mrs Alice Bloise £40 to six young men, being freemen for three

1616. Mr Willm. Birden £20 to four poor occupiers for four years.

1616. Mr Willm. Acton £80 to four clothiers for four years.

      Mr J. Acton added £20 to be lent in the same manner.

1621. Mr Rich. Martin left overplus of certain revenues to be lent to

[570] _Char. Com. Report_, 32, Pt. 1, p. 43. Ironside's Charity.

_Reading Records_, Vol. III., p. 170. Richard Johnson.

Other charities of the kind existed in Reading. See Barbor's and
Winche's _Charities Rep._, 32. Pt. 1, p. 43.
[571] _Rep._ VI., p. 397 seq.

Among the lost charities of Oxford are the following:--

Jane Fulsey, 1603. £40 to be lent to four poor tradesmen for three

Robert Wilson, 1640. £20 to be lent in two, three or four equal
portions for seven years. _Ib._ p. 404.

There are sixteen other lost charities of the kind either without date
or of later date than 1640, and three or four other lending charities
which are still wholly or partially in existence.

In Barnstaple, Bristol, Newbury, Lichfield, Wolverhampton and
Colchester[572] there were similar bequests, and apparently in most
towns charitable funds of this kind were in existence during the
reigns of the earlier Stuarts. It was one of the ways in which the
philanthropists of the time endeavoured to give employment, only
in this case it was not to the vagrant, but to the householder or
skilled workman. Usually these sums were given by private people and
administered by the town. But at Hitchin we find something of the kind
suggested as a method of poor relief. The justices in their report
recount the sufferings of the poor during the plague, and say that
"three poore tradesmen who were shutt up And haue lost their custome
and spent their meanes haue petitioned for stock to put them into Trade
againe[573]." The matter was not yet decided, but from the justices'
language it is clear that they regarded it as quite within their
power to grant relief in this manner. John Lock, tailor of London,
bequeathed gifts of £5 to £10 to the apprentices of Bridewell with a
similar object, and, having regard to the circumstances of the time,
few charities would probably have had a better effect if they had been
honestly administered.

[572] See _Reports of the Charity Commissioners_.

Among these sums at Bristol were the following:--

Alderman Thorne's Gift £500 in 1532 to "succour young men that were
minded to cloth making."

John Heydon, 1579. £100 for two young men trading over seas at interest
of £3. 6_s._ 8_d._

Alderman Whitson, 1627. £500, £250 to five young men for seven years at
interest of ten shillings, £250 to twenty tradesmen for seven years,
&c. _Report_ VIII., p. 597 seq.

Such bequests were also sometimes in the hands of parochial officials.

St Mary, Aldermary. John Kemp in 1569 gave £100 to the churchwardens
that they might lend the same to ten poor occupiers without interest.

Anthony Sprott in 1607 gave £20 to the churchwardens and parishioners
to be lent by them to a young occupier at 16_s._ a year. _Rep._ VI., p.

[573] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 349, No. 70.

We thus see that many different methods were employed to relieve the
old, to train the young and to give work to the able-bodied. The
examples we have already given afford some evidence that legal poor
relief had become well established in many districts, but it was not
equally well administered at all times and in all places. We will now
inquire when and how the administration of the law was improved, and
the answer to this question may suggest the reason why the history
of the English Poor Law is different to that of the rest of Western




  1. Importance of the period 1597 to 1644.
    (_a_) Because it was the period when the relief of the impotent poor
became established.
    (_b_) Because it is the only period in which many efforts were made to
set the unemployed to work.

 Administration of the Poor Law as a whole.

  2. Negligent administration of the Poor Law in the North and extreme
  3. The administration of the Poor Law in the rest of England varied
with the action of the Privy Council.
  4. Action of the Privy Council and administration between 1597 and
  5. Action of the Privy Council and administration between 1605 and
  6. Action of the Privy Council and administration between 1629 and
    (_a_) State of affairs in 1631.
    (_b_) Improvement effected in 1631 and 1632.
    (_c_) Improvement maintained between 1631 and 1640.

 Provision of Work for the Unemployed.

  7. The improvement effected in 1631 especially concerned the
  8. The detailed report from Bassetlaw.
  9. Provision of work: (_a_) in the North and extreme West, (_b_)
in the towns, (_c_) in the Western counties, (_d_) in the Eastern
  10. Summary.

[Sidenote: 1. Importance of the period 1597-1644.]

We have already examined both the machinery which existed for the
execution of the poor law and the different methods which were used for
relieving the impotent, for training the young and for [Sidenote: 1.
(_a_) Because it was the period when the relief of the impotent poor
became established.]

providing work for the unemployed. We have now to consider the
administration as a whole; to find out when and where the machinery
was put in motion and how far these methods were generally employed.
The history of poor relief in the sixteenth century has already shown
us that it was far more easy to pass a Poor Law than to procure a good
system of administration. There were many poor laws before those of
1597 and 1601 but they were not well administered: they were never so
generally or so effectively enforced as to become part of the practice
as well as of the law of the country.

If the last Elizabethan poor law had been no more successful than these
earlier statutes the whole system of compulsory poor relief would
probably have collapsed during the Civil War. The fact that the part
of the poor law relating to children and the destitute survived that
war, and has ever since formed part of our social organisation may be
attributed therefore to the improved administration of the earlier
Stuarts. The administrators of this period are thus responsible for the
continued practice of any legal system of relief at all.

[Sidenote: 1. (_b_) The period 1597 to 1644 is also the only period in
which many efforts were made to set the unemployed to work.]

But the history of administration during this period is important for a
second reason. The part of the poor law relating to the impotent poor
and children has been enforced ever since the reign of Charles I., but
the clauses relating to the unemployed were very little executed after
the Civil War. In 1662 the destitute were relieved, but the unemployed
were no longer set to work. In this respect therefore the poor law
administration of the reigns of the earlier Stuarts is unique. It is
interesting therefore to examine the methods then employed a little
more closely and see if the instances of the provision of work which
we have already considered are isolated cases of this kind of relief
or if they are examples of a general system. If the unemployed were
at all generally set to work, then this period is important, not only
because the legal relief of the destitute then became the practice of
the country, but because we then had more poor relief than we have ever
had before or since. For a short time a limited kind of socialism was
to some extent established.

We will therefore now try to find out how the events of the period
throw light on these two points; (1) when and how was the system of
poor relief thoroughly established, and (2) how far was that part of it
which concerned the employment of the poor ever an important part of
the social organisation of the country.

The two parts of our inquiry are much intermingled, and it is
impossible to separate them entirely. But in the first part we will
consider the system of poor relief as a whole including the finding of
work for the unemployed when it is closely associated with the other
portions of the system, and we will afterwards examine more in detail a
few points which especially concern the provision of work.

[Sidenote: 2. The administration of the law in the North and extreme
West was negligent.]

With regard to the relief of the poor as a whole, it seems clear that
the law was not equally well administered at all places or in all
times. The places in which the administration of the law was least
satisfactory were those farthest from the seat of government. They
are indicated in some cases by the absence of justices' reports; in
others by the character of the reports, or by the distinct statement
of the statute of 1662. From Northumberland and Cumberland and some of
the counties of Wales we have no justices' reports on the poor law,
and we have little evidence from other sources as to any effective
enforcement of the law. From Westmoreland and Lancashire we have very
few reports until 1637 and 1638, and these seem to indicate that the
system of poor relief was then only recently introduced[574]. From
Wiltshire, Devonshire and Cornwall we have a few reports, but they
indicate a comparatively careless administration. There are few or no
cases of setting the poor to work, and in Wiltshire it was difficult
to find masters for the apprentices. But except in Northumberland and
Cumberland some kind of legal poor relief was administered in all
these counties, although it seems to have been less well administered
than in other parts of the country. The statute of 1662 tells us that
at the time of its enactment parts of Wales, the counties forming
the Bishopric of Durham and the county of Yorkshire derived little
benefit from the statute of Elizabeth[575], and except Yorkshire, these
counties are precisely those from which we have few or no reports.

[574] See _supra_, p. 214.

[575] 14 Chas. II., c. 12.

But in the South-east and Midland parts of England and the rest of the
Western shires the case was different. During some part of our period
the system seems to have been on the whole fairly well organised.

[Sidenote: 3. The administration of the Poor Law in the rest of England
depended upon the action of the Privy Council.]

But this was not equally the case at all times. It was the case only
when the justices were vigilant, and they seem to have been made
vigilant mainly by the frequent letters and orders of the Privy Council.

It is this action of the Privy Council that seems to make the
administration of this period different from that of the sixteenth
century, though it was the existence of the justices that caused this
action to be so effectual. But the letters and orders of the Privy
Council were not always equally frequent even during the period from
1597 to 1644.

We have already seen that in 1597 a letter ordering the good execution
of the new poor law was sent to all the justices of England and Wales.
We have also seen that between 1597 and 1629 this kind of action was
exceptional. The Council interfered in particular cases, and in times
of scarcity commanded general measures of relief, but before 1629 it
did not steadily enforce the administration of general measures with
regard to the relief of the poor in ordinary times. But from 1629 to
1640 we find that the matter is altogether different; a commission is
appointed, a new organisation is introduced by the Book of Orders of
1630/1, and for nine years the pressure of the Council on the justices
is constant and continuous. We have now to see if the improvement in
the general administration of the poor law in all parts of the country
corresponded to the periods when the Privy Council was vigorous. We
will consider first the period between 1597 and 1605, secondly that
from 1605 to 1629, and lastly the years from 1629 to 1640. We shall
find that there are grounds for believing that the administration of
the system of poor relief was best when most pressure was exercised and
was lax when pressure was withdrawn. The main improvement therefore in
the organisation of the system took place between 1629 and 1640, that
is under the personal government of Charles I.

[Sidenote: 4. Action of Privy Council and administration between 1597
and 1605.]

The directions of the Privy Council in 1597 seem to have had an
immediate effect both as regards measures of relief and measures of

As regards the repressive measures and the efficacy of Houses
of Correction the opinion of Lord Coke is decisive. He had many
opportunities of knowledge and had no reason for not being impartial.
Speaking of the employment and correction of vagrants he says, "And
this excellent work is without question feasible. For, upon the making
of the statute of 39 Eliz. and a good space after whilest Justices of
the Peace and other officers were diligent and industrious there was
not a rogue to be seen in any part of England, but when Justices and
other Officers became tepidi or trepidi Rogues etc. swarmed again."
Speaking of gaols and Houses of Correction he tells us, "Few or none
are committed to the common gaol amongst so many malefactors but they
come out worse then they went in. And few are committed to the House
of Correction or Working-House, but they come out better[576]." For a
little time therefore vagrants were repressed, and the discipline and
relief afforded in Houses of Correction were very efficacious.

[576] Coke's _Institutes_ II., p. 729.

There was also an improvement with regard to the administration of
relief to the more deserving classes of the poor. We have already seen
that special energy was displayed in the West Riding of Yorkshire
at this time, and that there the justices found it very difficult
to administer the law, but did execute it to a considerable extent.
In Devonshire also the justices received a letter from the Lord
Lieutenant, urging them to take especial care for the relief of those
in want, and they too began to take measures for carrying out the law.
They revoked the licenses granted for beggars, put in order the Houses
of Correction and authorised a system of organised billeting on the
rich. The poor were to be relieved with two meals a day, one to every
household or two or more according to the ability of the householder.
If there was any default the justices might assess any sum up to
eighteenpence weekly "for every pole[577]." Moreover the justices were
to raise stocks for setting the poor to work. All this points to a
great increase in vigilance after the Order in Council of 1597 and it
also points to the fact that the administration was recent. A general
system of billeting was seldom adopted when the legal relief of the
poor had been long put in practice. Moreover Devonshire and Yorkshire
in later times were backward in administering the law, so that the
improvement was probably at least as great in other counties.

[577] Hamilton's _Quarter Sessions from Queen Eliz. to Queen Anne_, p.

We should also derive a favourable opinion as to the good execution of
the law at that time from the Duke of Stettin's account of his journey
through England in 1602. Speaking of the Royal Exchange he states, "It
is a pleasure to go about there, for one is not molested or accosted
by beggars, who are elsewhere so frequently met with in places of this
kind. For in all England they do not suffer any beggars except they be
few in number and outside the gates.

"Every parish cares for its own poor, strangers are brought to the
hospital, but those that belong to the kingdom or have come from
distant places are sent from one parish to the other, their wants
being cared for until at last they reach their home[578]." The Duke of
Stettin judges favourably most things that he sees in England but still
his account could not have been written unless beggars had been out of
sight in the parts visited by him and unless the poor had seemed to be
relieved in England more effectually than in his own country.

[578] Translation from the "Diary of the Duke of Stettin's Journey,"
pp. 12 and 13, _Trans. of Royal Hist. Soc._

After 1597 therefore the execution of the law appears to have been more
vigorous and the improvement is likely to have been connected with the
action taken by the Privy Council in that year.

[Sidenote: 5. Action of the Privy Council and administration between
1605 and 1629.]

We will now see how the administration of poor relief was carried
out between 1605 and 1629. We know that during these years the Privy
Council did not make continuous efforts on behalf of the deserving
poor. A commission however was contemplated in January 1619/20, and
the special measures in connection with the years of scarcity of 1621
to 1623 were much more organised than in former years, and may have
suggested an improved administration of the law about that time. We
therefore find that on the whole the law appears to have been badly
executed but that from 1621 to 1623 some improvement took place.

We will first see what are the grounds for thinking the law was badly
executed between 1605 and 1629.

Lord Coke himself tells us "rogues soon swarmed again" and his opinion
is confirmed by the evidence of a tract of this time called "Stanleyes
Remedy or the VVay how to reform wandring Beggers, Theeves, high-way
Robbers and Pickpockets."

This pamphlet was not published until 1646 but seems to have been
composed about the year 1606[579]. The writer is a converted highwayman
who is anxious for the reformation of his fellow-sinners. He states
"that Beggerie and Theeverie did never more abound," and he complains
that the branding and whipping parts of the statutes are put in
execution long before any place is provided where the poor could have
work. He thought that this was most unfair to the vagrants for many of
them would work if they could and go voluntarily to workhouses if they
were in existence. He therefore urges the establishment of places where
men could have work in all the larger parishes of the kingdom[580].

[579] The pamphlet is addressed to King James I. and the statute for
branding rogues is called the "new statute": this probably refers to
the 1 Jac. I. c. 7, 1603-4. No mention is made of the 7 Jac. I. c. 4,
which commanded the establishment of Houses of Correction, and was
passed in 1609-10. The pamphlet therefore was written in the reign of
James I., probably soon after 1604 and before 1610.

[580] Stanleyes, _Remedy_, p. 8.

Another pamphlet complaining of the bad execution of the law was
entitled "Greevous Grones for the Poore" and was published in 1622. The
writer of this states that "though the number of the Poore do dailie
increase all things worketh for the worst in their behalfe. For there
hath beene no collection for them, no not these seven yeares in many
parishes of this land especiallie in countrie townes; but many of those
parishes turneth forth their Poore, yea and their lustie labourers that
will not worke or for any misdemeenor want worke, to begge, filtch,
and steale, for their maintenance so that the country is pittifully
pestered with them[581]."

[581] Eden, _State of the Poor_, I. p. 155.

Another document of 1624 gives precisely the same information. This
is a letter from a Mr Williamson to Sir Julius Caesar, the Master
of the Rolls, who was one of the most charitably disposed gentlemen
of the time. The writer thinks the neglect of the overseers to
apprentice children is the true cause of vagrancy. He tells us that
the seventeenth century vagrant like the modern tramp was very seldom
a man who knew a trade[582]. The existence of these untrained men was
due to the fault of the administrators of the Poor Law. For these
"intollerable offences haue originally growen from the Ou(er)seers of
the poore who heretofore and att this day haue and doe so ou(er)see as
though they did not see at all[583]."

[582] "Among fortie beggers you shall not find one man of trade." Add.
MSS., No. 12496, f. 238. A favourite question of the present Lord Chief
Justice of England before he sentences a prisoner is, "Has he ever been
engaged in any regular work or had any definite employment?"

[583] Add. MSS., Brit. Mus., No. 12496, f. 238. This writer differs
from most of the time in expressing disapproval of Bridewells. He is an
advocate for prevention rather than cure, for apprenticing the child
rather than for correcting the vagrant.

These writings would therefore lead us to believe that justices soon
grew careless; the poor were not relieved and in many places there was
very little execution of the law at all. All these statements are made
by writers who are vigorously supporting only one side of the case but
the official evidence of the period confirms their view of the matter.
The reasons given for the appointment of the commission suggested
in 1619/20 show that the unofficial writers had not exaggerated the
existing neglect in the administration of the poor laws. Good laws
have been made but they are not executed because the justices are
negligent and the judges of Assize have not time to fully investigate
the matter. The laws in consequence "are in many partes of our Realme
laid aside or little regarded as lawes not in force or of small
consequence, whereas in some other counties and partes of this kingdome
in w^{ch} by the diligence and industrye of sume justices of the peace
and other magistrates the said lawes haue bine dulye putt in execucon
there hath evidentlye appeared much good and benefitt to haue redowned
to the Comon welth by the same[584]." At this time therefore there was
a real likelihood that the poor law would become obsolete.

[584] Add. MSS., No. 12504, 14th Jan., 17 Jac. I.

However the season of scarcity in 1622-3 was accompanied by a crisis in
the cloth trade and the Privy Council was active in enforcing measures
of relief. A great improvement was consequently then effected in the
execution of temporary measures of corn relief, and some reports
indicate that this was accompanied by a better administration of the
ordinary poor law also.

Thus from Burnham in Buckinghamshire the justices report, "We have
alsoe looked into and have caused the poore to bee well provided for
in every parrish within this diuision both by stocks to sett them on
worke as alsoe by weekely contributions[585]." From several of the
hundreds of Suffolk there are similar reports. Thus in every "towne" of
Lackford and Exning the rates had been augmented and the "poorer sorte
of people within the seurall townes and places are ordered to be sett
on worke[586]." From other districts in both East and West we have like

[585] _Dom. State Papers_, James I., Vol. 143, 24.

[586] _Ib._, Vol. 142, 14, I.

[587] _Ib._, Vol. 142, 14, II.

"Wee have by our indevours taken order that the aged and ympotent
poore and maymed soldiers be sufficientlie relieved; Those of able and
sturdie bodies are provided of work." Babergh and Cosford, Suffolk;
also in Williton, Freemanors and Carhampton, Somerset: the report is
dated Mar. 20th. _Cal. of State Papers_, under May 8th, 1623.

Between the years 1605 and 1629 therefore the administration of poor
relief was on the whole negligent and in many districts the poor law
was already considered to be of little importance. The government
was however still anxious to secure its enforcement and the measures
taken to relieve distress in 1622-3 effected an improvement in a few

[Sidenote: 6. Action of the Privy Council and administration between
1629 and 1644.]

But from 1629 to 1644 we have a different state of things. We know
already that during this period the action of the Privy Council was
continuous and constant, and it is in this period therefore that we
shall be able to see how far it was effective. The justices' reports,
to which we have already often referred are the main sources of our

We will endeavour to see how far the evidence of the early part
of the period confirms the view we have already formed as to the
administration of the law at the beginning of the time, and we will
secondly try to estimate the evidence as to improvement during this

[Sidenote: 6. _a._ State of affairs in 1631.]

The condition of affairs before 1631 is indicated by the preamble to
the commission of Jan. 1631/2 and by some of the earlier reports of
1631. The reasons given for the appointment of the commission of 1631/2
are almost exactly the same as those given in the draft of 1619/20.
The justices are said as before to be negligent so that the laws were
almost obsolete in some parts of the country, and this alone shows that
there had been little permanent improvement since 1620. The preamble
also refers to an earlier time "vpon the present making of the said
lawes," when they were duly executed and thus confirms the evidence as
to the good execution of the laws after 1597[588].

[588] Add. MSS., Brit. Mus., 12496, f. 251. "Justices of Peace,
Magistrates, Officers and Ministers are now of late in most parts of
this our Kingdome growne secure in their said negligence, and the
said politique and necessarie Lawes and Statutes laid aside or little
regarded as Lawes of small use and consequence."

The justices' reports of 1631 give us more detailed information of
the same kind. One of these was sent from three of the hundreds of
Hampshire, Fawley, Bountisborough and Mainsborough. The justices say
that they sent an abstract of the act to the officials concerned and
ordered constables, tithingmen, and overseers to bring presentments to
them. But they "for the most parte" replied, "that they haue noe poore
that wanted worke or releife, that they had noe rogues but suche as
were punished." The justices thought this state of things too good to
be true; they made further enquiries and found that the highways were
out of repair, that no monthly meetings had been held by the overseers
and that there were no stocks for setting the poor to work. They also
heard that some of the poor were "in noe small want" but did not
complain because of ignorance or fear. They hoped to effect improvement
by exacting fines for negligence, by publishing the particulars of
their monthly meetings, and by sending a series of definite questions
to the overseers as to the names of the poor relieved or set to
work and of the children over ten years of age who were not bound
apprentice[589]. In this way they tried to obtain detailed statements
so that there could be no evasion of the law. There is a later report
from Fawley concerning corn and apprentices, and the part of the law
relating to apprentices was certainly then carried out[590].

[589] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 188, 85. See Appendix XII.

[590] _Ib._, 250, 11, I. The justices had met several times in
accordance with directions from the judges at the last assizes: they
had bound apprentice twenty poor children.

But there are other districts in which the justices do not tell us of
negligent officials, but rather seem proud of their vigour and yet seem
to imply that it was only recently the law had come into force. This is
particularly the case in Radnorshire and Cheshire. In two divisions of
Radnor the justices say they have appointed overseers, and have given
particular directions as to the provision of stocks and return of the
names of the poor relieved[591]. The reports suggest that the justices
were now energetic, but that little had been done before; the mention
of the appointment of overseers is unaccompanied by the word new or by
any statement as to the rendering of the accounts of the old overseers,
so that it is possible that these were the first overseers appointed in
that district.

[591] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 194, 18, II. and III.

In two of the divisions of Cheshire the same state of things is
implied more definitely. The justices say that they have ordered the
collection of a stock for the setting the poor to work and for the
relief of the impotent, but they find the people poor and averse to
paying money for any purpose of the kind. They fear some time will
elapse before these orders can be properly executed. At present these
divisions have not got a House of Correction, and the justices wish
to have one in the Castle in order that they may be able to subdue
the people to subjection[592]. These reports seem to reveal a very
primitive state of things, and recall the difficulties in the West
Riding of Yorkshire in 1597, when poor relief seems to have been first
enforced there, and the people greatly objected to the imposition of

[592] _Dom. State Papers_, Vol. 195, 21 and 31. June, 1631.

Other reports show that the Book of Orders strengthened the hands of
reformers; thus in the town of Wells, charities had been negligently
administered, but after the issue of the orders the Recorder was able
to procure information formerly withheld, and hoped to effect farther
improvement by obtaining a commission of charitable uses[593].

[593] _Ib._, Vol. 194, 19. Wells, Somerset.

It is thus fairly clear that before 1631 the law had not been well
administered. We will now examine the evidence as to the improvement
between 1631 and 1640.

[Sidenote: 6. _b._ Improvement effected in 1631 and 1632.]

The greater number of the reports of 1631 and 1632 point to some
execution of the law before 1631 and suggest improvement rather than
entire innovation. The justices generally state they have "raised
rates" or have bound many more children apprentices or that stocks had
been provided in the parishes where there were none before. Two reports
enable us to trace the process of improvement in detail, and seem to
throw considerable light on the general statements of other documents
of the kind. They do not however present so favourable a view as to
the execution of the law as most of the other returns. These reports
relate to the district of Braughing in Hertfordshire. The overseers
of thirteen places in the half hundred of Braughing made returns to
the justices at six successive monthly meetings held in accordance
with the provisions of the Book of Orders, between Feb. 7th and June
27, 1631. Abstracts of these returns were sent in by the justices
in two documents, one of which was forwarded in April and the other
in July 1631[594]. We can thus see exactly when the improvement was
effected. At the first meeting four parishes provided corn at reduced
rates for the poor. The Book of Orders relating to scarcity had been
issued since September, and we should expect some improvement would
already have been made. Six sets of overseers had already placed some
children apprentices, but not very many, and only two of the largest
places had stocks for setting the poor to work. At the last meeting
on June 27th relief was much more extensively administered. Two
other places provided corn at reduced rates: the six parishes which
formerly had placed a few apprentices now bound many more, while five
other townships also provided for the children in this manner. A much
better provision for the employment of the poor was also made. In five
places instead of two there were now stocks for this purpose and most
of the others give reasons for the want of one. In three cases we
are told there is plenty of employment, at Eastwick the inhabitants
set the poor to work, and at Westmill the general statement only is
made that the poor are relieved according to their necessities. Three
places do not provide stocks or give any reason for not doing so. We
can also see that these funds might often have disappeared, for the
ten pounds stock at Hunsdon had "decayed" to only five pounds at the
end of the period. In the district of Braughing therefore the law
was executed in the larger places before 1630 but negligently even
there. Immediately however after the receipt of the Book of Orders the
justices set themselves to work, held the monthly meetings, stimulated
the overseers, and in five months succeeded in effecting a very
considerable improvement.

[594] See Appendix XII.

This was only typical of what was going on all over the country. It is
of course impossible to quote all the reports of the period; it is
only possible to give particular cases, and to state that they are not
isolated instances, but are typical of the documents of that time. Thus
in April, 1631, we hear that meetings had been rapidly held and that
they had been partially successful, but that the justices were still in
the midst of their activity; they had done a good deal to make matters
better and were still doing more. For example in the account sent from
the New Forest the justices write "the rates for the poore where neede
most requireth wee haue caused to be rised for reliefe of the poore
people w^{th}in that part, and haue given strict order to the ouerseers
for providing necessary releife for such as are ympotent and such as
are able to sett them to worke, and haue alreadie placed many poore
children apprentizes and doe proceede in placinge of more[595]."

[595] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 188, 45.

In the returns sent later in the year the organisation appears to
be more settled and we hear that not only the rates are raised but
that they have had a good effect. Thus in Monslow in Shropshire the
justices state "and as for the late booke of orders for the reliefe
of the poore and the punishing of rogues and vagabonds wee have had
severalle monthlye meetings in the said hundred and wee have long since
worked such effect thereby as they have not any rogues or vagabonds
appeared amongst vs or walked abroade as wee can heare of since our
first meetings, and the impotent poore are relieved in such sort by
their parishoners as wee have noe complaints and there are stocks in
all parishes more or lesse as the charge of the parishes require to set
the able poore on worke[596]." Not all the reports are as favourable
as this, but on the whole they indicate that improved order followed
the execution of the Book of Orders. It thus is clear that the Orders
of 1631 had a very considerable immediate effect both in bringing the
law into operation in places where it had been almost or altogether
neglected and still more in improving the administration in those
districts in which the system was already to some extent administered
though not yet effectually.

[596] _Ib._, Vol. 194, 17, V.

[Sidenote: 6. _c._ Improvement maintained between 1631 and 1640.]

We have now to see whether this improved administration was maintained.
The reports are certainly less frequent after 1631 but those that
remain shew that the efficiency is preserved and there is much to
indicate a farther improvement.

We will first examine a few documents which seem to indicate that the
area of administration was extending into backward districts, we will
then investigate a few cases in which we have reports both in 1631 and
in 1638 or 1639, and we will lastly consider a special department of
the poor law system, namely the placing of apprentices.

We have already noted the fact that in the earlier years of the period
there were few reports from Westmoreland and Lancashire.

But in 1638 there are a series of documents from Westmoreland[597]
and several reports from Lancashire. In 1638 some of the Lancashire
parishes adopted the system of billeting the poor in need of relief on
the richer inhabitants. This plan does not seem to have long continued
as an exclusive system of relief, and the facts that it was still
employed and that these are the earliest reports from Westmoreland seem
to indicate that a compulsory system of poor relief had only lately
been established in the northern counties. Moreover in 1637 we are told
that at the meeting of the justices in Rochdale in Sept. 1637, the
churchwardens of Middleton confessed that they had never before levied
a tax for the relief of the poor there; they now however proceeded
to levy one, and in March in the following year the tax provided the
necessary relief[598]. All this seems to show that the area of the
administration of the poor law was extending and that in 1638 there was
little danger of the system of poor relief becoming obsolete but that
it was obtaining a firmer hold over the country.

[597] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 388, 7. April 18th, 1638.

[598] _Ib._, Vol. 385, 15. The want of a poor rate seems to be reported
as an unusual fact, and at Rochdale at the same time the poor rates
amounted to £340, a hundred and twenty impotent people were relieved,
and a hundred poor families assisted.

We will now examine a few of the cases in which we have reports from
the same district both in 1631 and 1638 or 1639. We have already
noted the detailed returns from Braughing. It happens that one of the
latest documents of the series returned in August 1639 comes from the
hundreds of Hertford and Braughing. The justices tell us that our
"ympotent poore are weekelie releiued by a certein pencon and the
rates increased as necessitie requires. And those of able bodies are
plentifullie stored with work for the maynteynance of their families";
five apprentices had also lately been bound[599]. From this we see that
the improved administration there lasted throughout the period.

[599] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 427, 4. Aug. 1st, 1639.

We have several other places from which we have similar reports.
Skenfreth, one of the hundreds of Monmouth, often sent accounts of the
proceedings of the justices. One belongs to May, 1631. The justices
state some of the things they did both before the Commission and
afterwards. Before the Commission they provided weekly stipends for all
the aged and impotent people, "sithence the said commission" they "have
taken order that the same stipends shalbe contineually paied soe that
none of any such poore people have made any complaint unto us for any
mainetenance." Both before and after the commission they had punished
rogues and since they had also placed apprentices and suppressed
alehouses. Moreover the highways had been last year in better condition
than for twenty years before[600].

[600] _Ib._, Vol. 192, 51. May 26, 1631.

Thus the immediate improvement effected by the commission was that
the pensions were paid as well as ordered, apprentices were bound and
alehouses suppressed.

In May, 1637, we have a report from the same district together with the
hundreds of Ragland and Trellech. At that time apprentices were bound,
rogues punished and efforts made to secure the observance of fasting
days. The justices have also "taken course for provision of stock to
sett the poore on worke," and have "caused to be sufficiently relieved
all the aged lame and ympotent people[601]." Thus if these documents
are to be believed the improvement effected in 1631 was maintained and
even increased in this hundred of Skenfreth.

[601] _Ib._, Vol. 355, 63. See also Vol. 293, No. 23.

There are many other cases in which reports are sent in several times
from the same place and all show that the improvement made in 1631 was
continued in 1637, 1638 or 1639[602].

[602] From Whittlesford, Chilford and Radfield, Cambridgeshire, April
1631, Vol. 189, 75, the justices report there are twenty-five "townes,"
and state "That the impotent poore in every towne are releeved. That
wee have put out in these three hundreds betweene six and seaven score
apprentyces. That the able poore are provyded for or sett to worke."

From the same three hundreds. July 1638. "We are certifyed by the
ouerseers for the poore that the impotent poore are relieved and the
other poore are provided of worke." Do. Vol. 395, 114.

From Freebridge Lynn, Freebridge Marshland, and Clackclose, Norfolk,
the justices, in 1631, report that the impotent were relieved, and
children were bound apprentice. Vol. 195, 47.

In July 1638, we hear from the same district, "And more particularly
wee haue taken especiall care that the statute of the 43^{th} yere of
Quene Elizabeth shold be exactlie obserued in raysing of stocks of
materialls for setting the poore of able bodyes to worke and raising
competent somes of monye for the releife of the poore and impotent and
putting forth poore children to be apprentices." Vol. 395, 32.

See also Edwinstree and Odsey, 189, 13, and 426, 73, etc.

We will now examine a few of the reports which relate especially to
the placing of apprentices. Before May 1635 the Privy Council or
the commissioners seem to have urged the justices to see especially
that this part of the law was carried out, and to have asked them to
report the names of the apprentices and those of their masters[603].
The reports sent in 1634 and 1635 therefore relate especially to the
placing of apprentices and the monthly meetings of the justices.

[603] Vol. 289, 14.

Reports from twenty-one places were sent in between July 17th and July
31st, 1634. In almost every case the justices expressly state that
they hold monthly meetings and bind poor children apprentice[604].
In the year 1635 the statements are more detailed. Between May 20th
and May 30th replies were sent from ten places in eight of which the
names of both apprentices and masters were given[605]. Sometimes
these were numerous; thus at Blandford in Dorset one hundred and
nineteen apprentices were bound in the course of two years[606]; in
one district of Somerset the names of one hundred and sixty-six are
returned[607], while in all ten districts a fair amount of work was
done. Thus in 1634 and 1635 apprenticeship was more insisted upon
than other methods of poor relief and it seems to have been very
generally well administered. We hear of some complaints but not many in
proportion to the number of reports.

[604] Vol. 272.

[605] Vol. 289.

[606] Vol. 289, No. 48.

[607] Vol. 289, No. 20. The hundreds of Whitleigh, Huntspill, Puriton,
North Petherton, Cannington and Andersfield.

We thus see that during the years 1630 to 1639 we have a large amount
of information concerning the administration of the Poor Law. We find
that a great improvement was effected in 1631. We also find that the
area of administration continued to extend into the Northern counties
after 1631: the difference is indicated by the fact that in 1638 it is
exceptional to find a place without a poor rate, whereas in 1631 the
Government spoke of the laws as being almost obsolete in many places.
We see further that sometimes the later reports come from the same
places as the earlier, and that then the administration continues to
be reported as good. Lastly, in regard to apprentices we are told that
the Privy Council made special efforts to enforce the law, and that
all over the country there is evidence that it was enforced though
occasionally without favourable results. There is thus reason to
believe that the efforts made by the central government to enforce the
law were at last successful, and that the period to which we owe the
survival of our English system of poor relief is that of the personal
government of Charles I.

But we have already noticed that not only is this period the critical
time in the history of the poor relief that survived, but in one
respect the poor relief of this period was unique. Many efforts were
made to find work for the unemployed. Relief of this kind was so much
a part of the general system of the time that we have already examined
many instances in which it was administered.

We will first investigate a few more of the reports of 1631, and
we shall find that the improvement effected in all parts of the
administration of poor relief especially concerned the relief of the
ablebodied; we will then examine a detailed report in order to see what
light it throws on the interpretation of the general statements of
other justices, and we will lastly try to find out if relief of this
kind was confined to a few districts, or was administered all over the
country, and also in what parts of the country there was the greatest
need of employment.

[Sidenote: 7. The improvement effected in 1631 especially concerned the

To begin with cases in which improvement was reported in April 1631.
From a large district of Hertfordshire we hear "we haue already raysed
a stocke in some parishes, and are raysing stocks for the rest to sett
all the poore on worke in this division[608]." In Essex, Richmond,
Bedford and Beverley fresh taxes for this purpose had just been raised,
and at Agbrigg they were still "setlinge such a course for raysinge of
stocke to sett y^e people of able bodies on work[609]."

[608] For the Liberty of St Albans and the hundred of Cashio (excepting
Rickmansworth, Watford and Sarratt), Vol. 188, 43.

[609] _Essex_, Vol. 188, 92. Poor in misery, because clothiers do
not set them to work, but the justices "did cause" the "able men of
parishes" to "raise stockes and meanes to sett their poore on worke."

_Richmond_, Vol. 189, 65. "We haue likewise given direccons for another
assessem^t to be presently made and levyed for the raising of a summe
in grosse for a stocke for the setting to worke suche as are able and
binding and putting forth apprentices w^{ch} occasions haue hitherto
beene supplyed forth of the com(m)on stocke of the towne chamber w^{th}
the making and levying of w^{ch} assessement the overseers are now in

_Bedford_, Vol. 189, 27, I.

_Beverley_, Vol. 189, 8, X. Stocks were raised for keeping the poor to
work "(viz^t) in St Maryes parish six poundes, in St Martin's parish
sewven poundes, and in St Nicholas parish six pounde, besides the
stocks they form(er)ly had." The poor were employed in spinning hemp.

_Agbrigg_, Vol. 189, 55. The justices sat at Wakefield, yesterday, for
this purpose. The letter is dated April 29, 1631.

At Winchester the same thing is implied: the stock has been put in
a clothier's hands, so that now the poor do not want work[610].
Twenty-eight reports relating not only to measures for corn, but also
for the poor were sent in between April 21st and April 30th 1631. In
seventeen of these the poor were set to work, and in many cases we can
see that the measures have been taken since the receipt of the Book of
Orders of January 1631/2[611].

[610] Vol. 188, 101. Mayor of Winchester, etc., reports to Sheriff of
Hants, "First that wee haue raised and provided a stock of money and
putt it into a clothiers hands to sett the poore people on worke that
are able to worke, and now they doe not want worke."

[611] _State Papers_, Vol. 189. We have already referred to the cases
of Whittlesford, etc. no. 75, Agbrigg no. 55, Braughing no. 80,
Edwinstree and Odsey no. 73, Essex no. 92, Richmond no. 65, Bedford no.
27, and Beverley no. 8, X. Besides these, work was provided in Shepway
(6), Doncaster (8, III.), Mansbridge, Buddlesgate and Soke, Hants.
(11), Co. Nottingham (12), Bramber (16), Clackclose, etc. Norfolk (44),
Borough of Buckingham (60), Alton, Hants. (66), the hundred of Hertford
(79), and Badbury (83). All these places sent reports between April
21st, and 30th, 1631.

In the answers sent in May we have the same kind of information.
In Brixton and Wallington we have a report similar to that from
Hertfordshire; "stockes of mony," we are told, "are raised in moste
of the parishes w^{th}in the said hundrede and burrow and the reste
not yet raised are w^{th} as much expedicon as may bee to bee raised
for buyinge of flax, hempe and other materialls to set the poore to
worke[612]." From Arundel there is a like account, "we haue caused the
taxations for the releefe of the poor to be raised in euery parish in
this time of scarsitye, and haue likewise caused stocks of mony to be
raised in euery parish to buy materialls to sett the poor a warke, and
we haue caused the Statute of Laborors to be inquired after and to be
putt in execution[613]."

[612] Vol. 190, No. 66.

[613] Vol. 191, No. 45.

We can thus see that in 1631 the justices were busy raising stocks to
provide work for the poor, and that in seventeen documents, or more
than half of the reports of the last ten days of April 1631, we are
informed that measures had been taken with this object.

[Sidenote: 8. The detailed report from Bassetlaw throws light upon the
more general statements of the justices.]

We will now examine a more detailed report relating to sixty parishes
of Bassetlaw in County Nottingham and sent in during March 1636/7[614].
In most cases information is given under four headings, first we are
told how many of the impotent poor are relieved, secondly the amount of
the town stock, thirdly how many rogues have been punished, and lastly
how many apprentices have been bound. This document is important
because it seems to indicate the number of parochial officials who
provided work for the unemployed in the district of Bassetlaw. This is
not directly stated in the report, but the overseers return the amount
of the town stock of their parish whenever a town stock existed. From
the method in which the return is made it seems that this town stock
was always used for finding employment for the able-bodied poor[615].
Other methods of dealing with those out of work are also noted, so
that it appears that in forty-five out of sixty parishes the parochial
authorities provided employment for those poor who could work. The
amount of the stock was often quite small; in one case only sixteen
shillings, but it is very possible that in this instance the parish
also was small; in another place the stock consisted of a sum of
about thirty pounds, and the average amount was about three pounds.
This document from Bassetlaw only states in detail what many of the
other reports imply, but the detail is much more convincing, and it is
confirmed by the overseers' accounts from Barnet and Elstree which we
have already examined[616]. It is perhaps worth while to notice that as
early as 1623 the justices wrote from Bassetlaw that work for the poor
was wanting, and they even then ordered that the labourers should be
set to work by the town's stock and the impotent relieved by the public

[614] Vol. 349, No. 86.

[615] The supposition that the town stock was used in Bassetlaw for
employing the poor seems almost certain for the following reasons:

(1) In the earlier entries this is often directly stated to be the
case. Thus we are told at Laneham that the "towne stocke" was used to
buy hemp "to sett such poore on worke as wante."

(2) When a town stock is reported not to exist other methods of
employing the poor are sometimes mentioned as a reason for the absence
of such a stock, and thus it is implied that a town stock when it
existed was used for this purpose. Thus for example at Grove they have
"no towne stock in regard, theire poore are otherwise sett on worke;"
at Egmonton "Towne stock they haue none because they imploy theire
poore in other worke as they wante;" while at Laxton cum Morehouse
there was no stock because those who wanted work were otherwise
employed "by the towne."

(3) There is an earlier report from Bassetlaw sent in on July 29th,
1636. This report relates to fewer places, but in some respects is
fuller. In eleven cases where only the amount of the stock is noted in
1637, the fact that it was employed to provide work is directly stated
in 1636. Thus for example the following entries occur:

Askham. "Five marks stocke to sett the poore on worke." (20 marks 1637.)

Kirton. "Tenn pounds in Towne stocke wherew^{th} the poore are sett on
worke and two new howses built for them."

Clarebrough (Clarborough). "They have iii^{li} vi^s viii^d towarde
releiueing the poore and setting the(m) on worke."

Misterton cu(m) Stockw^{th} (Stockwith). "That their Towne stocke is
Tenn pounds towards setting their poore on worke and releiveing them."

East Markham. "And that they haue 5^{li} in stocke to sett the poore on
worke." (£7 in 1637.)

Bole. "5^{li} Towne stocke w^{ch} is imployed to sett poore on worke."

Warsopp (Warsop). "They haue in Towne stocke to sett their poore on
worke xi^{li} iiij^s." (£11 in 1637.)

Cuckney. "They have tenn pounds Towne stocke to sett their poore on
worke." (£7 in 1637.)

Carberton (Carburton). "They haue in Stocke to maintain their poore in
worke fifty shillings." (40_s._ in 1637.)

Mattersey. "They haue 5^{li} towne stocke to sett their poore on
worke." (£10 in 1637.)

Eakring. "Tenn pounds in Towne stocke w^{ch} is putt out for vse of
the poore. And the 7^{th} of June the(y) (the overseers) certifie
that they haue raysed xx^s stocke to sett poore on worke and giue
weekely allowance to six poore people," besides 40^s. more for placing

In these eleven cases therefore the town stock was certainly used
for employing the poor. In four other instances, however, a general
statement is made as to the use of the stock which perhaps indicates
that the whole of the stock was not always employed entirely for one
purpose. Thus for example at Eaton £2. 6_s._ 8_d._ was "in stocke for
such poore as should neede." However in no case do these statements
contradict the supposition that the town stock in this district was
partially used for finding employment for the poor, and the direct
statement of the 1636 report in these eleven cases is strong evidence
that in the remaining nine places the stock was used in the same

[616] See _supra_, p. 182.

[617] _D. S. P._, James I., Vol. 140, 10. I.

[Sidenote: 9. Local variations in the provision for the unemployed.]

[Sidenote: _a._ Not so extensive in the parts North of the Humber and
in the extreme West.]

We have now to try to find out if it was only in a few counties that
work was found for the unemployed, or if it was all over England. We
have already noted that in the counties north of the Humber, and in the
three western counties of Devonshire, Cornwall, and Wiltshire the poor
law was apparently less well administered than in other parts of the
country. In these counties with the exception of Yorkshire therefore
there are few instances in which stocks are found for providing work
for the unemployed. We hear however that in Ashton-under-Line there
existed a "small stocke of money which is disposed on for the setting
of poore to worke[618]". Moreover, in two Yorkshire reports of 1635 it
is stated that the justices have been "verie carefull to raise stockes
for setting ou^r poore on worke[619]." There are other Yorkshire
returns containing information of the same kind, but still the plan of
finding work for the unemployed of the North seems to be comparatively

[618] _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 395, 106. In the same report it is
stated that Oldham could not afford to raise a stock.

[619] _Ib._, Vol. 293, 122 and 129. The quotation is from a report from
Ryedale signed by Lord Fairfax; the other document, in which almost
exactly the same words occur is from Buckrose in the East Riding.

[620] Although the fact that the poor were employed in Devon and
Wilts is not recorded in any of the justices' reports which have been
preserved, we hear from other sources that work was found for the poor
in some places in those counties. Thus the following memorandum refers
to an attempt to establish a workhouse in Plymouth; it is to be found
among the municipal records in that town. "In the name of god the 28th
of September an^o 1610 A note of provisio^{ns} delivred into y^e Castle
for the pore to thende they maye be there placed & sett on work, w^ch
is but abeginninge for a fewe & a tryall thereof the w^ch I praie god
continewe and augment to his glorye & their comfort.

         Imprimis      2 bedsteads

         *       *       *       *       *

  5 twines      2 paire of wollen cards" &c.

Two years later £20 was bequeathed by W. Lawrence "to the stocke
to sett y^e poor to worke," and early in the reign of Charles I. a
"workehowse for the setting of the poore on worke" has been lately
built and the overseers paid the corporation £9. 12_s._ for the rent
of the three tenements which formerly had existed on the site. R. N.
Worth, _Plymouth Municipal Records_, pp. 156 and 257, and _Hist. of
Plymouth_, p. 273.

In Marlborough also there was certainly a workhouse, for a petition was
presented to the Privy Council in the name of the Mayor and burgesses
concerning John Thorner, an Attorney-at-Law, who "was rated among
others to pay 52/- towards the erecting of a workhouse and raising
of a stock for the employment of the poore that are able and willing
to worke to be paid at three general payments whereof one is already
passed at our Lady day last." Thorner had refused to pay his rate,
"saying that it was against the law," and had encouraged others not
to pay, so "that manie of the inhabitants there made refusall also to
pay their proportion." The Privy Council referred the matters to the
judges, and in the mean time the rate was to be paid. _Privy Council
Register_, 13th May, 1631.

But with regard to the rest of England this is not the case. In
every county except Northampton some justices state that they have
found employment for the poor. As we might expect this was done most
frequently in the towns and in the manufacturing counties, both because
in these places there were more rich people and because there were also
more unemployed owing to the greater fluctuations of trade.

[Sidenote: 9 _b_. Provision of work more necessary in the towns than in
the country.]

A report from Reading and Theale illustrates this: "Wee finde that the
able poore in boddy to worke and w^{ch} are in country villages and
hambletts haue theire ymploymt in husbondrie and by that meanes are
mayntayned; other lyen in such countrie townes, populer, incorporate,
where heretofore multitudes of such able persons haue lived by worke
from the clothier, now through the defect and decaye of that trade and
soe consequently of the clothier, thousands of these poore formerlie
relieved by worke liue in much want and could hardlie subsist this
deere yeare did not many extend theire charity even beyond their
meanes[621]." Newbury and Abingdon were also towns in the same
neighbourhood subject to similar conditions, and we know already that
workhouses were founded in both these places and in Reading itself
also[622]. Shrewsbury and Hereford are fair examples of more westernly
towns. At Shrewsbury the justices report in June 1631 that they "are
aboute a course to sett all the poore on worke within our Towne
and Libertyes[623]," and in 1638 an order was made for regulating
a workhouse there[624]. About the same time the Mayor of Hereford
records that "there is a colleccon made in euerie severall parish
w^{th}in the said Cyttie, and competent somes raysed for to releive
the impotent and needy, and a stocke for the setting of poore able
people to worke and for the placeing of youth apprentices[625]." Other
magistrates report in like manner: thus in the rape of Hastings they
have caused the officers "as much as in them lyeth to see the said
poore inhabitants bee duely kept to worke and haue fitting materialls
provided for them[626]." In the hundred of Hertford the justices state
in 1631 that the more populous places have already raised stocks of
money to set the poor to work, and that they are still trying to induce
all the others to do so though a few are not rich enough to bear the
necessary taxation[627]. From St Albans, Reigate, Ipswich, Maidstone,
Lynn, and Norwich, as well as from more inland towns we have similar
information: the magistrates of Bedford write that "we haue raysed
divers extraordenary taxes for the reliefe of our poore and settinge
them on worke and therby they are set to worke[628]." But perhaps the
Buckingham report indicates the most thorough organisation. There the
poor had been visited apparently in the same way as at Norwich. Five
hundred people were examined; the age and occupation of each were
noted, and whether they had work or not. Afterwards employment was
provided for those who needed it and we are told that the poor "of good
disposicon are glad they are thus settled w^{th}out begging and settle
themselves seriouslie to their labo^r." This good result however was
not obtained without complaints from the ratepayers[629].

[621] _Dom. State Papers_, Vol. 191, 40. II.

[622] See above.

[623] _D. S. P._ Vol. 194, 17. III. 14th June.

[624] The orders of the corporation of Shrewsbury, "That a stock be
raised for setting the poor on work and the Castle be repaired and
imployed for that purpose." _Shropshire Archæological Journal_, XI. p.

[625] _D. S. P._, Vol. 194, 41. II. See below for Shaftesbury,
Leominster, Gloucester, Banbury, Abergavenny, &c.

[626] _Dom. State Papers_, Vol. 188, 34.

[627] _Ib._, Vol. 189, 79.

[628] _Ib._, Vol. 189, 27.

[629] _Ib._, Vol. 189, 60, and 187, 2.

In the country districts also employment seems to have been provided
as well as in the towns whenever the poor suffered much from the want
of work. In the western counties, however, there were few complaints
of lack of employment, except from the cloth-workers when the trade
in cloth was slack. Some justices expressly state that there is no
want of work in their part of the country. Thus from a large district
of Somerset we hear that there are "none lefte unplaced but such as
doe mainetaine their charge by their labor[630]." Therefore, as we
should expect, in many reports from the West nothing is said about
finding employment for the able-bodied poor. There are, however, also
a fair number of cases in which work is said to be provided. This is
especially the case in the counties of Shropshire and Stafford; thus
from Staffordshire three reports were sent in 1634, and in all three we
are told that the poor were set to work[631]. Moreover, the Worcester
justices write that "wee are carefull ... that the able poore bee
well provided of worke[632]" and in almost all[633] the other western
counties, at least one instance of the kind is reported[634].

[630] Vol. 192, 48. Hundreds of Whitley, North Petherton, Cannington,
Andersfield, Huntspill and Puriton. See also Vol. 289, 57. Unnamed
division of Somerset, "The poore are well set on worke as farre as we
doe or have taken knowledge of by our best enquiryes."

[631] _Dom. State Papers_, Vol. 272, 61, July 25th, 1634. Pirehill, co.
Stafford. "And we haue and doe take course to provide for and to sett
on worke the poore of the several parishes within the said hundred."

_Ib._, Vol. 272, No. 65. Offlow. "We caused poore people to be sett on

_Ib._, Vol. 272, No. 66. Totmonslow. We "further haue takein course to
provide for and sett on worke the poore of the severall parishes."

[632] Limits of Worcester, _Ib._, Vol. 349, 73, 9th Mar. 1636/7.

[633] The exceptions are Devon, Wilts, and Cornwall. See note above.

[634] This question is so much one of detail that it is perhaps worth
while to refer to one justice's report from almost every western
county, some from towns, and some from the country:

1. _Berks._ June 1631. Abingdon. _Ib._, Vol. 195, 7. "We haue erected
in our borough a workehouse to sett poore people to worke."

2. _Cheshire._ Edisbury, June 29th, 1631. Vol. 195, 21. The justices
order "stockes of money and wares" to be raised, but find the people
averse to find money for any such purpose.

3. _Derby._ Appletree. 185, 41. Feb. 1630/1. See below.

4. _Dorset._ Shaftesbury. 188, 67. April 1631. "Haue made provision
and taken orders for settinge to worke of such idle persons and poore
people as are of able bodies and strength to bee ymployed in trades and

5. _Gloucester._ June 1631. Vol. 194, No. 11, I. Gloucester. "For
those that are of abillitie to worke we haue provided them meanes to
sett them on w(orke) soe they may lyve by their labor w^{th}out beinge
further chargable to others."

6. _Hants._ Kingclere. Nov. 1633. Vol. 250, 11, IV. "The justices"
have taken order that such as are able to worke are imployed in their
several parishes."

7. _Hereford._ Leominster. June 1631. Vol. 194, 41, III. "Item the
poore are provided for and such kept at work that are able to work."

8. _Monmouth._ Ragland. July 3rd, 1634. Vol. 271, 17. The justices
since the commission have levied sums of money in every parish and
township to buy "woole, flaxe and other necessaries towards the setting
of poore to woorke."

9. _Oxford._ J. Ps. for co. Oxford, Vol. 188, 96. April 19, 1630. Have
not omitted to provide "stockes" to "sett able poore on worke."

10. _Shropshire._ Bishop's Castle. Vol. 223, 39. 3rd Oct. 1632. "Here
is herin but one church wherin are churchwardens, ouerseers of the
poore duely elected and nominated; and monthly now we meete and we take
order for mayntenance of the poore by setting the able to work and
relief of the impotent."

11. _Somerset._ Frome, Kilmerston, Wellow and the adjoining districts.
Vol. 185, 40. Feb. 1630/1. The justices have seen to the relief of the
poor and setting them to work.

12. _Warwick._ Knightlow. Vol. 199, 65. 13 Sept. 1631. "The Constables,
Churchwardens and Ouerseers for the poore in the rest of the townes
in theis two divisions doe certfie vs that all ys well ... the poore
are sett on worke and releiued and wee heare noe complaints to the

[Sidenote: (_d_) Provision of work in many districts in most counties of
the east.]

But in the east and south-east there was at any rate sometimes a
chronic want of employment, and consequently numerous efforts to
provide for the able-bodied poor. In the country round Hitchen we are
told, as in the Reading district, that it is the poor in the town
that are distressed, but in the hamlets the farmers find work for the
inhabitants. The justices say they have no manufacture, and they do
not know how to find a remedy for the people in the town. At one time
they make the richer people employ the poor, but they do not find the
experiment successful[635]. We have also an account of a permanent want
of employment in a large district of Norfolk. In the hundreds of South
Greenhoe, Wayland, and Grimshoe provision had been made by raising a
stock to set the able-bodied poor to work, and besides the magistrates
write, "Wee have manie young people w^{ch} live out of service by
reason of the multitude of them, there not being services for them, but
worke is provided for them in their seuerall parishes[636]."

[635] _D. S. P._, Vol. 427, 3. 1st Aug. 1639, Vol. 385, 43, and 349, 70.

[636] _Ib._, Vol. 385, 27. March 5, 1637/8.

There are very many reports of stocks for the provision of work in
other country districts of the east. In Hertfordshire, Suffolk,
Norfolk, and Cambridge there is much to make us think the system was
nearly general[637], and in each of the other eastern counties there
are many cases of the kind.

[637] _Herts._ Edwinstree and Odsey. _Ib._, Vol. 426, 73. July 29,
1639. The justices "haue directed stocks of money to be raised where
need is to sett the poore on worke." See also above for hundreds of
Hertford and Braughing, St Albans borough, and liberty of St Albans.

_Suffolk._ Hartismere. Vol. 349, 12. March 1636/7. "Those who are able
to worke and cannot provide worke for themselues are sett to worke."

Cosford. Vol. 395, 35. July, 1638. The justices have "bin careful for
the setting of poore people work," etc.

Hundreds of Loes, Wilford, Thredling and Plomesgate. 13th July, 1638.
Vol. 395, No. 55. See App. XII.

Also Hundreds of Carlford and Colneis. Vol. 395, 62. July, 1638, and
Ipswich, Vol. 195, 45.

_Norfolk._ South Erpingham and Eynsford. July, 1638. Vol. 395, 90. The
justices have "taken care ... for the employment of the able," &c.

Division not mentioned. July, 1634. "We haue caused stockes to be
raysed in the severall parishes of our limitts to sett the poore beinge
able of bodye to worke." Vol. 272, 60.

For Freebridge Lynn, Freebridge Marshland and Clackclose; South
Greenhoe, Wayland, and Grimshoe; and also Lynn, see above.

_Cambridge._ Hundreds of Cheveley, Staploe, Staine and Flendish
(formerly all in Cambs.), "Item wee find upon our inquiry that the
seuerall towne Stockes within o^r diuision are orderly imployed and
accounted for and the poore of the seueral parishes sett one worke and
imployed therin according to the Lawe." Vol. 285, 99. March, 1635.
Chesterton, Papworth and North Stowe. 216, 45. See App. XII. Radfield,
Chilford and Whittlesford. Vol. 395, 114, and Cambridge borough. See

In a district of Middlesex the unemployed were sent to fight for
Gustavus Adolphus[638], but in most parishes materials were provided
for them to work up. Thus in several hundreds in Kent "stocks of
materialls" were provided in every parish[639]; in Nottinghamshire
those out of service and able to work were set to work "on the towne
stock[640]," while at Horncastle sessions, in Lincolnshire, the
justices take "special care ... that the abler sort bee constantly
sett on worke by the stocke of the parishe[641]." Sometimes the sum
expended was very considerable if we take into account the great
difference in the value of money. Thus in Wallington, Surrey, more than
£120 was used for providing work, while nearly fifty pounds remained
in hand[642]. On the whole therefore in the eastern counties, between
1631 and 1640, it seems that considerable sums of money were raised and
employed in most districts[643] with the object of setting to work the
able-bodied poor.

[638] 24th Oct. 1631. _Ib._, Vol. 202, 20. Report for Clerkenwell,
S^t Sepulchre, S^t Giles, Islington, Finchley, Friarne, etc. "There
is alsoe in the house of Correccon a manufacture prepared and by a
charitable stocke of a hundred pounds given by S^r John Fenner Knight
nowe in readynes an Artizan, who hath Articled and agreed w^{th} vs to
take, instructe & bringe vp in the saide manufacture as apprentices
twenty poore orphans boyes and Girles such as before wandred in the
streetes and weare readie to perishe for wante of imployment." "Many
idle and loose persons haue byn lately imployed and sent to serue under
his ma^{tie} of Sweden and such others as are taken up in watches or
Privie Searches w^{th}in o^r division are continually settled in some
course of life or sent to the howse of Correccon." See also Appendix

[639] Ruxley, Little, Lesnex, Axton, and the vill of Dartford and
Wilmington. _D. S. P._, Chas. I., Vol. 220, 14. July 4th, 1632.

[640] _Ib._, Vol. 272, 40. July, 1634.

[641] _Ib._, Vol. 349, 113. March, 1636/7.

[642] _D. S. P._, Vol. 315, 25. March, 1635.

  "Item. Money disbursed      }
  to set the poore on woorke. }                                cxxii^{li} iijs.

  Itm. Moneys in stocke for the settinge of the poore to worke.  xxxxvii^{li}."

[643] The following are instances in which work for the poor was
provided in some district in every other eastern county:

_Sussex._ Rape of Bramber. _Ib._, Vol. 189, 16. April, 1631. The
justices "haue compelled some that misspent their tyme to fall to labor
and haue provided worke for them and others that alleaged they wanted

_Bedford._ See above.

_Bucks._ Boro' of Buckingham. Vol. 201, 13. 3rd Oct., 1631. "Our poore
are kept to work and o^r stock is still going, wee have noe poore that
begg." Oct. 3rd, 1631. See above also.

_Essex._ Vol. 188, 92. April, 1631. Great want of work; the justices
"haue not only delt w^{th} the able men of parishes to prouide and laie
in corne for prouision of the poore at under-rates but did cause them
to raise stockes and meanes to sett their poore on worke."

_Hunts._ Hundred of Hurstington. Vol. 329, 83. 1636. Signed by Sir
Oliver Cromwell, H. Cromwell and Robert Audeley. The justices called
before them the overseers of the poor and caused them "to render vs
an accompt what stocks of money haue beene raysed for settinge the
poore on worke and howe the poore haue beene releiued. Whoe haue made
it appear before vs that the statute in this case hath beene duely
obserued throughout the said hundred."

_Leicester._ West Goscote. Vol. 349, 35. March, 1636/7. The justices
relieve and set to work poor people, punish rogues, and put all
instructions of the Book of orders into execution, "w^{ch} course wee
finde very beneficiall and much conducinge to the generall quiett and
goode of the countrey and wee therefore w^{th} more cheerefullnes
addresse ourselues thereunto."

_Lincolnshire._ Horncastle Sessions. Vol. 349, 113. 14th March, 1636/7.
The justices "haue taken speciall care ... that the abler sorte bee
constantly sett on worke by the stocke of the parishe."

_Rutland._ Vol. 185, 55. Feb., 1630/1. The justices state that "order
is taken (according to lawe) for reliefe and setting to worke of poore
and impotent people."

[Sidenote: 10. Summary.]

We have thus seen that in 1631 the improvement in the administration
of poor relief concerned especially the relief of the able-bodied
poor, and we have noted many instances in which taxes were raised for
this purpose at that time. We have also examined a detailed report
from a particular district in the county of Nottingham in which in
forty-five out of sixty parishes some provision seems to have been made
for finding employment for the poor. Moreover, we find that the plan
of providing work for the unemployed was reported from some district
of every county south of the Humber except Cornwall, Northampton,
Devon, and Wilts; and in Devon and Wilts also the same plan was tried,
although no report of the justices has been preserved. This form of
poor relief thus seems to have been frequently in use in the towns
of both east and west, and in the country districts of the eastern
counties also. It was not quite so general in the country districts of
the west, but still was not infrequent even there.

We may, therefore, say that from 1631 to 1640 we had more poor relief
in England than we ever had before or since. We shall try to estimate
later how far this system was successful. But we will now see what
happened to the organisation of English poor relief during the Civil
War. We will also trace the history of poor relief in France and
Scotland during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in order that
we may see that the history of poor relief in England is unique.



  § 1. Lax administration of poor relief in England during the years of
Civil War.
     _a._ Decline of charitable institutions.
     _b._ Neglect in execution of ordinary law.
     _c._ Instances of corrupt practices.
  § 2. Attempts to regain a good organisation of poor relief under the
  § 3. Reasons why disorganisation especially affected the provision of
work for the unemployed.
  § 4. State of poor relief after the Restoration.
  § 5. Reasons for failure under the Commonwealth to restore the old
state of things.
  § 6. History of legislation on poor relief in Scotland,
     _a._ Before 1597.
     _b._ Between 1597-1680.
  § 7. Failure of administration of poor relief in Scotland during the
seventeenth century.
    _a._ Responses of the Scotch justices to the orders of Council in
1623 show that they were unable or unwilling to enforce the poor law
themselves and left it to the kirk sessions.
    _b._ Inadequate poor relief granted by the kirk sessions of Banff.
    _c._ Relief of the poor in Aberdeen shows that the relief considered
sufficient by the municipal rulers was double that which could be
granted from the funds at the disposal of the kirk sessions.
    _d._ Infrequency of assessment in Scotland before 1818.
    _e._ Insufficiency of relief during the years 1692-1699.
    _f._ Prevalence of begging in Scotland.
    _g._ Reasons for the failure of Scotch administration.
 § 8. The history of poor relief in France.
 § 9. Comparison between the history of poor relief in England and that
in France and Scotland.

The histories of poor relief in England after the Civil War, and
in France and in Scotland throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, both compare and contrast with the history of English
poor relief in the period from 1529 to 1644. While in each of these
cases like circumstances produced similar attempts to afford relief,
in none did both an energetic Privy Council and a vigorous system of
local officials coexist, and consequently in each case poor laws were
in existence but were badly administered. The course of events in all
these instances will therefore confirm the view that the survival of
the English system of poor relief is owing to the organisation which
was enforced by the English justices and was created by the Book of
Orders of 1631.

In England the justices' reports concerning the administration of the
poor cease after the year 1639. After that date either no more reports
were sent or no care was taken to preserve them. The cessation of
these documents probably marks the time when the system created by the
Book of Orders began to disappear. Other and more pressing matters
engaged the attention of the Privy Council, and were subjects for
the special inquiries of the judges of assize. The justices devoted
their zeal and attention to raising troops or to meeting the great
demands in money made by both King and Parliament, while constables and
overseers were used as collectors, not only of funds for the relief of
the poor, but also of the revenues needed by the armies[644]. Under
these circumstances the system created by the Book of Orders fell
to pieces, and the whole administration of poor relief became lax.
Still the effect of the execution of the Book of Orders remained. For
nine years the overseers had been drilled by the justices, and the
parishioners had been compelled to pay rates. The inhabitants had
become accustomed to the organisation, and that part of it continued
which was most easily enforced by the overseers, and which seemed to
them most urgently necessary. The impotent were still relieved, and
children were still apprenticed, though less efficiently than before,
but the able-bodied poor were no longer found with work, except in a
few isolated cases.

[644] The Collectors responsible to Parliament for the gathering of the
subsidies for the war were the overseers and petty constables in each

We will first examine part of the evidence bearing upon the lax
administration of the whole system of poor relief and some of the
efforts which were made under the Commonwealth to restore the old state
of things. Sometimes we hear of the disorganisation of semi-voluntary
charities; at other times of the bad administration of the laws for
the poor; occasionally of fraudulent practices in connection with
charitable endowments.

[Sidenote: 1. Lax administration of system of Poor Relief in England
during the years of the Civil War.

_a._ Decline of charitable institutions.]

The four royal hospitals of London are the most conspicuous instances
of charities which were under public management, but only partly
supported by public contributions. We get from them several complaints
of a partial break-down owing to the Civil War, and the figures
furnished by the Governors speak for themselves. In 1641 there were
over nine hundred children in Christ's Hospital, in 1647 there were
only five hundred and ninety-seven; at Thomas's Hospital, in 1641,
over a thousand patients were relieved, and in 1647 only six hundred
and eighty-two; at St Bartholomew's and Bridewell the numbers had
also decreased[645]. The Governors of Christ's Hospital give us their
estimate of the reasons for this. We are told that "in respect of
the troubles of the times, the meanes of the said Hospital hath very
much failed for want of charitable Benevolences which formerly have
beene given, and are now ceased; and very few legacies are now given
to hospitals, the rents and revenues thereunto belonging being also
very ill paid by the tenants, who are not able to hold their leases by
reason of their quartering and billetting of soldiers and the taking
away of their corne and cattell from them[646]." A few years later
the billeting had apparently ceased, but the tenants then suffered
"by reason of the severall charges and taxes laid upon them[647]."
Even in 1653 we are informed that the revenues of Christ's Hospital
"hath divers wayes fallen very short of means formerly received, viz.
heretofore many have given monies privateley, others very bountifull
at their deaths. And several parishes in London have sent in large
contributions and now but one that sends anything at all[648]."
The Civil War had reduced many of the richer classes to poverty,
and probably most institutions which were maintained by private
contributions would suffer in the same manner as Christ's Hospital in

[645] The Reports of the Four Royal Hospitals for 1641 and 1647.
_King's Pamphlets_, Brit. Mus. 669, f. 4, No. 5, and f. 11, No. 5.

In 1641 there had been 1002 patients in St Bartholomew's, and 711
vagrants in Bridewell.

In 1647 there had been 901 in St Bartholomew's and 575 vagrants in

[646] Report of the Four Royal Hospitals for 1645. _King's Pamphlets_,
British Museum, 669, f. 10, No. 26. Similar reasons are also alleged in
the report of 1644. _Ib._, No. 2.

[647] _Ib._, 1649, 669, f. 14, No. 11.

[648] _King's Pamphlets_, 1653, 669, f. 16, No. 94.

[Sidenote: 1 _b._ Neglect in execution of ordinary law.]

There are also complaints and instances of the bad administration of
the ordinary law. One of these is contained in the ordinance of the
Lords of 1646/7. The Lord Mayor in the City and the justices and judges
in the country are to put in execution the laws concerning the poor
and rogues, because "by reason of the unhappy distractions of these
times the putting of the Lawes into execution have been altogether

[649] "An Order for putting in execution the laws against vagabonds
made by the Lords in Parliament assembled." _King's Pamphlets_, 669, f.
9, No. 81, Mar. 5th, 1646/7. See also an Act of the Commons of England
in Parliament assembled for the relief and employment of the poor and
the punishing of vagrants, 1650.

Numerous resolutions tell us that the state of the London streets had
become almost unbearable. The vagrants hung on coaches and begged
clamorously at the doors of churches and private houses[650]: moreover
not only did men gather in tumultuous assemblies "by playing at
football or otherwise," but many "loose and vagrant persons" also had
been found to wander, who, "under colour of begging in the day time,"
did pilfer and steal, and in the night time "did break into houses and
shops to the scandall of the governmente of this City[651]."

[650] Order issued "By the Mayor," 1655. _King's Pamphlets_, 669,
f. 20, No. 21. "Whereas by neglect of executing the good lawes and
statutes against rogues, vagabonds and sturdy beggars, that vermine of
the Commonwealth doth now swarme in and about this City and Liberties
disturbing and annoying the inhabitants and passengers, by hanging upon
Coaches, and clamorous begging at the doores of Churches and private
Houses and in the streets and Common Wayes; beguiling the modest
laborious and honest poore (the proper objects of charity) of much
reliefe and alms etc." 23rd Jan., 1655/6.

[651] "By the Mayor." Lord Mayor's Proclamations, No. 18.

In 1652 several resolutions were passed by Parliament on the matter,
and a committee was appointed to consider how the poor might be
employed, to revive the laws concerning the poor and setting them to
work, and "to consider by what means or default the same are become
ineffectual or are not put in execution[652]."

[652] _Votes of Parliament, Tuesday the seven and twentieth of April,
1652_, "For setting the Poor on work and for preventing of Common
Begging." _King's Pamphlets_, 669, f. 16, No. 49.

These resolutions and these complaints at once show that the
administration had become lax, and that there had formerly been a time
in which these laws had "not become ineffectual," and were put in

[Sidenote: 1 _c_. Instances of corrupt practices.]

There are other cases in which there seems to have been evidence
of corruption. The Chester Hospital, we are told, had been much
neglected[653]; in 1653 we hear also that persons counterfeited the
Letters Patent and orders of the Council of State for licenses to
collect money for charitable purposes, so that people were cheated,
and it was necessary to pass a special resolution of Parliament on the
subject[654]. A curious instance of corruption in the administration
of charitable funds appears at Barnstaple. Many sums of money had been
bequeathed there as elsewhere for the purpose of enabling a young
craftsman or trader to set up business on his own account. Some time
before the war the town rulers found it difficult to find young men
who could furnish good security, and so lent part of the money to more
prosperous manufacturers, who, they said, set the poor inhabitants to
work. But in 1653 the money was altogether misapplied; the Corporation
bought some gold maces, found they had no funds to pay for them, and so
ordered the debt to be paid with this endowment[655]. Apparently the
money was never paid back, for payments on account of it cease after
this time.

[653] _Calendar of State Papers_, Dec. 22, 1657.

[654] _Ib._, Sept. 9, 1653. The order is to the effect that the Council
of State is to take care to suppress and prevent the like abuse in the

[655] Barnstaple Records, _North Devon Herald_, April 22, 1880.

Any one of these instances of fraud and neglect might have occurred at
any time, but so many receive official notice when peace was restored
that they must have occurred more frequently during the war than at
other times. A letter of this period seems to indicate the opinion of
contemporaries: "You speak of feasts to relieve the poor, but it is
well if the money left long since for the poor be given to them and not
to feasts[656]."

[656] _Calendar of State Papers_, Aug. 12, 1658.

[Sidenote: 2. Attempts to regain a good organisation of poor relief
under the Commonwealth.]

As soon as the Commonwealth was fairly well established many efforts
were made to relieve the poor of London. As early as 1647 a new
organisation was established, named the Corporation of the Poor, which
was empowered to erect workhouses and Houses of Correction[657].
Something seems to have been done by the members of this body. The
store-house situated in the Minories and the Wardrobe-house were
granted to them, and here orphans were maintained and many hundred of
poor families were employed and relieved by the Corporation by spinning
and weaving, "and," they tell us, "whosoever doth repair, either to the
Wardrobe near Blackfriars, or to Heiden House in the Minories, may have
Materials of Flax, Hemp or Towe to spin at their own houses if it be
desired, leaving so much money as the said Materials cost, until it be
brought again in Yarn; at which time they shall receive money for their
work and more Materials to imploy them; so that a stock of 12_d._ or
14_d._ will be a sufficient security for any that will be imployed; and
every one is paid according to the fineness or coursness in the Yarn
they spin: there being a certain rule of Length and Tale to pay every
one by, so that none are necessitated to live idly, that are desirous
or willing to work[658]."

[657] _An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament
for the constant reliefe and Imployment of the Poore and the Punishment
of Vagrants and other disorderly persons in the City of London. 17 Dec.

[658] Note to song "Poor Outcast Children's Song and Cry" published
1653. _King's Pamphlets_, 669, f. 16-95.

But the President and Corporation of the Poor were soon hindered
in their work by want of funds, and were not at all successful
in maintaining order in the London streets[659]. Their greatest
difficulty seems to have been in 1656, and they try an interesting
experiment. Many pamphlets of this century concern the fishing trade
and were written to urge the English to keep it from the Dutch. Some of
the writers consider the fitting out of fishing-boats the best means of
setting the poor of the nation to work[660]. The plan now was actually
attempted; three busses or fishing smacks were taken from the Dutch and
granted to this Corporation for the purpose of employing the poor[661].

[659] Resolutions of Common Council, 6th March, 1656, and 1st April,
1657. Lord Mayor's Proclamation Book, Nos. 14 and 17. The first
resolution sets forth the fact that the Corporation have not funds
sufficient for employing the constables necessary for clearing the
streets; a special rate was to be levied to assist them.

[660] _Britaine's Busse_, 1615. Eden, I., p. 148, and _Provision for
the Poore_, 1649. _King's Pamphlets_, 669, f. 14.

[661] _Calendar of State Papers_, Sept. 2, 1652.

But still the help given was but small; several committees were
appointed by the Council of State, but few decisions were reached;
the measures of relief only concerned London and not the whole of the
country, and even in London comparatively little was accomplished. In
spite of the new orphanage at the Wardrobe few children were educated
there, probably because no money could be got. The hymn sung by the
children implores Parliament to redress the matter:

    "Grave Senators that sit on high
    Let not poor English Children die
    And droop on Dunghils with lamenting notes;
    An Act for Poor's Relief they say
    Is coming forth; why's this delay?
    O let not Dutch, Danes, Devils stop those

[662] Poor Outcast Children's Song and Cry. _King's Pamphlets_, 669, f.

The work of the Corporation of the Poor continued, but it never
seems to have been great or to have grappled seriously even with
the London poor. In the rest of the country there was probably the
same disorganisation, and less attempt to remedy matters. At Great
Yarmouth the burgesses apparently thought that the spoils of Norwich
Cathedral might be used for the purpose: they petitioned Parliament
to "be pleased to grant vs such a part of the lead and other vseful
materialls of that vast and altogether vseles Cathedrall in Norwich
towardes building of a works house to employ our almost sterued poore
and repairing our peeres etc.[663]"

[663] _Hist. Man. Com. Rep._, IX. App. p. 320. Part of the proceeds of
Lichfield Cathedral seem actually to have been granted to the poor of
Stafford, though the poor had not received any benefit from the grant
because the money had remained in private hands. We are told that
the House of Correction at Stafford was much defaced, though it had
formerly been used as a place "to set the poor on work." _Cal. of State
Papers._ Feb. 17, 1654. Here we can see the process of disorganisation.
The place had been used for the unemployed, but fell into decay during
the war; attempts were made to restore it under the Commonwealth, but
so far they were not successful.

[Sidenote: 3. Reasons why disorganisation especially affected the
provision of work for the unemployed.]

There were many reasons why this disorganisation should especially
affect the plans for the employment of the able-bodied poor.

Even if efforts for this purpose had been much needed after the
outbreak of the Civil War it is probable that they would have been
less enforced than other parts of the system of poor relief. We see
from the justices' reports that schemes of this kind were not usually
undertaken, except under pressure from the justices. The privation
of the helpless old and young appealed far more to the sympathy of
overseers and ratepayers than the needs of the able-bodied poor.
Besides it was far easier to grant pensions than to superintend work
and supply materials.

But a far stronger reason existed for the discontinuance of the
parochial stocks for employing the poor. The necessities of the war
made enormous demands upon the able-bodied males of the population.
The Parliamentary army was recruited from the men above the age of
sixteen and below the age of sixty. An attempt has been made to make
a rough estimate of the proportion of Hertfordshire men drawn away by
the war. If in 1642 the population of Hertfordshire was about one-sixth
of that of the present time it would amount to about 36,000 men, women
and children, and this would mean about 9,000 men of an age fit for
active service. But in the summer of 1644 apparently between four and
five thousand Hertfordshire men were serving in the Parliamentary army
and others with the Royalists, so that a large portion of the work of
the country would necessarily have to be done by women, old men and

[664] A. Kingston, _Herts. during the Great Civil War_, p. 182.

This calculation is very rough, but it probably approximates to the
truth. We hear from the complaints of the time that much inconvenience
was felt. In 1644 the Grand Jury of Hertford Quarter Sessions beg that
"in regard their harvest is at hand and their labourers few to gather
it, some part of their soldiers ... may be for a while recalled to
assist herein." The Committee of the Eastern counties about the same
time write that they have promised that some of the Hertfordshire men
shall return "considering the necessity of their attendance upon their

[665] _Ib._, pp. 54 and 55.

The drain on the supply of labourers might not have been so great in
all districts and at all times, but it must have been considerable; the
problem to be solved would therefore be to find workmen and not to find
work. The difficulty of getting men is indicated by the fact that the
Parliamentary army offered two and sixpence a day to a waggoner instead
of the shilling or one and threepence usual before the war[666]. All
who were not altogether incapable could get employment, and there would
therefore be no need for the parochial stocks of materials.

[666] _Ib._, p. 187.

[Sidenote: 4. State of poor relief after the Restoration.]

We should therefore expect that the lax administration during the war
would affect the schemes for the employment of the poor more than any
other part of the organisation, and the evidence of many treatises
published between the Restoration and the Revolution show us that this
was the case. Order had been somewhat restored, and the impotent poor
were then relieved, but the practice of finding work had so much fallen
into disuse that its former existence was almost forgotten. Thus in
a pamphlet published in 1673, called "The grand Concern of England
explained[667]," the writer states that the money paid for the poor
at that time amounted to £840,000 a year, and "is employed only to
maintain idle persons." He proposed that instead of giving the poor
weekly allowance, both old and young should be set to work at spinning,
or some similar occupation. Another treatise, published in 1683, has
been attributed to Sir Matthew Hale[668], and likewise shows that
little was then done for the able-bodied poor. The author says, "Indeed
there are rates made for the impotent poor.... But it is rare to see
any provision of a stock in any Parish for the relief of the poor." The
word "stock" is here used in the sense of capital for the employment
of the poor, and this writer also states that the law provides that
sums of this kind should be so raised. He gives many reasons for the
neglect in the matter. One of these is that there was no authority in
the Justices of Peace or other superintendent officials to compel the
raising of a stock where the churchwardens and overseers neglected
it. Both practice and opinion as to the requirements of the law had
considerably altered since in 1629 the Privy Council told the justices
that it was the opinion of all the judges that they both had the power
and the right to levy stocks to set the poor on work, and since in
1631 the justices from all parts sent in the reports on the Book of

[667] Harleian Miscellany, viii. p. 582, quoted by Eden, p. 188.

[668] Eden, Vol. I., p. 216.

[669] See above.

The author of a pamphlet of 1685[670] also points out that by the law
of Elizabeth the parish was bound to provide "work for those that will
labour, punishment for those that will not, and bread for those that
cannot; and if the first two parts of that law were duly observed the
Poor would not only be reduced to a small number comparatively to what
they now are, but there would be no such poor as idle and wandering
rogues and vagabonds." The writer further complains that work was not
provided for those who will labour, but only bread both for those who
can and those who cannot labour. These pamphlets thus afford abundant
proof that the plan of raising a stock had fallen into disuse in the
reign of Charles II., and few efforts were made to employ the poor
until new workhouses were founded in different towns, each by separate
Acts of Parliament.

[670] Eden, Vol. I., p. 225.

[Sidenote: 5. Reasons for failure under the Commonwealth to restore
the old state of things.]

This disorganisation, we have seen, was owing to the Civil War. It
is easy to see that when the war was ended, it would be difficult
to restore the old state of things because the old conditions were
altered. The Privy Council after the Restoration had a much less
paternal method of governing, and moreover the nation had outgrown the
old methods of organisation: the Council of State of the Commonwealth
did however try to restore some of the old remedies.

But under the Commonwealth the justices could no longer have been as
efficient instruments for carrying out the poor law as before. Many
of those who had formerly had most local influence were in banishment
or disgrace; others had lost heavily by the sacrifices made for the
war. Probably those who remained were chiefly interested in the more
exciting political and religious questions of the time. But without an
energetic Council and vigorous and powerful justices acting in sympathy
with them, the administration of the poor law had been ineffectual in
the reign of Elizabeth and in that of James I. We should therefore
expect the same result under the Commonwealth and Charles II., except
for the difference made by the ten years in which the relief of the
poor had been efficient. The whole of the improvement was not lost, but
enough of it to show how much the execution of the law had depended on
the Book of Orders, and enough to make the poor relief granted in the
years immediately preceding the war different from that of any future

[Sidenote: 6. History of Legislation on poor relief in Scotland.]

We will now briefly glance at the history of poor relief in Scotland.
Prof. Ashley has shown us that poor laws were not at first peculiarly
English institutions. In every country of Western Europe like
difficulties seem to have occurred at about the same time. Every one
of these countries was developing in new industrial and commercial
directions, and all were becoming more peaceably and quietly governed.
France, Germany, Holland and Scotland were alike troubled with
unemployed vagrants and unrelieved poor. The monastic houses and
hospitals under the old system certainly failed to cure the evil,
perhaps they only increased it. Municipal regulations and state laws
dealing with beggars and almsgiving therefore appear alike in France,
Germany, Scotland, and England, and at about the same time[671].

[671] Ashley, _Economic History_, Vol. II., p. 346 sqq.

In the sixteenth century the history of poor relief in Scotland and in
France is so like that of England as to suggest similar conditions or
possibly conscious imitation. In all three countries it is a history of
successive enactments in which the legal right of the poor to relief is
created, and in which more and more pressure is employed to obtain the
necessary funds.

[Sidenote: 6 _a_. History of legislation in Scotland before 1597.]

In Scotland as in England before 1535 there are a series of
vagabond acts[672], and in 1535 a statute was passed bearing a
strong resemblance to those passed in England under Henry VIII. The
punishments of whipping awarded to vagrants under the older Acts were
continued, and no beggar was to be allowed to beg in any parish except
that of his birth. New regulations were introduced with regard to funds
as in the contemporary English statute; the head men of each parish
were to "make takings" and to distribute to the beggars belonging to
the parish and to them only[673]. Thus, as in the England of 1536,
parochial responsibility was recognised, and the funds were to be
raised within the parish, but without compulsion.

[672] The statutes of 1425 (James I., c. 66) and of 1427 (James I.,
c. 103) are vagrant acts closely resembling those of England in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

[673] James V., cap. 22. Nicholl's _History of the Scotch Poor Law_, p.

The next important change in Scotch legislation was made in 1574, and
the provisions then made were continued and amplified in 1579. In this
later statute the resemblance to the English Act of 1572 seems more
than accidental. Both the Scotch and the English statutes begin with
decreeing sharp punishments for vagrants, although those of the Scotch
law are the more severe. But the later clauses of both statutes deal
with relief, and in the Scottish enactment these are introduced almost
in the words of the English regulations, "And since charity would,
that the poor, aged and impotent persons should be as necessarilie
provided for, as the vagabonds and strong beggars repressed, and that
the aged and impotent poor people should have lodging and abyding
places throughout the realm to settle themselves into," it is ordained
that the provost and bailies in the towns and the justice in every
landward parish shall inquire into the names and condition of the
poor and impotent people born in the parish, or who have lived there
seven years, and shall make a register book containing their names and
surnames. And in order that every parish may know its own poor, all
poor people are ordered to return to the parish where they belonged
within eleven days. The provost and bailies and justices are then to
provide for the sustenance and lodging of those that must live by
alms; in order to meet the cost they are "to tax and stent the whole
inhabitants within the parish according to the estimation of their
substance, without exception of persons, to such weekly charge and
contribution as shall be thought expedient and sufficient to sustain
the said poor people." Overseers and collectors were to be chosen in
every town and parish, and any person who refused to contribute or
discouraged others from so doing was, if convicted, to remain in prison
until he obeyed the order of the parish. Badged beggars were allowed in
some parishes, prisoners were to be relieved and children were to be

[674] James V., cap. 74. Nicholl's _History of the Scotch Poor Law_, p.
16 seq.

Compulsory taxation, parochial responsibility, the authority of
justices or municipal rulers, the appointment of overseers and the
provision made for the impotent poor and children are like those of
the English Act. But there is no regulation concerning the employment
of the able-bodied poor and the clauses concerning apprentices are far
more severe than those in the contemporary English statute[675].

[675] The child taken as an apprentice had to remain under the control
of his master or mistress for a much longer time than in England--the
boy until he was twenty-four and the girl until she was twenty-eight.

There are other vagabond Acts in 1592 and 1593, and the Act of 1592
ordains that the Act of 1579 shall be as well executed in all parts of
the realm as it has been in Edinburgh[676]. This seems to show that in
Scotland as in England the statutes of this time were badly executed,
but were not altogether a dead letter[677].

[676] James V., cap. 149. Nicholl's _History of the Scotch Poor Law_,
p. 27.

[677] The Act of 1579 was not generally well executed. At the
convention of Scottish boroughs held in Aberdeen July 1580,
representatives of certain towns were deputed to ask his Majesty to
take measures "for taking of ordour with euery parochyn to landwart for
sustening of thair awin pure people and impotent personis according
to the act maid in his Grace last Parliament quhilk hes bene as zit
neglected, without the quhilk unpossibill it is to the burrowis to tak
ordour thairanent, being oppressit with ane greit and infinit nomber of
strang and extraordinar beggeris nocht born nor bred within the saidis
burrowis." Marwick, _Convention of Scottish Boroughs_, I., p. 102. In
some towns however measures were taken. In Glasgow as early as 1575
badges were provided for the town beggars, and the rest were banished.
Marwick, _Extracts from the Records of the Borough of Glasgow_, I.,
p. 457. Occasionally also payments were made from the town chest to
particular poor people both before and after 1597. Thus the following
entries occur in the borough accounts:

Aug. 10, 1577. Item to Andro Duncane for his support to mend him of his
hurt, xiij_s._ iiij_d._

July 10, 1578. Item to Serjand Steill in almous to help to cure his
leg, xl_s._

Oct. 9th, 1584. Item gewin to Barbara Ramsaye ane pure wowman with mony
barnis in almous, xx_s._

1612. Item gifin to ane young man quha was rubbit of his pak, xl_s._

In 1597 also before the Act of that year was passed a committee had
been appointed in Glasgow "for reasoning anent the ordour and lawis
concerning the puir folkis." _Ib._, pp. 463, 467, 472, 477 and 187.

In Aberdeen in 1595 more organised relief was attempted. The whole town
on Jan. 23rd, 1595 met together and the poor were divided into four
classes, (1) "babis," (2) "decayit persones hous halderis," (3) "leamit
and impotent persones, (4) "sic as war decrepit and auld" if bred and
born in the town or resident there for seven years. The inhabitants
then agreed some to receive "ane baib" and others to contribute money.
They asked however that the magistrate should take "substantious ordour
anent the expelling of extranear beggaris" and that their own poor
should remain at home and be content with the aid allowed them, "and
according to the said voting ilk man speking be himself as said is,
the roll was instantlie sett down, and sic as everie man grantit be
his awin mouth wreittin, and the babis delyuerit to sic as war content
to receawe them." Extracts from the _Council Registers of Aberdeen_,
II., p. 124. The authorities of both Glasgow and Aberdeen we shall see
made other attempts to relieve their poor, but like the efforts of the
English towns these attempts were seldom long successful.

[Sidenote: 6 _b_. History of legislation in Scotland from 1597 to 1680.]

But in 1597 the next important change occurs. It begins by a clause
which approximates the poor relief system still more to that in force
in England. "Strong beggars and their bairns" are to "be employed in
common work during their life times." But it concludes with a clause
that separates the likeness hitherto existing between the regulations
of the two countries. The execution of the law in landward parishes is
placed in the hands of the kirk session[678].

[678] James V., cap. 272. Nicholl's _History of the Scotch Poor Law_,
pp. 31, 32.

Henceforward the history of poor relief in Scotland is different from
that of England. In England the law of 1597, as re-enacted in 1601,
remained the chief enactment for dealing with the poor throughout the
century, but in Scotland, on the contrary, many alterations in the
law were made; sometimes the kirk session was declared responsible
for relieving the poor, at other times the justices, sometimes the
heritors of the parish, were to assist the sessions, at other times the
presbytery; sometimes the impotent were to be better relieved, at other
times the able-bodied were to be employed in Houses of Correction[679]:
statute succeeded statute in the seventeenth century as in the
sixteenth, and for the most part with as little result.

[679] In 1600 the kirk Session was to be assisted when necessary by
one or two presbyters in the execution of the acts for the relief of
the poor and punishment of vagabonds, and all presbyters were to "take
diligent tryal of the obedience of the said sessions hereanent." _Ib._,
p. 34.

1617. Justices are appointed and are to execute laws against vagrants.
_Ib._, p. 37.

In 1661 justices of the peace were to administer the laws for the
relief of the poor. _Ib._, p. 58.

1672. Correction Houses to be established in thirty burghs. _Ib._, p.

Proclamation of 1692. The heritors, ministers and         } This regulation was
elders were to make the lists of the poor, and the charge } confirmed by the Act
for the maintenance was to be borne half by the heritors  } of 1698. _Ib._, p. 79
and half by the householders of the parish.               } and 84.

Still, in spite of these many alterations, the Scotch poor law always
resembled that of England in insisting on the duty of each parish to
support three classes of people, (1) the aged poor, (2) the lame and
blind, &c., and (3) orphans and destitute children. But the able-bodied
poor of Scotland, unlike those of England, were not entitled to either
work or relief. No legal provision was made for them except in Houses
of Correction[680].

[680] _Ib._, p. 61.

[Sidenote: 7. Failure of administration in Scotland.]

But during the seventeenth century even the relief given to the old
and to the young in Scotland was not thoroughly administered. Not
only do the frequent enactments of the legislature show that the
governing class were not satisfied with the result of the existing
laws on the subject, but the fact that the Scotch poor laws were on
the whole ineffectual is also indicated by the response made by the
justices to the Scotch Privy Council, by the hardships which the poor
suffered in the time of dearth at the close of the century, and by the
continued existence of beggars, licensed or unlicensed, not only in the
seventeenth century but until the beginning of the present reign.

[Sidenote: 7 _a_. Responses of the Scotch justices to the Privy Council
in 1623 show that they were unable or unwilling to enforce the poor
laws themselves, and left it to the kirk sessions.]

In Scotland as in England the Privy Council endeavoured to induce
the justices to secure a better administration of the poor laws.
But the Scotch justices possessed less legal authority than their
English colleagues, while they also were less inclined either to obey
the Council or to impose taxation. Consequently the efforts of the
Scotch Privy Council failed while those of the English Privy Council
succeeded. The effect of the Council's interference in Scotland can be
seen in the events of the year 1623.

This was a time of great hardship. "Mony famileis and tennentis and
labouraris of the ground who formarlie wer honnest houshalderis ... ar
now turned beggaris thame selffis and of all siort of beggaris thair
estate and conditioun is most miserable, becaus thay for the most pairt
being eshamed to beg underlyis all the extremiteis quhairwith the
pinching of thair belleis may afflict thame[681]." In consequence of
this distress the Council issued an order that the destitute poor of
each parish should be adequately supported, and that constables should
be provided to apprehend and punish vagrants. The expense of both
proceedings was to be met by a tax levied upon all the inhabitants of
the district.

[681] _Register of the Scottish Privy Council_, Vol. XIII., p. XXIX.

The replies of the Scotch justices to this order bring out the
difference which existed between England and Scotland in law, opinions
and practice and the consequent difficulty in enforcing in Scotland a
thorough organisation of poor relief. Thus the justices of Haddington
and Lothian write that in regard to the tax which was ordered by the
Council for apprehending and keeping of idle beggars they "doutt if
ane simple proclamatioun be ane sufficient warrand unto us to sett
doun stent upoun every man"; with regard to the relief of the poor
they thought the general contribution beneficial, but "becaus every
contributioun is odious and smellis of ane taxatioun they could
not undertak how to proceid thairin, being ane matter beyond thair
capacitie[682]." The justices of Edinburgh reply that "thair is no
jaillis nor warding plaices within the parochins nor touns of this
sherefdome that is able to conteine a tent pairt of the pure beging
in the same," order was therefore given in Edinburgh that every
landed gentleman should sustain his own poor, and that the ministers
should exhort their parishioners to refrain from giving alms to the
able-bodied beggars[683]. Other justices arrange meetings to discuss
the best means of relieving the destitution which existed; they nearly
all report that it is best for the kirk sessions to "stent" their
own parishioners, and for each landlord to support the poor on his

[682] _Register of the Scottish Privy Council_, p. 836.

[683] _Ib._, p. 818.

[684] e.g. Linlithgow, _Ib._, p. 840. The justices of Perthshire
however said every poor person was to have a peck of meal weekly, and
that the heritors were to pay for it "conforme to the stent roll to be
sett doun be the sessioun of the paroche kirk." _Ib._, p. 820. See also
pp. 826, 832, &c.

Again in 1631 and 1632 there are signs of greater care for the poor
in Scotland, and this may be due to the action of the Council, but
in Scotland it seems clear that the justices left the administration
almost entirely in the hands of the kirk sessions, and that the kirk
sessions were not induced to enforce an adequate system of poor relief
for a long term of years. Consequently Scottish poor relief remained in
the seventeenth century in much the same condition as it had been in
both England and Scotland in the preceding period.

[Sidenote: 7 _b_. Inadequate relief given by the kirk sessions of

In Scotland, as in both countries before 1597, assistance was given
to the poor by the parochial officials, and the money was raised by
collections at the church doors.

How small these contributions were may be seen from the records of
the town and parish of Banff. In 1624 the condition of the poor at
Banff was discussed during the visitation of the presbytery, and the
"haill eldership promised to have ane faithfull cair for provisioune
of thair awne poore and to purge ther bounds of vagabond beggares."
No improved method of relief was reported at the next visitation, but
the "minister and eldares" again promise to look after the poor[685].
In 1631, however, some arrangement was actually made. No one was to
give alms to strange beggars, and the town poor were to be relieved in
their homes. But, in order to secure this result, provision was made
only for twenty poor, although the population of the town probably
numbered nearly two thousand[686]. It seems likely that this was about
the amount of assistance granted in Banff throughout the century, for
in 1673 it is noted that twenty-seven poor received assistance from
the kirk sessions, and in 1691 only twenty-five[687]. This relief was
so insufficient that beggars abounded; in 1633 £3 6_s._ 8_d._ was paid
"To Willie Wat, scurger for outhalding the poore[688]"; in 1642 vagrant
beggars were to be put in the "theiffis hoill" until the magistrates
had time to see them well scourged, while in 1698 and again in 1742 the
system of badged beggars was adopted[689], which is itself an admission
of the insufficiency of the relief afforded by the parish.

[685] _The Annals of Banff_, W. Cramond, II., pp. 23 and 25.

[686] _Ib._, I., p. 65. The population of the parish of Banff was 3000
in 1775, and in 1797 the town numbered 700 less than the parish. The
poor relieved in 1631 were possibly all town poor, but the figures of
1673 and 1691 refer to the whole parish.

[687] Extracts from the Kirk Sessions minutes, _Ib._, Vol. II., pp. 49
and 61. April 14th, 1673, "Distributed poor's money: May 5, £12. 2_s._
4_d._; Aug. 5, £12. 0_s._ 4_d._; Nov. 2, £13. 0_s._ 4_d._; Feb. 2, £13.
12_s._ Ten are Seatown poor and seventeen are town poor." "Nov. 17th,
1691, Distributed to the poor £10. 16_s._ Number of poor: 8 town's
poor, 4 Seatown poor, 6 landwart poor and 5 protemporarious."

[688] _Ib._, I., pp. 74, 86.

[689] _Ib._, pp. 168 and 213. 1698, May 21. "The magistrats and
Counsell appoynt bages for such poor as is thought convenient to
beg through the towne and ordain the drum to goe thorrow the towne
inhibiting to relive any poor except those who have badges."

[Sidenote: 7 _c_. The relief of the poor in Aberdeen.]

Occasionally also, as in Elizabethan England, the burgesses of
particular towns saw that the poor could not live on the relief granted
by the church officials, and made great efforts to raise additional
funds so that they might be able to free their town from beggars. But,
as the convention of Scotch boroughs stated in 1579, it was difficult
to grant relief in one town only, because there were so many beggars
from other parts. In Scotland, as in England under Elizabeth, the town
systems of poor relief ceased to be successful after a few years. The
efforts in this direction made in Aberdeen are probably fairly typical
of those attempted by more philanthropic burgesses. Even in 1595 the
inhabitants of Aberdeen had distributed the destitute "babis" and had
levied voluntary contributions for the other poor[690]. Early in the
seventeenth century, however, beggars existed who were licensed by the
town[691], and in 1619 the "haill towne" was again convened, and it
was agreed that all the beggars should be sustained in their homes and
prevented from begging. It was estimated that the cost would amount to
2,600 marks, and £1,000 of this was to be raised "by way of taxatioun,"
while eleven hundred marks was to be obtained from the contributions
at communion or collections at the church doors[692]. Two years later,
in April 1621, we are told that "the wark hes hed a gude and happie
succes so that the haill poor peopill within this burght that were then
beggaris have beine now almost these thrie yeiris past interteained
and keiped from begging." It was therefore then agreed that the same
methods should "stand and continew" always, and that the town should
continue to contribute its thousand pounds a year, that the poor might
be relieved at home[693]. Why the plan failed does not appear, but
it did fail, since in 1650 tickets were given to the town beggars of
Aberdeen to distinguish them from those of other districts[694].

[690] See note above.

[691] _Selections from Ecclesiastical Records of Aberdeen_, p. 83.

[692] _Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Aberdeen_, I. p. 360.

[693] _Ib._, p. 372. The distribution of relief was apparently still
arranged by deacons appointed by the kirk sessions.

[694] _Ib._, p. 112, Vol. II. _Scottish Burgh Records Society_.

In Aberdeen, therefore, we can see that the money raised by the
kirk sessions was only about half the amount which the town rulers
considered necessary for the adequate support of the poor, and that
when the town was kept free from beggars resort had to be made to a
compulsory tax.

[Sidenote: 7 _d_. Infrequency of assessment in Scotland before 1818.]

But compulsory taxes were very unpopular both in Scotland and England,
but while in England they were forced on the people by the justices
of the peace, acting under instructions from the Privy Council, in
Scotland they never were generally adopted until the present century.
In the report of 1818 the temporary arrangements of Aberdeen and other
towns[695] were forgotten, and it was then said that before 1700 only
three parishes had resorted to compulsion[696]. This means that only
three parishes continued to use assessments for a long period, and
therefore the poor relief granted in Scotland was almost always the
voluntary assistance given by the kirk sessions.

[695] For Glasgow see note below; for Dumbarton see _Dumbarton Burgh
Records_, p. 49. 18th Jan. 1636, "Forsameikill as the magistrattis,
minister and elders of this burgh c^ovenit in this sessioun in the
kirk of this burgh, on the 14 of this instant In respect the burgh is
trublit be straingers and vnkuth beggars and the pure of this burgh
damnifeit, Thairfor thay thocht it best that the magistrattis sould
caus put the Acts of Parliament againe abill and sturdie beggars to
executioun q^rby unkuth pure resort to thair own parochins and the
pure of this burgh and paroche be helpit and bettir maintenit, and to
this effect that the magistrattis sould caus set down ane stent roll
vpoune the inhabitants and burgesses of this burgh for a monthlie
c^otributioun to the poore, to keip them fra begging. [Stentmasters

[696] Report forwarded by the Moderator of the General Assembly and
printed in the 3rd Rep. of the Select Committee of the House of Commons
on the Poor Laws.

[Sidenote: 7 _e_. Insufficiency of relief granted during the years

How insufficient this assistance was is indicated by the proclamations
issued during the years of scarcity at the close of the century. The
period from 1692 to 1699 has been called the "seven ill years." The
poor suffered great distress, and a series of proclamations was issued
by the Privy Council with the object of remedying matters.

In 1692 the first proclamation was published; this stated that the
Act for Houses of Correction had been neglected, and ordered the
heritors and inhabitants of each parish to meet and put in execution
the other good laws made for the poor[697]. In the same year a second
proclamation was issued which stated that the previous order had
had little effect because it was uncertain where the beggars were
born and because suitable provision was not made for them in their
parishes[698]. The next year therefore another proclamation was
promulgated, and, it is said, "due obedience" was not yet given to the
laws, "so that the poor are not duly provided for in many places nor
the vagabonds restrained." In 1698 the fourth and last proclamation was
published, and again it is stated that the poor laws have not taken
effect, partly because there were no houses provided for the poor and
partly because the people responsible for the execution of the laws had
been negligent of their duty[699].

[697] Nicholls, _Hist. of the Scotch Poor Law_, p. 78 seq.

[698] _Ib._, p. 81.

[699] _Ib._, p. 83.

The statements of these proclamations show that little poor relief was
then administered in Scotland, but a stronger proof that this was so
is furnished by the existence of the misery endured by the poor during
these years: this was so great that it is said whole parishes in some
districts were nearly depopulated[700].

[700] _Ib._, p. 78.

[Sidenote: 7 _f_. Insufficiency of relief indicated by prevalence of

But the fact which throws the strongest light upon the administration
of poor relief in Scotland is the continued existence of beggary. This
was the real method by which most of the poor were relieved. Even the
Town Council of Aberdeen tolerated licensed beggars, and in 1664 a
resolution was passed by the synod, which shows that the licensing of
beggars was then a general practice in the diocese; it is ordained that
a minister should license "those creaving for support" only within his
own parish[701].

[701] Selections from ecclesiastical records of Aberdeen. _Register of
Synod_, p. 276.

In 1699 the beggars of Stirling also were licensed[702], but the
existence of licensed beggars was not the worst of the evil. This
method of dealing with the matter, it is true, is very strong evidence
that insufficient poor relief was given because it is furnished by the
administrators themselves; the beggar must be destitute, or they ought
not to have given him a license, and he could hardly have been among
those who were too proud to receive relief. But the districts where
unlicensed beggary prevailed were in a far worse condition. How great
the evil was may be seen from the evidence of Fletcher of Saltoun, who
wrote in 1698. His complaints and even his language closely resemble
that of Harman when he describes the English beggars under Henry VIII.,
and that of Hext, concerning those who lived under Elizabeth; they
are in strong contrast to the self-satisfied reports of the English
justices of the reign of Charles I. "There are," he says, "at this day
in Scotland (besides a great number of families very meanly provided
for by the church boxes, with others, who, living upon bad food, fall
into various diseases) 200,000 people begging from door to door. These
are not only no ways advantageous, but a very grievous burden to so
poor a country, and though the number of them be perhaps double to what
it was formerly, by reason of the present great distress, yet in all
times there have been about 100,000 of these vagabonds who have lived
without any regard or submission either to the laws of the land or even
of those of God and nature.... No magistrate could ever discover or be
informed which way any of these wretches died, or that ever they were
baptized. Many murders have been discovered among them; and they are
not only a most unspeakable oppression to poor tenants (who, if they
give not bread or some sort of provision to perhaps forty such villains
in one day, are sure to be insulted by them), but they rob many poor
people, who live in houses distant from any neighbourhood. In years of
plenty many thousands of them meet together in the mountains, where
they feast and riot for many days; and at country weddings, markets,
burials and other like public occasions, they are to be seen, both
men and women, perpetually drunk, cursing, blaspheming and fighting

[702] 20 May, 1699. "Considering the insuportable number of extraneous
and vagrant beggers who daylie frequent this burgh" the elders and
baillies are to meet "and take ane exact account of the poor belonging
to the samen burgh and order badges for them soe as they may be knoune
and distinguished from extraneous beggers." _Extracts from the Records
of Stirling_, Vol. II., p. 90.

[703] Second Discourse concerning the affairs of Scotland quoted and
compared with Hext's letter in Dunlop's _Law of Scotland relating to
the Poor_, p. 1.

This terrible state of things indicates clearly that no efficient
system of poor relief was then in force in Scotland, and shows the
evil resulting from trusting the relief of the poor to charity, when
charity was altogether insufficient. It is, however, well known that
in more charitable days the Scotch system of poor relief found many
supporters who urged that the poor obtained sufficient help, and that
the organisation which relied on charity called forth a much more noble
spirit in both rich and poor than that which depended upon compulsion.
This opinion prevailed especially in 1818, although even then beggary
was nearly universal[704] in Scotland, but it must be remembered that
in 1818 Scottish poor relief gained by comparison with the English
because England was then suffering from the increase in pauperism
produced by the lax rules of administration which had been introduced
into her system of poor relief during the preceding twenty-five years.

[704] See 3rd _Report of Select Committee on the Poor Laws_.

[Sidenote: 7 _g_. Reasons for the failure of the administration in

But in the seventeenth century the danger was rather that there should
be too little relief than too much. The citizens of Glasgow, like
those of Aberdeen, introduced compulsory assessments, and said the
"commendable cair" for the poor now shown was "to the glorie of God
and good report of this citie"; but, in spite of this good result,
altered their methods, apparently because of the unpopularity of the
poor rate[705]. It is easy to see why this happened. Town governors
and kirk officials were much more affected by unpopularity with the
ratepayers than justices of the peace, and were much less influenced by
the central government. Consequently it seems that because in Scotland
the system of poor relief was not in the hands of the justices of
the peace, there was no period in the history of Scotch poor relief
corresponding to the years in which the Book of Orders was enforced in
England under Charles I. The result was that in Scotland the poor laws
though made were not thoroughly administered until the present reign.

[705] In 1638 the Glasgow Town Council reports in favour of relieving
the poor in their homes, and orders the inhabitants to be "stented" for
their relief. In Jan. 1639 the rate was imposed and amounted to £600,
or one-fifth of the ordinary taxation. In April the poor were to be
"keipit in thair houssis for ane quarter to cum," and in October the
arrangement was said to be successful, and was continued for a year.
But in 1647 the town authorities say they are loath to take the course
allowed by law, and ask the kirk session to "fallow furthe the way
on ane voluntar monethlie contributione"; any deficiency in the sum
necessary for the poor was however still to be contributed by the town.
In 1649 means were formed of stimulating the voluntary contributors
"Anent the inbringing of the poores mentinance it is inacted that the
refuissars be quarterit vpon with sojouries." Still the funds raised
were insufficient, and in 1653 a tax was again imposed only to be again
discontinued a few years later. _Extracts from the Records of Glasgow_,
R. Marwick, Vol. I., pp. 395, 396, 400, 406, and Vol. II., pp. 180,
182, 254, 369.

[Sidenote: 8. The history of poor relief in France.]

The history of poor relief in France is very similar to that in
Scotland, except that in the earlier stages French legislation is in
advance of that of England.

After the middle of the fourteenth century there were vagrant laws in
France and Paris as in Scotland and England. The first general measure
for the relief of the poor also is almost exactly contemporaneous
in all three countries. In 1536, Francis I. issued two edicts. The
first ordains "that the impotent poor who have room and lodging and
dwelling houses shall be nourished and entertained by their parishes,
and for this purpose a register shall be made by the curés, vicars or
churchwardens, each for his own parish," in order that these officers
may distribute alms to the poor who are disabled. In each parish boxes
were to be placed in which offerings were to be collected, and every
Sunday, in Paris as in England, the preachers in their sermons were
to exhort their hearers to contribute. Abbeys, priories, chapters and
colleges were to give their alms to this box[706].

[706] Alexandre Monnier, _Histoire de l'assistance dans les temps
anciens et modernes_, p. 307.

"Par chacune paroisse, seront establis boëtes et troncs qui par chacun
jour de dimanche, seront recommandés par les curez et vicaires en leur
prosnes et par les prédicateurs en leur sermons."

By a second edict of King Francis, issued in this year, the able-bodied
poor were compelled to labour in return for their alms, and it was
ordered that the ordinances made in Paris concerning the poor should
be binding also in the towns of Brittany[707]. These edicts of King
Francis contain almost exactly similar provisions to those of the
statutes of Henry VIII., even in matters of detail.

[707] Monnier, p. 308. Brittany was not thoroughly incorporated with
the rest of France.

Several other edicts between this and 1551 concern the poor, chiefly
the Parisian poor. Public works were established to employ them, and
efforts were made to succour the impotent poor in hospitals. In 1544
a governing body for the poor was established by Letters Patent,
and the right of levying a tax or poor rate was given to this new
authority[708]. But the new taxation met with much opposition, and
in 1551 an ordinance was issued which bears a very close resemblance
to the English statute of 1563. All the inhabitants of Paris and the
suburbs were to state how much they were willing to contribute to
the support of the poor. Their answers were to be laid before the
Parliament, which was then to assess everyone according to his wealth.
The object of the edict was to make the taxation voluntary if possible
without surrendering the right of imposing compulsory payment. Even
at the Revolution this contribution had not altogether disappeared,
although it was too small an amount to have much[709] practical effect.

[708] _Ib._, p. 313 seq.

[709] _Ib._, pp. 314 and 317.

In 1566 it was again ordered that throughout France every town and
every village was to care for its own poor[710]. In particular towns
a good deal was done: not only were public workshops opened in
Paris[711], but in 1612 new hospitals were established, and in Lyons
and in certain other towns the same kind of relief was given.

[710] C. Chamborant, _Du Paupérisme_, p. 92.

[711] _Ib._, p. 95.

But, as in England in the sixteenth century, relief was only
administered in particular districts and for a short time. In France
as in Scotland the history of the seventeenth century was like that
of the sixteenth. Edict succeeded edict; they had some result but not
much; no general system was ever established, nor were the poor ever
effectually relieved. Perhaps it was impossible that laws of this kind
should be executed in France because the French did not possess any
county officials like the English justices of the peace. The Council
might be willing to enforce the law, but the necessary machinery was
wanting, and consequently in France as in Scotland poor laws were only
made; they were not thoroughly administered.

[Sidenote: 9. Comparison between history of poor relief in England and
that in France and Scotland.]

The history of poor relief in France and Scotland thus seems to bring
into greater prominence the fact that the English organisation is not
exactly the inevitable result of the statute of 1601. Like causes led
to like regulations in all three countries, but the regulations did not
lead to the same result. The organisation of poor relief in France and
Scotland continued in the English sixteenth century stage down to the
present century. In the light of their history we can understand the
preamble to the commission of 1631. The justices acted in many parts as
if the poor laws were obsolete, and they were always tending to become
obsolete in France and Scotland. In England that stage was passed
during the ten years of the enforcement of the Book of Orders. Privy
Council and justices were alike effective at the same time; the Privy
Council took action, and the justices were urged to do their duty.
Few officials, perhaps none, could have done the work so well. If the
justices of later days granted too much relief it was because of the
justices of Charles I. that relief was ever efficiently administered at



  1. Summary of history of English poor relief before the Civil War.
  2. The political significance of the paternal measures of the
    (a) Possible attempt to attach to the Government the poorer part of the nation.
    (b) Habitual use of proclamations and orders in Council for a popular purpose.
  3. Success of the enforcement of the Book of Orders in the reign of
Charles I.
  4. Results of effectual administration of the poor law on English
social history.
    (a) The increased communication between rich and poor.
    (b) Decrease of bitterness of competition and increase of order.

[Sidenote: 1. Summary of history of English system of poor relief
before the Civil War.]

We have now traced the history of the making and early administration
of the English Poor Law. We have seen that the English system of poor
relief like the English House of Commons was once only one of many
like institutions common to the whole of Western Europe. Although in
our century other nations have again regulated the help given to the
poor by public authorities, in neither France, Scotland nor Germany has
the public organisation for the relief of the destitute a continuous
history. The system survived in England alone among the greater
nations of Europe. It began as part of the labour statutes, but the
regulations of Richard II. had probably little practical effect. The
administration of relief of the poor by secular authorities seems to
have been first really organised under Henry VIII. by London, Ipswich,
and other towns. Even after this public poor relief was not thoroughly
established for more than another century.

These municipal orders were followed by statutes adopting similar
regulations for the whole country. But the statutes were very
irregularly enforced; they were constantly neglected, and new
legislation was passed with little better result. Still the great
distress of the years of scarcity of 1594 to 1597 excited public
attention; men like Bacon and Raleigh joined in the discussions of
Parliament and in 1597 the statutory provisions were made which
remained for the most part unchanged until 1834. But the law was
only well executed for a few years: good administration rather than
good legislation was necessary, and it is in regard to the provision
for administration rather than in regard to municipal regulations or
statutory enactments that the history of England differs from that of
France and Scotland.

The difference was mainly caused by the coexistence in England of a
Privy Council active in matters concerning the poor and of a powerful
body of county and municipal officers who were willing to obey the
Privy Council.

Even in the reign of Elizabeth the Privy Council sometimes interfered
in enforcing measures of relief, but only as a temporary expedient
for relieving the distress caused by years of scarcity. But from 1629
to 1640 they acted continuously in this direction and by means of the
Book of Orders succeeded, as far as children and the impotent poor were
concerned, in securing the due execution of the law.

The Council also succeeded in inducing the justices to provide work for
the able-bodied poor in many of the districts in the eastern counties,
and in some places in almost every county.

This provision of work was provided either in Houses of Correction or
in the parishes. In the former case it was punitive, in the latter it
was given mainly with the object of enabling the unemployed to earn
their living; in both cases it was often accompanied by training in
a trade. It does not seem to have been designed at all as a test for
the applicant for relief. The poor of the parishes were probably well
known; the strange poor were all supposed to be sent indiscriminately
to the House of Correction; moreover no other form of relief was
granted to the able-bodied poor except when the parishes failed to find
sufficient work.

The organisation was needed because it was an age of economic
transition; the agricultural revolution prevented men from finding work
in their old employments, while under the new industrial organisation
earnings were more unstable even when they were higher than they were

[Sidenote: 2. The political side of this paternal government.]

[Sidenote: 2 _a_. Possible attempt to secure the adhesion of poorer
classes to government.]

It may be that there is a political side to the policy of Charles's
Council in this matter. Dr Gardiner suggests that the adoption of
this policy of paternal government may be attributed to the influence
of Wentworth. "It can hardly be by accident that his accession to
the Privy Council was followed by a series of measures aiming at
the benefit of the people in general, and at the protection of the
helpless against the pressure caused by the self interest of particular

[712] S. R. Gardiner, _History of England_, VII., p. 160, ed. 1884.

There were also other members of the Council who were likely to be
interested in enforcing orders for the benefit of the poorer classes.
Sir Julius Caesar, the Master of the Rolls, was at that time in office.
He certainly was very charitable if not very wise in his charity. He is
described by Fuller as "a person of prodigious bounty to all of worth
or want so that he might seem to be Almoner-General of the Nation.
The story is well known of a Gentleman who once borrowing his Coach
(which was as well known to poor people as any Hospital in England)
was so rendevouzed about with Beggers in London that it cost him all
the money in his purse to satisfie their importunity; so that he might
have hired twenty coaches on the same terms[713]." It is also probable
that Laud may have had something to do with the strict enforcement
of the apprentice part of the law in 1633-4, for we have seen he was
much interested in apprenticeship, and founded many charities for the
purpose himself.

[713] Fuller's _Worthies_, p. 179.

Dr Gardiner also thinks that this policy "may serve as an indication
that there were some at least in the Council who in their quarrel with
the aristocracy were anxious to fall back upon an alliance with the
people[714]." It is very possibly not entirely accidental that the name
of John Caesar is attached to a report from Edwinstree in 1639 in which
the inhabitants are "well disposed in relegion, obedient to gou(ern)m^t
and forward in pious and charitable accons[715]," while the district
of John Hampden sent up at least one protest as to the measures of

[714] S. R. Gardiner, _Hist. of England_, VII., p. 164.

[715] Vol. 426, 73.

[716] See above, p. 193.

[Sidenote: 2 _b_. The use of proclamations and orders in Council for a
popular purpose.]

There is however possibly another political side to these orders.
The measures which were designed to protect the poor from the undue
rapacity of traders or from the carelessness of parochial officials
were nearly all enforced by proclamations and orders in Council.
Generally these orders were in accordance with the letter of the law
and almost always with the spirit which had dictated the legislation;
but still the fact that proclamations and orders in Council were used
to enforce this popular side of government may have been designed to
increase the popularity of government by this means; it certainly
tended to habituate the justices to their use and to make the majority
of the nation cease to regard them as instruments of tyranny.

This danger was not unforeseen at the time. A knowledge of it probably
influenced the reply of the Scotch justices when they doubted if "ane
simple proclamatioun be ane sufficient warrand" for levying a tax[717],
but there is also a remarkable protest by John Hawarde in 1597 when he
is recording the enforcement of the measures undertaken to help the
poor at that time. He says that engrossers, and forestallers of corn
in London were proceeded against "by the Queen's prerogative only and
by proclamation, councils, orders and letters, and thus their decrees,
councils, proclamations, and orders shall be a firm and forcible law
and of the like force as the Common law or an Act of Parliament." The
Puritan lawyer jealously notes that the builders of illegal cottages
and negligent justices also were to be punished "on the proclamation
and not on the statute[718]." "And this is the intent," he says,
"of the Privy Councillors in our day and time to attribute to their
councils and orders the vigour, force and power of a firm law and
of higher virtue and force, jurisdiction and preheminence' than any
positive law, whether it be the common law or statute law. And thus
in a short time the Privy Councillors of this realm would be the most
honourable, noble and commanding lords in all the world and [have]
the majesty of prince and ruler of the greatest reverence in all the

[717] See above, p. 283.

[718] New houses in London had to be of a certain size and height,
and in the country had to have land attached to them. During the same
setting of this Court the Attorney-General informed against a certain
Negroose and others for building cottages in London "contrary to the
proclamation." One offender was fined £100, another £40, and another
£20, while the houses were destroyed "for their base condition" and the
timber was to be sold for the benefit of the poor. _Les Reportes del
Cases in Camera Stellata_, 1593-1609. John Hawarde, edited by W. P.
Baildon, F.S.A.

[719] _Ib._, pp. 78, 79.

It is quite possible that this side of government was enforced by the
orders in Council simply as a matter of convenience; it might have
been difficult to pass new legislation contrary to the interests of
the middle classes through a body in which the representation of those
classes was so great as it was in the Tudor and Stuart House of Commons.

But if the danger of allowing the royal prerogative to be used apart
from statute law was seen and protested against under the popular Queen
Elizabeth, it would certainly also excite opposition in the reign of
Charles I.

The substance of the orders however does not appear to have excited
opposition. Men of both sides sent in their reports to the Privy
Council, and more energetic measures to execute the poor law were taken
in the Puritan counties of the east than in any other part of England.

[Sidenote: 3. Effect of the enforcement of the Book of Orders in the
reign of Charles I.]

The effects of the enforcement of the Elizabethan poor law and of
the Book of Orders were considerable both in the reign of Charles I.
and ever since that time. Harman's book, the many insurrections and
riots of the sixteenth century, the letter of Justice Hext and the
statements in many proclamations show us how great was the disorder in
England during the reigns of the Tudors and James I. The Somersetshire
justice almost unconsciously reveals the main part of the reason. Many
people, he tells us, were emboldened to say, "They must not starve,
They will not starve," and so the honest countryman suffered from
the depredations of rogues and could hardly endure the burdens laid
upon him[720]. "Maximus magister venter" quotes another writer of the
period; repression did little good until it was accompanied by relief.
Moreover it was impossible to enforce the repressive regulations
against vagrants until relief was administered because the "foolish
pity" of the inhabitants and of the justices prevented punishments
from being inflicted. Throughout the sixteenth century and, after a
short interval after 1597, again in the reign of James I. there are
complaints of the increase of vagrants and of the disorder in the

[720] Strype's _Annals_, No. 213. See p. 126.

[721] E.g. _Little Proc. Bk._, James I., No. 27.

The effect of the Book of Orders cannot be lightly estimated if we
contrast the statements of Justice Hext and his contemporaries with
those of the justices under Charles I. Complaints of great disorder
then cease in all parts of the country except London. In many places
vagabonds are said to no longer trouble the neighbourhood. In High
Peak the justices state "nowe wee haue fewe or noe wanderers[722]"; at
Wallington in Surrey few vagabonds are taken because now only a small
number come to the hundred[723]; while at Andover there is "scarce a
vagrant found about vs nor are any pickeryes com(m)itted[724]." In
a few places, as at Bramber[725], the improvement is stated to be
owing to the activity of Provost Marshals but in many other places
it is directly connected with the Book of Orders. Thus in parts of
Westmoreland we hear that there was great improvement in consequence
of the enforcement of the poor law in 1638; "idle persons haue beene
banished out of the countrey" and the poor of the neighbourhood were
"more willing to take paynes[726]." In two divisions of Shropshire it
was "rare to see a wandring person[727]," and at Appletree in Derby
the overseers relieve the poor and set to work "such as are poore
and yett well able to worke w^{ch} wee fynde doeth very much good in
the cuntrye[728]." But the most decided symptoms of improvement are
indicated by a report from a district of Leicestershire which reveals
a state of things in strong contrast to that of Somerset in 1596.
The justices record a very careful attention to the Book of Orders,
especially the parts relating to setting the poor to work, teaching
knitting to the young and placing out apprentices "that yong people
and children may receive imployment and fittinge educacon and soe
avoide idlenes and lewdenes of life." These efforts they tell us "in
all partes of the cou(n)tie hath already wrought soe good effect; as
that since the last Assizes to the day of the date hereof there is come
into the comon gaole in the cou(n)ty of Leic. but two prisoners for
two small felonyes, committed by two seu(er)all yonge people, beinge
servants settled at the tyme of the offences committed[729]."

[722] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 293, No. 115, July, 1635.

[723] _Ib._, Vol. 315, No. 25, March 1635/6.

[724] _Ib._, Vol. 250, 11, II., Nov. 1633.

[725] _Ib._, Vol. 426, 37 and 19, July, 1639.

[726] _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 388, No. 7, April, 1638.

[727] Cherbury and Ford, Chas. I., Vol. 272, 53, 54, July, 1634. See
above for a like report from Monslow, also where the effect of the
enforcement of the Book of Orders was immediate.

[728] Vol. 185, 41, Feb. 1630/1. From Morleston and Litchurch,
Derbyshire, also the justices say of vagrants "our country is cleerly
deliuered of them." Vol. 194, No. 25, June, 1631.

[729] Vol. 216, No. 103, May 30th, 1632. From several divisions of
Somerset also we have a report which shows that the country was
becoming quiet, though the good order is often attributed to the
watches for vagrants. "Watches and warde have beene and are continued
whereby the number of vagabonds are much diminished and this country
thereby well freed." Vol. 289, No. 20. Also from the wapentakes of
Stancliff and Ewecross, co. York, we hear there are "verie fewe or none
to bee founde wanderinge or rogeinge." Vol. 364, No. 49. Although in
these cases the improvement is attributed to punishment rather than
relief, it probably indicates that relief also was well administered
since neither justices nor inhabitants could or would prevent
vagabondage by punishment unless it were accompanied by efficient poor

The disappearance of vagrants, the decrease of felonies and increase of
order are reported as the direct consequence of the administration of
the Book of Orders. Other causes may have contributed to this result,
but the reports of the justices from so many places in different parts
of the country are conclusive evidence that efficient relief of the
poor hastened the time when the peaceable citizen and peasant could
work and live in security and quietness.

This great belief in the good results of the work and of the relief
afforded is very characteristic of the administrators of the time.
If the system of the seventeenth century had many disadvantages when
concerned with the more capable members of the community, its dealings
with the poor compare very favourably with the methods possible in a
freer community. The modern philanthropist may talk about being an
individualist but he cannot be one. He cannot punish the idler and
the drunkard as such directly and so it is rarely possible for him to
aid the innocent members of a family without encouraging the guilty.
Consequently he cannot deal with individuals on their merits, he can
only deal with families. But in the seventeenth century the drunkard
was either fined or placed in the stocks, and the idler was sent to the
House of Correction. You might then help the rest of his family to find
employment or have the young children taught in knitting schools and
apprenticed without dangerously weakening the incentives to industry
and sobriety. The direct punishment had a good effect in dealing with
people for whom the community made itself responsible. It sacrificed
only the individuality of the offender and not that of all his family.
Consequently there was little danger in the increase of organised
relief and it seems to have produced good results. The comments when
we hear them are all in a satisfied tone. The Norwich magistrates were
delighted with their organisation after seven years' trial and this in
the reign of Elizabeth when the complaints were great in most parts of
the country where little relief was given.

The stocks for the poor might be expected to operate unfavourably on
the wages of unskilled labour; but there is no trace of their having
done so. Wages rose during the Commonwealth it is true, but they rose
also during the reigns of the earlier Stuarts and continued to rise
until near the end of the century. This rise in wages seems to have
been increased rather than checked by the enforcement of the Book of
Orders, probably because the casual labourer had a far more depressing
effect on the labour market when he wandered everywhere than when he
was regularly employed by the stock of his parish. Moreover if the
system affected wages at all, it would affect the unskilled labourer
rather than the skilled. But after the Civil War the unskilled labourer
gains relatively less: it is the more skilled forms of labour that are
better paid[730]. It thus seems fairly certain that the stocks for
setting the poor to work did not unfavourably influence the wages of
the lower class of labourers.

[730] Between 1600 and 1688 wages rise continuously in every decade.
If we take the decennial averages of labour given by Prof. Rogers we
find that between the accession of James I. and 1688 in most cases the
greatest increase of wages was during the period from 1643 to 1652. But
this increase may be largely owing to the disturbances of the Civil
War, since from 1663 to 1672 the rate of increase is less than that
of any preceding ten years of the century. With the exception of the
decade of the Civil War the greatest rise in wages occurs during the
ten years immediately preceding, from 1633 to 1642, that is during
the time when the organisation established by the Book of Orders was
established. Moreover the increase is the more remarkable when we
compare the rates of wages with the price of corn. For from 1633-1642
the average price of wheat per quarter was 41_s._ 2_d._, while from
1643-1652 it was 48_s._ 11_d._, and during the next ten years 47_s._
2¼_d._ _Hist. of Agric. and Prices_, Vol. V., p. 276. The average
price of wheat was therefore considerably lower during the decade
before the War. The following are the decennial averages of the worst
paid labour given by Prof. Rogers, _Hist. of Agric. and Prices_, Vol.
V., p. 672:

  |           |             |             |  Digging,   |             |               |
  |           |  Tiler or   | Bricklayer  | Labourer to | Hedging, or |    Women's    |
  |           |   Slater    |  and Man    |   Artisan   |  Ditching   | ordinary work |
  |           |  per week   |  per week   |  per week   |  per week   |   per week    |
  |           | _s._ _d._   | _s._ _d._   | _s._ _d._   | _s._ _d._   |   _s._ _d._   |
  | 1603-1612 |  6    0     | 10    9½ |  4    0     |  4   10½ |    2    6     |
  | 1613-1622 |  6    2¾ | 10    2¾ |  4    0¼ |  4   10¾ |    1   11     |
  | 1623-1632 |  6    8     | 11    0     |  4    4¼ |  4    9     |    2    1½ |
  | 1633-1642 |  7    6     | 11    8¾ |  5    0     |  5    6½ |    3    0     |
  | 1643-1652 |  9    5½ | 14    1¾ |  5   10½ |  5    9½ |    2    6     |
  | 1653-1662 | 11    1     | 17    7     |  6    0     |  6    0     |    2    6     |
  | 1663-1672 |  9   11¼ | 13    0     |  6    1¼ |  6    1¾ |    3    0     |

It will be seen that wages rose slowly before 1632, and then began to
rise at a much more rapid rate, and that the wages of unskilled labour
rose almost as much during the decade 1633 to 1642 as during the ten
years in which the war was conducted.

The setting of the poor to work in this period cannot be judged as
if it were part of the system of free competition of modern England.
There was little notion of free competition; state and town interfered
in wages and in the management of industry; everyone was subject to
restrictions in the supposed interests of the nation, and the stocks
for the poor were almost a necessary complement of this national
organisation of industry. The idea of the time was to maintain a
stable condition of affairs; the attempt to find employment for the
poor in their slack times corresponded to the measures taken to lower
prices in the years of bad harvests and to secure the interests of the
employers when labourers were scarce and wages rising. Whatever effect
these attempts may have had on industry as a whole they certainly
lessened the immediate sufferings of the unemployed during this time
of transition and they must be taken into account in any attempt to
estimate the condition of the poor at the period.

So far as the temporary difficulties of the seventeenth century were
concerned therefore, the system established by the Book of Orders
lessened the misery of the poor and contributed to the establishment of

But the whole of the poor law did not disappear during the Civil War.
It is true that the existing schemes for the employment of the poor
were discontinued but the relief of the impotent and the care of
children have continued down to our own time.

[Sidenote: 4. Results of poor relief in later times.]

We have been so accustomed to hear of the evils of the law of
settlement and the abuses of the relief granted in aid of wages, that
we perhaps fail to consider the better effects of the existence of a
system of poor relief.

[Sidenote: 4 _a_. The increased union of rich and poor.]

In the first place the method of administration has helped to unite
the different classes of the nation together. The rich may have known
little about the poor but the country gentlemen as justices have been
obliged to know something. Besides every ratepayer has suffered when
any cause has permanently depressed the labouring class. All have
to pay more poor rates and so are led to discuss, and if possible
to remedy, abuses and grievances. In this way the evils of bad
administration of relief have been checked and interest in all matters
affecting the poor has been stimulated.

But the existence of the poor law may have had even more important

[Sidenote: 4 _b_. Decrease of bitterness in competition and increase of

Many are affected by the poor law who never receive relief; it takes
away some of the horror of failure from all who may if unfortunate need
help of the kind and so renders the struggle for existence less brutal
to the whole of the labouring class.

In the seventeenth century this assistance to the poor helped to make
England a peaceful community and it has probably had the same effect
ever since.

The earlier centuries of our history were not distinguished by the
quiet and orderly habits of the people. Whenever, as in the reigns of
Henry III. and Richard II., we had little war abroad there was disorder
at home. In the sixteenth century we have seen every season of scarcity
produce riots, insurrections or rebellion. In 1529 Norfolk and Kent
were in insurrection, in 1586 Gloucestershire was discontented, in 1596
the peasants of Oxfordshire took up arms; while in 1549 the economic
distress was mainly responsible for the rebellion which caused the
fall of the Duke of Somerset and nearly produced a revolution. Even
in ordinary times property was not safe; bands of vagrants roamed the
country who compelled the inhabitants to grant them relief; petty
thefts were committed and were neither detected nor punished, sometimes
robbery even was successfully attempted in open daylight and was
unrepressed. In Scotland a like state of things lasted at least as late
as the end of the seventeenth century and indeed much later still.
Louise Michelle on her visit to England was more struck by English
poor relief than by any other English institution: she said that a
like system in France would have prevented the French revolution. The
distress of the masses of the people and the existence of a large
number of hungry men always ready to join the forces of disorder, are
at all times a danger to the stability of governments. It may well be
therefore that the law-abiding characteristics of the nation and the
absence of violent changes in the political constitution have been at
least partly due to the regular relief which has been granted under
the English poor law. Ever since its provisions were first thoroughly
put in execution through the efforts of the Privy Council and of the
justices in the reign of Charles I. no man has been able truthfully to
plead that he was driven to crime or desperation by absolute want.


EXTRACTS from the Journals of the Common Council of London.

These Journals begin with the entries for the year 1416 and are still
continued. They are contained in large folio volumes and are written on
paper in French, Latin and English. The entries made in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries are generally in English. The resolutions of
the Common Council and the chief letters, precepts and proclamations
concerning the government of the City were copied within a few days
of the time they were made by one of the officials under the Town

[731] There were four clerks under the Town Clerk whose duties were
defined in 1537. The youngest of these was to enter into the Journals
acts of Common Council, degrees, proclamations and precepts and all
other things necessary for the business of the City. Repertory ix. f.
251 b. quoted by Dr Sharpe, "Calendar of Letters from the Mayor and
Corporation of the City of London 1350 to 1370." Intro. p. xxiv. seq.

The following two extracts illustrate the fact that the organisation
for the poor in London was municipal, both before and after the statute
of 1572[732], and show the methods by which the City authorities
enforced their orders.

[732] 14 Eliz. c. 5. See above, pp. 70, 97.

A. Copy in the Journals of a precept for a collection for the poor
issued in 1563. _Journals_, XVIII. f. 145 b.

 By the Maio^r.

 [Sidenote: To thalderman of the warde of Cheape. A precept for to make
 a collection for the pore.]

 Whear as there was a precept dated the VII^{th} of this present
 September directed to all and every parsone, vicar, curate and
 churchwarden of every parishe churche w^{th}in yo^r saide warde
 com(m)aunding them that they and euery of them should cause the
 Inhabitants of there saide parishe to assemble them selues together
 and make a colleccion and provysyon for the pore, sick and nedye of
 there saide parishe and, if there saide parishe were not afflicted and
 had no nede of any suche provysion, that then they shoulde bestowe the
 same vpon other pore paryshes w^{th}in the saide Cittye where they
 shoulde think it moste nedefull. Forasmuche as the execucon of suche
 diligence therin towardes the poores releif hath taken no suche good
 successe as was hoped for, And understanding, the great visytacon
 of god to continew and sicknes to encrease and perceyving also by
 complaynt of the nedye there miserable estate, These are therefore
 to requyer and in the Quenes Ma^{ts} name to charge and comaunde you
 that you cale before you the saide parsone, vicar and churchwardens
 of euery parishe churche w^{th}in yo^r saide warde, once every weke,
 and that you see o^r saide precept putt in execucon according to the
 Teno^r therof and the charytye collected to be bestowed accordingly.
 Requyring ye to take suche order w^{th} them as either refuse orells
 be found negligent in doing there dutyes therin (if by gentyll
 monytion to them geven) they will not be reformed as yo^r discression
 shall seme good. Fayle ye not hereof As ye will answere for the
 contrarye at yo^r perill, yeoven at the Guildhall of the saide Cittye
 the last of this present moneth of September 1563.

      Blackwell J.C.

B. Copy in the Journals of a precept for a collection in February
1573/4. _Journals_, XX. I. f. 119.

 By the maio^r.

 [Sidenote: A precept for the collection fo^r the poore.]

 Albeit that, accordinge to the late statute made fo^r releif the
 poore, eu(er)ye personne inhabitinge w^{th}in this city and liberties
 of the same haue byne seu(er)ally taxed, yet the nombe^r of the
 poore is so great that the same colleccons notw^{th}standinge beinge
 faithfully disposed amonge them in this hard tyme many poore,
 impotent, sicke and deseased people lyue in great penury and neede
 redy to be famished fo^r lack of releif. And to thend the sayd poore
 may be charitably provided fo^r, theis shalbe to will and require you
 that you take such order in yo^r ward by yo^r self or by yo^r deputy
 that the churchwarde(n)s of eu(er)y parishe churche w^{th}in yo^r
 sayd ward at everye sermon readinge o^r service in the sayd parishe
 churches collect and gather the devocon and charitable almose of well
 disposed people towardes the releif and maintenaunce of the sayd poore
 to be distributed in suche parishes of this city as hath most neede
 thereof and as shalbe appoynted by suche persons as shalbe named by
 the lord maio^r of this city fo^r the tyme beinge fo^r the distribucon
 of the same. And also that you cause eu(er)y preacher and reder of
 eu(er)y such sermon and readinge and also eu(er)y parsone, vicarre
 and curate of the sayd parishe churches w^{th}in yo^r sayd ward to
 be moued gently to exhort there audience charitably to gyue ther
 almose for the end and purpose afforesayd. And further that you cause
 diligent serch to be made from tyme to tyme through out yo^r sayd ward
 fo^r all such poore as shalbe newly com into yo^r sayd ward out of the
 country o^r ells where. And to take order fo^r thavoydinge of the same
 with all speede, fayle ye not hereof etc. Yeoven at the guildhall of
 the City of London the XVII{th} of february 1573.



EXTRACT relating to the parish of St Peter's of Southgate, from the
census of the poor taken at Norwich recorded in the "Maioris Bocke for
the Pore[733], made in the feaste of St John the Baptiste 1576" and
continued down to 1580.

[733] The "Maioris Bocke for the Pore" and a second large book
at Norwich entitled "The Booke for the Poore," have been already
described. See note, p. 102.

 Theis be the names[734] of the poore within the saide Citie as they
 ware vewed in the yere of our lord god 1570. In the tyme of M^r John
 Alldereche maior.

 [734] From "names" down to "weekelye" is written with a different ink
 from the rest of the entry and was apparently inserted at another time.

              Names of the poore to be relieved weekelye.
                      In St Peters of Southgate.

 [Sidenote: In the house of Robt. Susling. no allmns and vrie pore but
 able to worke]

 Richard Bitche of the age of 35 yeres, a husbondman which worketh with
 Mrs Cantrell and kepith not with his wife (but at tymes) and helpith
 her little. And Margarit his wyfe of the age of 40 yeres she spinne
 white warpe and Jone her doughter, of the age of 12 yeres, that spinne
 allso the same. And Simond her sonne of the age of 8 yeres that goe
 to scoole. And Alice and Faithe? the eldiste of the age of 8 yeres
 and the other of the age of 3 yeres, And haue dwelt here ii yeres and
 sence Witsontyde and haue dwelt moste parte at Banham where thaie ware
 maried and since at Swanton next Norwaltham and Amringall.

 [Sidenote: the house of the gates. iiii^d a weke and verie pore but
 able to worke]

 Peter Browne (porter) a cobler of the age of 50 yeres and hath little
 woorke. And Agnes his wyfe of the age of 52 yeres that workith not,
 but have bene sicke since Christmas (but in helth now) she spinne
 white warpe havinge three doughters, the one of the age of 18 yeres,
 the other of the age of 14 yeres, and the other of the age of 13
 yeres, the which all spinne when they can get it, but now they ar
 without worke: thaie have dwelt here theis twentie yeres, and thaie
 haue one doughter Elizabethe w^{ch} is idle and is sent from service
 where she dwelt with Willm. Nought of Thorp iii quarters of a yere.

 [Sidenote: in the house of his owne but now in morgadge. iiii^d a weke]

 Thomasse Claxon, boote wrighte, is abrode at worke, and comfort his
 wife to his power, and is of the age of 43 yeres, and Anne his wyfe
 that is of the age of 27 yeres, and ii sonnes; the eldiste of the
 age of 4 yeres: she spinne white warp, he hathe dwelt here ever and
 now she lyeth in childebed, and theie be indifferentlie stowred with
 househoulde stuffe.

 Thomas Mathew laborer, who is gonne from his wyfe beinge of the age
 of 40 yeres, from whome she hath no help, and Margarit his wyfe, of
 the age of 32 yeres, and haue no childrene, she spinne white warp, and
 have dwelt here (ever) and knoweth not where her husbond is.

 [Sidenote: in monfor]

 Henrie Bisbioke mason, of the age of 46 yeres, and Elizabeth his wyfe,
 of the age of 30 yeres: and two sonnes the eldist three yeres of age:
 she spinne white warpe.

 [Sidenote: in the first tower. no almns verie pore but able to worke.]

 Willm. Bridges of the age of 40 yeres (a laborer) and Jone his wyfe,
 of the age of 23 yeres, she spinne white warp, havinge one sonne,
 and one doughter: the eldist of the age of 8 yeres, and thaie kepe
 together and haue dwelt here eyght yeres.

 Allso there is Thomas Warde and his wyfe but these liue uppon there

 [Sidenote: At gaywodes. no almns indifferent able to worke.]

 James Taylor, a taylor, of the age of 30 yeres (now in prisonne,
 in the Gylde haule) and Margarit his wyfe, of the age of 30 yeres,
 which spinneth white warp, and was Linstis wyfe that was so longe in
 prisonne and havinge one childe beinge a sonne, of the age of eyght
 yeres theie haue dwelt here since Michelmas, last past, but she liue
 of her labor and dwell w^{th}in Gaywode at monforthes.

 [Sidenote: Calistones house. indifferent no al(m)ns.]

 Thomas Willsonne, of the age of 30 yeres a baskitmaker, and Katherin
 his wyfe of the age of 25 yeres who maketh buttonnes, havinge two
 doughters the eldist of the age of 5 yeres, thaie haue dwelt here ever.

 [Sidenote: Edward Paulms house.]

 Michaell Cocke, of the age of 40 yeres a laborer and[735]     his wyfe,
 of the age of 50 yeres; they liue together, and have dwelt here aboue
 three yeres.

 [735] A space is left in the manuscript.

 [Sidenote: Palmes house. verie pore no allmns.]

 Nicholas Feelde of the age of 30 yeres sometyme a painter, and Beeth?
 his wyfe of the age of 30 yeres who spinne white warp hauinge two
 sonnes, the eldist of the age of 6 yeres, and haue dwelt here ever.

                        IN SOUTH CONNESFORTHE.
         The names of the poore to be relieved weekelye[736].
               St. Andries, St. Edmondes, St. Julianes.

 [736] From "In" to "weekelye" is written in another ink.

 [Sidenote: Indifferent able to worke. no all(m)ns.]

 John Soule of the age of 40 yeres, a laborer, and Alice his wyfe of
 the age of 23 yeres, who spinne white warpe, havinge no children, and
 they liue together and have dwelt here ever.



EXTRACTS from the "Orders for the poor" drawn up in Norwich, 3rd May,

These are entered in a smaller folio volume entitled "The Book for the
poore. Mr John Aldriche maio^r." It concerns the organisation of the
poor in Norwich between the years 1571 and 1580.

 _Orders for the poor._

 [Sidenote: None to begge in payne of vi stripes.]

 "1. Fyrst that no parson or parsons olde or yonge shalbe suffred to go
 abrode after a generall warninge gyven, or be founde a beggynge in the
 stretes at the sermon or at anie mans dore or at anie place within the
 Citie in payne of sixe stripes with a whippe.

 [Sidenote: None to sustayne anie beggars at ther dores in paine of y^e

 2. Not that anie parson or parsons, shall sustayne or fede anye
 such beggers at their dores in payne of such fyne as is appoynted
 by statute and further to paye for everi tyme fower pence, to be
 collected by the deacons, and to go to the use of the poore within the
 seide Citie.

 [Sidenote: A working place at the Normans for men and women.]

 3. Item that at the house called the Normans in the convenienteste
 place therfor, shall be appointed a workinge place, aswell for men as
 for women viz. for the men to be prepard forteyne mawlte quernes to
 grinde mawlte and suche excersises. And for the women to spinne and
 carde and such lyke exersises.

 [Sidenote: Twelve parsons to be set a worke & of ther kepinge &

 Which workinge place shall contayne to sett twelve parsons or more
 upon worke which parsons shall be kepte as presonars to worke for
 meate and drinke for the space of twentie and one dayes at the leaste
 and longer yf cause serve and they shall not eate but as they can
 earne (excepte som frende wyll be bownde for them) that the Citie
 shall nomore be troubled with them with this proviso that such parsons
 as shallbe thether comytted shall be suche as be hable to worke and
 daielie notwithstandinge wyll not worke but rather begge, or be
 withoute master or husbonde, or ellis be vacabowndes or loyterers.

 [Sidenote: The howres to worke both wynter and somer.]

 Whiche parsons shall begynne their woorkes at fyve of the clok in
 somer viz^t from ower Ladie the an(n)unciacion untyll Myhellmes, and
 shall ende ther workes at eight of the cloke at nighte, and in wynter
 to begyn at sixe of y^e cloke from Mihellmes to ower Ladie, and to
 ende ate seven of the cloke at nighte or halfe an hower past with the
 alowaunce of one halfe hower or more to eate and a quarter of an hower
 to spende in prayer.

 [Sidenote: Those sent to bridwel to be by warrante]

 And everye one sent thether shall be by warrente from the maior or his
 deputie or deputies to the balie ther, upon which warrente the balie
 shall be bownde to receive every one so sente and see them sett a

 [Sidenote: punishment for those that will not worke.]

 And those that shall refuse to do their workes to them appointed or
 kepe their howers to be ponissed by the whipp at the discrecion of the
 wardens or balie of the house."

(Other orders relate to the official government of the poor. The
Mayor was to be master of Bridewell, and four aldermen were to be
commissioners of the four great wards. All minor officers were to be
appointed by the commissioners.)

 "_For the balie of Bridewell._

 [Sidenote: Mr John Aldriche maior.]

 [Sidenote: The balie to be apointed to be resident & of his charge.]

 Item upon the seide awcthorite be also appointed another offycer he
 to be called the balie of bridewell, who is to be residente ther with
 his wyfe and famelie, who shall take the charge by inventorie from the
 wardens of all beddinge and other utenciles delyvered unto hym to the
 use of the workefolkes, who shall yerelie accompte with the wardens
 for the same.

 And also shall take charge of such vagabowndes men and woomen as
 to them shall be committed enforcinge them to worke by the Houres
 aforeseide. The men to grinde mawlte and other workes, and the women
 to use their handedede and, except that thei worke, not to eate.

 [Sidenote: What the balie shal take for fewel & victual.]

 And to take of them for their victuall, and fewell, or other
 necessaries as the price shall be rated and ther sett up. And to alowe
 them for their worke by the pownde (or otherwise) as shall be rated
 and sett up and shall use such correccion as is aforeseid.

 And also shall receive all stuffe thether browght and see the same
 trewlye and well used and sawfely delyverid.

 [Sidenote: What sarvantes the balie shal provide.]

 And he to provide hym of such sarvantes as in his abcens or his wyves
 shall see the workes done as it owghte to be and to do the howse
 busynes as washinge, makynge of beddes, bakinge and also to be experte
 in handedede to spynne, carde etc.

 [Sidenote: To provide an officer surveyor to go abrod to areste
 offenders and what y^e surveior shal do.]

 And also to provide one offycer survayor to go daielye abowghte the
 citie, with a staffe in his hande to areste whome that is apte for
 brydewell and brynge them to master maior or to anie of the committies
 be comaunded thether.

 And as he goeth abrode he shall certifie howe the workes in everie
 warde ar ordered and occupied and shal enforme master maior the
 committies or his master therof.

 And he shall resorte to the deacons in everi warde and be aydinge
 unto them to bringe suche as be newe commars into the citie to master
 maior, the same presentlie to be sente away agayne to the place they
 cam from. And lykewise shall bringe all disordered parsons to be
 ponissed to Bridewell yf suche shall dwell in anye warde, and shall
 gyve his whole attendaunce thervppon.

 [Sidenote: What the balie shal be alowed for his fameli.]

 And the seide balie shall be alowed for hym sylfe his wyfe sarvauntes
 and surveyor (yf he shalbe charged with his whole nombre of presoners)
 for meate, drinke and wages thirtie powndes by yere, wherof he shall
 paye fourtie shillinges a yere to a preste to mynister cervis to them
 twise a weke or elles yf he have lesse charge to have after the rate
 as by the discretion of the committies and wardeins of Bridewell shall
 be thowght convenient or as they can agree...."

(The next orders provide that twelve children shall be brought up in S.
Giles' Hospital.)

 "_Orders for children and others in wardes._

 [Sidenote: Everie single warde to have selecte women to receive to
 worke & learning suche as to them shalbe appointed]

 Item, that there be also appoynted by the committies or comissioners
 for every syngle warde so manye selecte women as shal suffyse to
 receyve of persons within that warde, viz. of women, maydens or
 children that shalbe appoynted unto them by the comitties or deacons,
 to worke or learne letters in their house or houses, of the most
 porest children whose parentes are not hable to pay for theyr learinge
 or of women and maydes that lyve ydelye or be disordred to the nomber
 of six, eight, tenne or twelve at the moste in anie one of their

 [Sidenote: their workes howers and correccions.]

 The same to be dryven to worke and lerne, by the howers appoynted in
 bridewell and with such corrections, tyll their handes be browght into
 such use and their bodies to suche paynes as labore and learninge
 shall be easier to them than idleness and as they shall of themselves
 be hable to lyve of their owne workes with their famelies as others do.

 [Sidenote: What the selecte women shal do or se done.]

 [Sidenote: What rewards everie selecte woman shall have & yf she
 refuse, to have twentie daies impresonement.]

 And everie suche selecte woman appoynted to take charge of such
 aforeseide, shall see that suche as to them be comitted shall do ther
 woorkes trewelie and workmanlye and be learned profitablie, or ellis
 to laye sharpe correccion upon them; and everi such selecte woman
 doenge her duetie to teache or cawse to be tawghte or sett a worke, to
 have for her paynes in that behaulfe twentie shillinges by yere everi
 one of them so appoynted and nominated.

 And whoso ever selecte woman so appointed shall refuse the same beinge
 therevnto appoynted, shall suffer imprisonemente by the space of
 twentie dayes at the leaste.

 _Orders for the deacons._

 [Sidenote: Mr John Aldriche Maior.]

 [Sidenote: Deacons in everi ward to be apoynted to have the oversight of y^e
 poore of their warde.]

 [Sidenote: To have the names of y^e warde that have not remained three
 yeris to be sente awaye.]

 [Sidenote: To search onis in a moneth in paine of three shillings &

 Item that in every single warde within this citie be also appoynted
 in that order, fourme and tyme aforesyde twoo civil and experte men
 that wyll be paynefull, the same to be called deacons, whiche twoo in
 everie petie warde appoynted, shall have the oversight of the poore
 of that warde and have the names of them as well of men, women as
 chyldren. And suche as have not remayned three yeris in the Citie to
 certifie the committies therof, to be presentlie sente awaye with
 their families, and also to have a contynuall eye that no more suche
 straungers be suffred here to inhabit as be not hable to lyve of
 themselves, or be lyke to be chargeable to the citie for the which
 they shall make search everi one in their warde onis in a monethe at
 the least vpon payne of three shillinges and fower pence for everi
 tyme doenye the contrarye.

 [Sidenote: Who thei shall certifie to the comitties yt can worke not
 to ronne abowght.]

 And suche as shall have nede and remayne and that the awlmes can not
 suffyse to certifie the seide commytties of their state from tyme to
 tyme as they maye be provided for.

 And the reste that can worke, to se they ronne not abowght abegginge,
 but rather to be sett a worke.

 [Sidenote: Yt wyll not worke to be placed withe the selecte women.]

 Also all those that can and wyll not woorke to se them placed with
 suche selecte women as shall be charged with them and to kepe their
 howers to them appoynted or ellis to see correccion upon them as at
 brydewell (yf they shall refuse the correccon of their dames).

 [Sidenote: To certifie y^e names of disorderid parsons.]

 And also to certifie the nombre of disordered parsons to be ponissed

 [Sidenote: To certifie y^e nomber of children not hable to be
 sustayned of them.]

 And also that the nombre of childrene under age (not hable to worke)
 and that their parentes ar not hable to sustayne to certifie aswel of
 their names ages as places inhabiting to be considerid of.

 [Sidenote: To certifie ye nombre of bigge wenches and boyes to go to

 And also to certifie the nombre of such bygge wenches or boyes as
 maye do cervis, not hable to be kept of their parentes, to be putt to
 cervis accordinge to the statute, and the reste to worke with their
 parentes so as they go not ydelie abowght.

 [Sidenote: Also that begge to be ponissed.]

 And whosoever olde or yonge goinge abowght to begge the same to be
 ponissed as aforesyde.

 [Sidenote: To certifie vagabonds etc. to be ponissed.]

 Also what vagaboundes or ydle loiterers, dronkerdes or disordered
 parsons doth in that warde remayne that they be certified to be
 ponissed also.

 [Sidenote: All moni or other things gyven to be done by the deacons.]

 And that all monye woode or other thinges whatsoever gyven or to be
 gyven to be distributed to the poore maye by them within everie warde
 be trewely done and recorded and the comitties made privie therunto.

 [Sidenote: that refuse to do ther duetye to forfet fortie shillinges.]

 And everi one to this office appoynted and shall refuse to do his
 duetie (in all the premisses) both trewlie and faithefullie, shall
 forfett the some of fortie shillinges the same to go to the vse of the

 [Sidenote: one to continue for twoo yearis.]

 Of the which twoo, one of the same shall ever contynue for twoo yeris
 befor he shall go of, to the ende to enstructe the other.

 [Sidenote: The pore to receive y^e somes wekely apointed.]

 Itm yt is also orderid that the pore in everie warde shall receyve
 suche somes of money as is to them wekelie assigned at the handes at
 everie of the forseide deacons.

 [Sidenote: All giftes colleccons legaces to go to the use of the pore.]

 Item yt is also orderid that all gyftes colleccions, legacis, or
 benevolenses gyven or bequethed to the use of the poore, shall go to
 the use aforeseyde, and as ellis hereafter shall be thowght mete, to
 prepare woode or other fewell to sustayne the poore in wynter or to
 prepare them howses to dwell in or for anie other necessitie or to
 purchase some certentie of landes to maynteyne the same.



 REPORT concerning scarcity from Norfolk, 1586 (_Dom. State Papers_,
 Queen Eliz., Vol. 191, No. 12).

The following is the Report returned to the Council by the justices of
Norfolk on July 11, 1586, and also a part of one of seven certificates
which they enclose. It is addressed on the back "To the right
honourable our singuler good Lordes the Lordes of her Ma^{t's} most
honourable priuie councell," and is endorsed "11 July 1586 Justices of
peace in Norff. Price of graine."

 "May yt please your honours, after the remembraunce of our humble
 duities to be aduertized; that for a further proceedinge in the
 accomplishm^t of your honourable l[ett]res concerninge the furnishing
 of the markets w^{th} corne, wee haue according to our former
 l[ett]res of the ix^{th} of June laste, mette here together this day
 for conference therein. And pervseinge all our notes and preceedings
 together, wee fynd that thoroughe oute this sheire by suche order as
 wee haue taken withe owners and farmers and also Badgers and buyers
 of corne and graine, the markets are by them plentiefullie sarued
 everie market day withe corne, and the same solde at resonable rates,
 viz. wheat at xxii s. the quarter, rie at xvi s., maulte at xiiii s.
 and barley at xii s. of whiche kyndes of corne, the poorer sorte are
 by perswasion sarued at meaner pryces. And so wee dowbte not but yt
 shall likwyse contynue acco(r)ding to our direction vntill yt shall
 please god that new corne may be vsed. And hereof thinking yt best in
 performaunce of our duities to aduertize your honours wee humblie take
 our Leave. From Attlebrigge the xi^{th} of Julie 1586.

 Your ho: humble at comaundment

  Willm. Heydon.                    Willm. Paston.
  Clement Paston.                   Tho. Tomiested.
  Natha. Bacon.     Henrye Gawdye.  Willm. Rugges.
  Christ^r Heydon.  Morr. Bernye.   Henry Helmerton."

The following is a portion of one of the seven certificates enclosed:

  Southgrenhoo   "The certyficat of Willm. Hawke and
  hundrethe      Robt. Co(n)stable, Chieff Constables of y^e
                 said hundreth of all y^e corne and grayn
                 found by them vppon serche w^hin ye seid
                 hundrethe xxth of June 1586."

The report concerns twenty places of which North Pukenham is one.

  |                  |           |     Messelyng     |    Malt     | Y^e No(m)ber | Y^e corne to |
  | North Pukeh(a)m  |   Wheat   |       & Rye       |   barley    |    of y^e    |   (er)ve ye  |
  |                  |           |                   |             |    Persons   |     m^rket   |
  | Frances Reynolds |           |        l cobs     |    x cobs   |      10      |              |
  | John Cuves       |    i cobs |     iiij cobs     |  iij cobs   |       3      |              |
  | John Constable   |   ii      |     iiij          |  iii        |       7      |              |
  | John Egglynge    | iiij      |        v          |  iij        |       6      |              |
  | John Callibut    |   ii      |      iij          |             |       9      |              |
  | John Samlyng     |    v      |        v          |             |       4      |              |
  | James Wryght     |   ij cobs |     viii cobs     |    v cobs   |       6      |              |
  |                  |           |      iii cobs     |  iii cobs   |              |              |
  | Sm^a totall      | xvi^{co}. | iiij^{xx} ij^{co} | xxvii^{co}. |              |              |


 PART of a draft of orders for remedying the scarcity of corn in 1586
 (Lansdowne MSS. Brit. Mus., No. 48, f. 128).

The following draft is found among the Burleigh papers. It is written
on four folio sheets on both sides, for the most part in an official
hand, but throughout it is corrected in Burleigh's own hand, and the
last portion is written entirely by him.

The orders here contained must have been substantially the same
as those issued and printed by order of the Privy Council on Jan.
4, 1586/7 since a series of reports dated in 1587 answer these
instructions point by point[737]. Most of these regulations were
suggested by the three judges, Popham, Mildmay and Manwood, to whom the
matter had been referred. Their report was considered and annotated by
Burleigh, and the following draft seems to have been based on their

[737] See above, pp. 89, 90.

[738] See above, p. 86.

Already several times during the reigns of Edward and Elizabeth similar
sets of orders had been issued in order to prevent a bread famine in
years of high-priced corn. Earlier in this year of 1586 commands had
already been sent, and reports had been received from the justices.
These orders however were more carefully considered and detailed than
any previous commands.

Orders of this kind continued to be issued throughout the reigns of
Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I., but these of January 1586/7 were
thought to have the best effect and were reprinted and reissued in
1594[739]. They thus seem to be the original form of the scarcity Book
of Orders which apparently afterwards suggested the Book of Orders for
the relief of the Poor of Jan. 1630/1.

[739] See above, p. 119.

A few of the later clauses only of this draft relate directly to the
relief of the poor, and the general character of the instructions
given in these contrast strongly with the detailed directions dealing
with the supply of grain. This bears out the contention that at this
time the direct relief of the poor was only subsidiary to the indirect
relief afforded to the poorer classes by these measures for the supply
of corn: it also indicates that the interference of the Privy Council
in the direct relief of the poor was suggested by the distress and
disorder of these years of high-priced grain, and was begun at least as
early as 1587, as one of the methods which were adopted to relieve that

Lansdowne MSS. 48, f. 128, No. 54, 27 Decembris 1586.

 _Orders devised by y^e speciall comma(n)ddment of y^e Qu. Ma^{ty}
 for y^e releiff and ease of y^e present derth of gray(ne) w^hin y^e

 [740] The portion printed in italics is written in Burleigh's own hand.

 That the Sheriffe and Justices of the peace _by spedy warni(n)g of y^e
 shyrriff_ shall ymediatlie vppon the receipte of these _orders_[741]
 assemble themselues togeather, w^{th} as much speede as they possible
 maye, and havinge conferred amongest them selves vppon the contents
 hereof, shall first for the better execucon of _the same_ devide them
 selves into sondry companies and take amongest them _into ther chardg
 by_ seu(er)all divisions _all_ the hundreds, rapes or wapentaks of the
 said countie.

 [741] "Instruccons" is deleted.

 Itm eu(er)y Companie so allotted out shall forthw^{th} direct
 their preceptes vnto the said Sheriff to warne the high cunstables
 vnder cunstables and others the most honest _and substa(n)ciall_
 inhabitants w^{th}in the same hundred, rape or wapentake to the
 number of xxxvi persons, moe or fewer as the quantetie of the hundred
 rape or wapentake shall require, to appere before them, at a certayn
 place and w^{th}in as shorte a tyme after the receipte hereof as
 they convenientlie may, and vppon the apparance of the said persons,
 they shall divide them into so many Juries as they shall thinke
 meete, gevinge instruccon to the said Sheriffe to retorne as fewe of
 such as _be known great firmers for corn or_ haue store of grayne
 to sell as he can; and such of the same _perso(n)s so warned_ as
 shall not appeare, but make default beinge somoned, and not havinge
 any _just or_ reasonable excuse _allowable by y^e justices_, to be
 punished therefore at the good discrecons of the justices _both by
 i(m)priso(n)m(e)nt and fyne_ before _whom_ they are to appere.

 Itm. they shall _first declare y^e cause why they ar sent for and
 therw^h ernestly chardg them in the feare of God to apply themselves
 to the s(er)vice wherevnto they shall be now called w^h all
 dutyfullnes and dilige(n)ce and w^hout any parciallyte to any person
 and the(n) they shall gyve them the oth followy(n)g_:--

 _The Juries Oth._

 Yo^u shall sweare &c that yo^u shall enquire and make trewe and dewe
 search and triall what nomber of persons eu(er)ye housholder that
 hath corne _in thir barns, stacks or otherwher_ aswell Justices of
 the peace as others _what so ever_ w^{th}in the parish of       have
 in their houses, (fedyng and lye(in)g and vprisyng?); what nomber of
 acres they haue _certenly_ to be sowen this yere w^{th} any mann(er) of
 grayne; what bargaynes they haue made w^{th} any person for any kynde
 of grayne to be sold by or to them; to whome and by whome and vppon
 what prices they haue made the same and what quantetie of any mann(er)
 of grayne they or any other haue in their barnes, garners, lofts,
 cellers or flowers or otherwise to be deliu(er)ed vnto them uppon any

 I^{tm} what nomber of badgers, kidders, broggers[742] or cariers of
 corne doe inhabite w^{th}in the said parishe and whither they doe vse
 to carrie their corne they buy and _wher they do vsually buy the same_
 and what their names be _and how long they have vsed_ _that trade, and
 by whose lycense, and to se the same lycenses of what tenor they ar

 [742] Badgers, kidders and broggers were all names applied to dealers,
 especially to dealers in corn and other provisions. By the 5 and 6
 Edw. VI. c. 14 badgers and kidders or kyddiers licensed by three
 justices were exempted from the penalties attached to forestallers and
 regrators; no one not so licensed might buy corn to sell again. In a
 statute of Elizabeth (5 Eliz. c. 12) they are again mentioned and the
 conditions of their license were made more stringent; no one was to be
 licensed unless he were a resident householder and the licensed dealer
 had to place security with the Clerk of the Peace that he would not
 forestall or engross corn. The words "badger" and "kidder" continued
 to be used in the licenses granted to corndealers as late as the
 eighteenth century. The word "brogger" does not occur so frequently.
 Murray states that it is apparently an unexplained corruption of
 broker, and he quotes Stow's Survey (1754), II. V. XV. "They were
 called Broggers in a statute of Richard II.--none to be Brocars in any
 mystery unless chosen by the same mystery." See also 25 Hen. VIII. c.
 1, where the word is applied to a seller of meat.

 Itm what nomber of malte makers, bakers, comen brewers _or
 tiplers_[743] dwell w^{th}in the said parish and whoe they are _by
 name and how long they have vsed y^t trade and how much they bake or
 brew in y^e weke and what other trade they have wherby otherwise to

 [743] See note, p. 69.

 Itm. whoe w^{th}in the same parishe be the greate buyers of corne or
 _do (usually?)_ buye or have bought any corne or grayne to sell agayne
 or haue sold it agayne _sence Midsomer last_.

 Itm whoe w^{th}in the same parishe buyeth or haue bought or sold any
 corne vppon the ground, of whome and to whome hath the same bene
 bought or sold _and at what pryces_, and to c(er)tefie vnto vs of the
 premisses & of eu(er)ye parte thereof on the daye of       nowe next
 comynge, and _to every part of these articles you shall  bryng answer
 fro(m) poy(n)t to poynt_[744]....

 [744] The clause here omitted provides for the punishment of any
 person who should refuse to give information to the jurors. He was
 first to be "heavily rebuked"; if he still refused to tell the whole
 truth he was to be committed to prison; and if he remained obstinate
 he was to be brought before the Privy Council for further punishment
 and fine.

 That the said Justices of the peace, havinge receaved into their hands
 the verdicts of the said Juries _on every and to every poynt of ther
 chardg_, shall call at c(er)ten dayes by them to be assigned such
 persons before them of eu(er)ye parish as vppon the presentment so
 made shall appere to haue corne to spare, and vppon _dew_ consideracon
 of the nomber of persons w^{ch} ech hath in his howse _accordy(n)g
 to ther qualites_, and of the quantetie of grayne the partie hath
 toward the fyndinge of the same or otherwise to be spent in his howse
 and sowinge of his groundes, allowinge to eu(er)y housholder for his
 expenses in his house for eu(er)ye person thereof _accordy(n)g to
 ther qualite_ sufficient corne for bread and drinke betwyne this and
 the next harvest and for their seed after the rate of the sowinge of
 that contrie vppon an acre. _And tha(t)_ they shall bynd all such as
 shall appere to haue more of any kynde of grayne then shall serve to
 the vses above menconed aswell Justices of the peace as others by
 recognizance in some _good_ reasonable somes _of mony_ to observe the
 orders ensueinge viz.

 [Sidenote: The forme of the recognizance to be frely taken.]

 Ye doe knowledge yo^r self to owe vnto o^r Sou(er)aigne Ladie the
 Queenes Ma^{ties} &c. the some of &c. The condicon thereof shalbe,
 that yf ye shall well and trewlie w^{th}out fraude, covyn[745] or
 collusyon, and w^{th}out any mean deceipte or crafte, fullfill,
 observe and keepe all and eu(er)ye such orders, appoynctments and
 direccons as shall at this pre(se)nte be by vs on her Ma^{t's} behalf
 prescribed and enioyned vnto yo^u, to be by yo^u donne and fulfilled
 Then this recognizance to be voyd or els to stand in force.

 [745] I.e. collusion. The word is connected with old French _covenir_,
 modern _convenir_, to agree. It sometimes means agreement, but often,
 as here, has an unfavourable connotation.

 The orders to be by yo^u observed be these viz.

 Yo^u shall bringe or cause to be brought weekelye so many quarters or
 bushells of corne as wheate, rye, barlie, malte, pease, beanes, or
 other grayne, or so much thereof as shall not be _directly_ sold to
 the pore artificers or daye laborers of the parishe w^{th}in w^{ch}
 yo^u dwell by order of the Justice of the peace of the division
 w^{th}in w^{ch} yo^u do dwell or of two of them, to the market of
       there to be by yo^u or at yo^r assignement  sold vnto the
 Queenes subiects in open markett by half quarters, two bushells, one
 bushell or lesse as the buyer shall require of yo^u and not in greater
 quantetie, excepte it be to a Badger or carier of corne admitted
 accordinge to the statut, or to a comon knowen bruer _or_ baker,
 havinge testimonye vnder the hand and seale of some _twoo_ justices of
 the peace _at ye lest_ of the division or _of a_ mayo^r or other hed
 officer of the Cittie, Towne or Borrough _corporat_ where he dwelleth
 that he is a _co(mm)en_ Brewer _or_ Baker w^{th}in the same, or to
 such other person as shall make provision for any Lord sp(irit)uall
 or temporall, knighte or other gentleman _y^t hath no provisio(n)
 of corn of ther own so as y^e former person_ hav & show vnto such
 person as shall haue the over sighte of the markett in that behalf
 testymonye vnder the hand and Seale of the partie for whome _he cometh
 to y^e market_ to make that provision declaringe that it is for the
 provision of his howse and conteyninge the quantetie & kynd of grayne
 to be provided: and yo^u shall not willinglie leave any parte of yo^r
 corne, so brought to that market, vnsold yf money be offered to yo^u
 fo(r) th(e) same by any that are permitted to buy the same after the
 vsuall price of the markett there that daye, _nether shall you fro(m)
 y^e begy(n)ning of y^e markett to y^e full end therof kepe or cause
 to_ _be kept any part of your sayd corn out of y^e oppen sight of y^e

 [746] The clauses here omitted relate to the safe housing of the
 unsold corn after the market, and to the remedying of miscalculations
 as to the quantity of corn the farmer has to sell.

 Ye shall buye noe corne to sell it agayne.

 Ye shall neyther buy nor sell any mann(er) of corne but in the open
 market, vnlesse the same be to pore handiecraftesmen or dayelaborers
 w^{th}in the parish where yo^u doe dwell y^t _can not conveniently
 come to y^e markett towns by reaso(n) of dista(n)ce of place,
 accordinge_ to such direccon as shalbe geven vnto yo^u in that behalf
 by the Justices of the peace of that division w^{th}in w^{ch} yo^u doe
 dwell or two of them, and to none of these above one bushell at a tyme.

 That the Justices of the peace w^{th}in their seu(er)all divisions
 haue speciall regard that engrossers of corne be carefully seene vnto
 and severely punished accordinge to the lawe, and wher such are found,
 to make certificate thereof and of the proves to the _Q. Ma^{ty's}_
 Attorney gen(er)all for the tyme beinge whoe is directed _spedeli_
 to informe against them for the same and _to se also_ that none be
 permitted to buy any corne to sell agayne but by _speciall_ license.

 That they take order w^{th} the comen bakers[747] for the bakinge
 of Rye, barlie, pease and beanes for the vse of the pore, and that
 they appoyncte speciall and fytt persons diligentlie to see their
 people well dealt w^{th}all by the _co(mm)en_ bakers and Brewers in
 all Townes and places in their weight and ass(ize) and effectually to
 enquire for and search out the default therein, and there-vppon to
 geve order for punishment of the offendo^{rs} severely accordinge to
 the lawe, _and wher any notable offe(n)ce shall be in the bakers to
 cause y^e bread to be sold to y^e porar sort vnder y^e ordynary pryces
 in part of punishment of y^e baker_.

 [747] Lord Burleigh has here underlined for omission the following
 words: "that the bread they bake of wheate only be all of one sort
 w^{th}out takinge out of any of the flower for a fyner sort dueringe
 this tyme of dearth and."

 That noe Badgers of corne, bakers _or_ Brewers doe buy any grayne
 or couinne[748] or bargayne for the same but in the tyme of open
 markette, and that but by license vnder the hande of the Justices
 of the division where they doe dwell or three of them, and that
 they weekely bringe their license w^{th} them to the markett where
 they doe eyther buye or sell, and that the license conteyne how
 much grayne, of what kynde and for what place they are licensed to
 buy and carrie, that there be set downe vppon the license the daye,
 place, quantetie and price the corne is bought at, that they take but
 measurablie for the cariadge bakinge and brewinge thereof, that they
 showe their booke weekely to such, as the Justice of the division
 wherein they dwell shall appoyncte, beinge noe bakers _or_ Badgers of
 Corne. And that those _p(er)so(n)s_ eu(er)ye xiiii dayes make reporte
 to the Justice of the division wherein they dwell how the people are
 dealt w^{th}all by the badgers, bakers and Brewers. And that such as
 have otherwyse sufficient to lyve on _or that ar knowen to be of any
 crime or evill behavor_ be not permitted to be badgers of corne, nor
 any badgers to be permitted but such as the statut doth lymitt, and
 that none be permitted to buy or provide corne in the market in grosse
 as badger or baker and such lyke, _uppo(n) payn of i(m)prisonm^t,
 vntill_ one hower after the full markett _be begon_ that the pore
 _may_ be first served.

 [748] I.e. agree. See note above.

 That the said Justices or _twoe or_ one of them at the least in
 eu(er)ye division shalbe personallie presente at eu(er)ye market
 w^{th}in their seu(er)all divisions to see the orders to be taken by
 thauctoretie hereof to be well observed and the pore people provided
 of necessarie corne _and that w^has much favor in y^e pryces as by
 ernest perswasio(n) of y^e justyces may be obteyned_[749]....

 [749] The clause here omitted provides that, if there are not enough
 justices in any part the Sheriff and Justices of the peace shall
 appoint some "other grave, honest and substanciall persons" to carry
 out the orders.

 That all good meanes and perswasions be vsed by the Justices in
 their seu(er)all divisions that the pore may be served of corne at
 convenyent and charitable prices.

 That there be noe buyenge or bargayninge for any kynd of corne but
 in open market, and that the justices in their seu(er)all divisions
 restrayne comen malsters of makinge barlie malte in those contries and
 places where there be otes sufficient to make malte of, for the use
 of the people, and to restrayne, aswell the brewinge of barlie malte
 by or for Alehouses or Comen Tiplers in those contries and places,
 as also the excesse vse of any kynde of malte by all comen brewers
 in all alehouses and comen Tipling howses wheresoeu(er), and that
 sufficient bondes be taken of all comen brewers, malsters and comen
 Tiplers accordinge to the trewe meaninge of this article, and that
 the unnecessarie nomber of Alehouses and comen Tipplers be forthw^{th}
 suppressed in all places and _y^t direction be gyven to all typlyng
 howses, taverns and alehouses not to suffer any perso(n)s to repayre
 thyther to eate and drynk at unseasonable tymes_.

 That the Justices vse all other good meanes _that ar not me(n)tioned
 in these orders that the_ marketts be well served and the pore
 releyved in their provisions dueringe this tyme of dearth _and y^t no
 expe(n)ce be of any gray(ne), mete for bread to fede men, be wasted
 vppo(n) fedyng of bestts, neither y^t any be spent in maky(n)g of
 a stuff called sterch, as of late theyr hath bene discovered great
 qua(n)tite expe(n)ded in that vayne matter being in no sort to be
 suffred to contynew_.

 That the justices be straightlie comaunded to see by all good meanes
 that the able people be set on worke, the howses of Correction
 provided and furnished and there ydle vagabonds _to be_ punished.

 That the Justices doe their best to have convenient stocke to be
 provided in eu(er)ye division or other place, accordinge to the statut
 for settinge the pore a worke, and the justices to vse all other good
 and politique meanes w^{th}in their seu(er)all divisions to contynewe
 and maynteyne the pore people in worke w^{th}in the parish or at the
 furthest w^{th}in the hundred or division.

 That the _maymed or hurt_ soldiers and all other impotent persons
 be carefullye seene vnto to be releived w^{th}in their seu(er)all
 parishes, hundreds or divisions, accordinge to the lawe _therfor
 provyded_, and that where the provisions form(er)lye made be not
 sufficient it may be _now for this tyme of derth_ increased; and where
 one parishe is not able to geve sufficient releife to such their pore,
 that parrishe to haue the supplye of such parishes nere adioyninge
 as have fewer pore and are better able to geve releife, _and that no
 vagabond or sturdy beggar or any y^t may otherwise gett ther lyving by
 ther labors be not suffred to wander abrod under coller of beggy(n)g
 in any town or high waye, and y^t the Justyces do presently gyve order
 that ther be p(er)so(n)s sufficiently weaponed to asist the constables
 of every town to attach such vagabo(n)ds both in ther towns side and
 high wayes and to com(m)itt them to prison w^hout bayle, but as twoe
 of y^e justyces of y^e peace n^r y^t divisio(n) shall order, and if
 the townshipp shall not obs(er)ve this order for y^e attachy(n)g and
 punisy(n)g of y^e sayd vagabo(n)ds then the justyces shall se due
 punishme(n)t by fyne uppo(n) the whole townshipp or uppo(n) such
 partyes in y^e town as shall be found in fault_.

 That the Justices of the peace doe once eu(er)ye moneth c(er)tefie
 their doings and proceadings by force of these Instruccons vnto the
 Sheriffe of the said countie, in w^{ch} c(er)tificat they shall
 also make c(er)tificat of such Justices as shalbe absent from any
 these services and the trewe cause of their absence, and shall also
 c(er)tefie the vsuall prices of all kyndes of grayne in their marketts
 for that moneth past, of all w^{ch} the same Sheriffe to c(er)tefie
 the privie Counsell once in eu(er)ye fortie dayes at the farthest, _so
 as y^t defalt in any justyce y^t shal be absent may be duly considered
 and corrected by authorety of hir Ma^{t's} counsell as reaso(n) shall
 req(u)ir and so as such perso(n)s as ar placed as Justyces for ther
 creditt may not contynew in those roomes, wherin they shall be found
 not disposed to attend such a necessary and Godly servyce as this is,
 but y^t others of better dispositio(n) may supply those roomes, if
 ther shall be ned of any such no(m)ber, as in most places is thorght
 not very nedefull, the nornber being in co(mm)on opinio(n) more
 hurtful tha(n) proffitable to Justyce_.

 And, yf any shall offend against the trewe meaninge of these
 instruccons or of any parte thereof or shall vse any sinister means to
 the defraudinge thereof, that such be severely punished accordinge to
 the lawes, and for such obstinat persons as shall not conforme them
 selves the Justices shall at their pleasure bynd to appere before _y^e
 Q. Ma^{t's}_ privie Counsell _by a daye certen_ there to be further
 dealt w^{th} _by sever_ punishment for the better ensample of _all_

 [750] The rest of the manuscript contains a clause in Burleigh's
 hand which provides that justices of the peace shall act with other
 commissioners and prevent the transportation of grain and shall
 also be jointly responsible with the commissioners for the proper
 performance of this duty. The rest consists of rough jottings
 in Burleigh's hand concerning some additional matters such as
 "Tr(a)nsport of beans," "Recusants mo(n)y," &c.


ACCOUNTS of the Churchwardens and Overseers of the parish of
Staplegrove, Co. Somerset, for the year 1599 (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS.

The accounts of the overseers of Staplegrove have been preserved for
several years between 1599 and 1623 (1599, 1605, 1621, 1622, and 1623).
The churchwardens' accounts also remain and begin as early as 1585 and
in some of these also payments to the poor are noted[751].

[751] Thus in the account rendered July 21st, 1588, by one churchwarden
several items of the kind occur, e.g.

  Item to a poore blynde man the v^{th} of February              iij^d.
  It. to a poore woman the xiiij^{th} of February                iij^d.
  It. to the poore howse at Lamporte the x^{th} day of November  iij^d.
  It. to a poore souldyour                                       iij^d. &c.

Later the churchwardens apparently always made a payment of 5_s._ every
half-year to the constables for lame soldiers and hospitals.

This account is of course made under the provisions of the Act of 1597
(39 Eliz. c. 3)[752].

[752] See p. 76.

 The accounts of the churchwardens and overseeors of the poore in the
 parishe of Stapelgrove for the eyare last past. This account stood
 before her maeistis Justis on the xj daye of apreill in Anno Domini

 A noot what every man hath paid to this colletion this whole eyar that
 was set weekly to the poore.

  George Poyre                                 xj^s.
  John Wuse.                                   xviii^s.
  Anthone Gonson                               ix^s. ij^d.
  John Chattocke                               xiiij^s. viii^d.
  Thomas Harris                                vii^s. iiii^d.
  Robert Parsons                               xi^s.
  Will. Cole                                   iij^s. viii^d.
  Richard Nelcomb                              v^s. vi^d.
  John Sindercomb                              iij^s. iij^d.
  William Davy                                 ii^s. ix^d.
  Harry Chattocke                              iii^s. viii^d.
  Bartholmew Sindercomb                        xxii^d.
  William Hit before hee had his apprentis     viii^s. iiii^d.
  Thomas Perrett before hee had his apprentis  v^s.
  Wat Gale before he had his apprentis.        vi^s. viii^d.
  John Chattocke before he had his apprentis   vi^s. viii^d.

  Som. of v^{li}. xviij^s. x^d.

 A noet of every mans name that keepe anei poore body and them that
 hath taken apprentisses

  Roger Smyth kepeth William Harvy, Impot.
  Water Knight kepeth Christine Fort, Impot.
  Nicholas Cornishe kepeth Harry Gale as apprentis.
  John Chattocke tholder kepeth Jone Rison as apprentis.
  William Hit kepeth Mamwell Brice as apprentis.
  Thomas Perrot kepeth Margery Huis as apprentis.
  Walter Gale kepeth Jone Huis as apprentis.

 The namis of them that paieth quarterly to the poore and what every
 one of them hath paid the whole eyar.

  first M^r. John Switteinge  xii^s.
  John Decon                  xii^s.
  Hugh Farthinge              xii^s.
  Andrew Crosse               vii^s.
  William Whitt               i^s. vi^d.
  Mr. George Hill             i^s. vi^d.
  Water Duddroge              iii^s.
  Water Shut                  vi^s.
  Mr. Goorge Fenwell          i^s.
  Robert Westcomb             xxi^d.
  Robert Farthinge            iij^s. vi^d.
  John Parsons                ii^s. ix^d.
  William Wilse               i^s. vi^d.
  Thomas Slape                i^s.
  Thomas Rooch                iii^s.
  William Corvenell           ii^s. vi^d.
  Mr. John Gibbones           i^s. vi^d.
  John Ollyver                vi^d.
  Robert Soger                i^s. vi^d.
  M^r. Jamis Clarke           ii^s.
  Thomas Brice                i^s. iii^d.
  Bartholmew Farthinge        xviii^d.

  Som. of iiii^{li}.

  The whole
  resowte for     Som. of ix^{li}. xviii^s. x^d.
  this yeare

 The namis of all them that haue receved collection and euery one of
 them haue Receved as followith.

  first Jone Cole haue reseved               xxix^s.
  Richard Rison & his wyfe Reseved           lvii^s.
  John Gould Reseved                         xiiii^s. ii^d.
  Christian Fort Reseved                     xii^s.
  Jone Gale the wyfe of Richard Gale         xii^s.
  Margret Brice the wyfe of John Brice       vi^s. viii^d.
  Jane Hues the wyfe of Thom. Hues           xviii^d.
  Wilmoth Hunt                               xii^d.
  Johane Rison                               xii^d.
  To Roger Smyth for that his land is      } viii^s. vi^d.
    charged in St. Jamis                   }
  To Christian Fort in her sicknis and for }  iii^s. ix^d.
    wood                                   }
  To John Gould's buriall                     xii^d.
  To the tithingman for releivinge the     }
    poore strangers that were broght to    }  xii^d.
    hem                                    }
  Wee haue laid out before Christmas for   }
    Clothers for the poore & for wood and  }  xxxviii^s.
    parrell for the apprenteses            }

  disburssed som of                           ix^{li}. vi^s. vii^d.
    so there is remayninge in ou^r hande      xii^s. iii^d.


  Hugh Portman.
  John Colles.
  John Frances.
  Thomas Beaton.
  Thomas Perett & Bartholmew Sindercomb.


  Richer Smyth, Water Knight.
  Nicholas Cornish & John Chattocke.


ORDERS made by the justices responsible for Aylesham and Reipham, Co.
Norfolk, 23rd October, 1622 (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., No. 12,496, f. 222).

The following orders were enclosed with a letter of Dec. 7th, 1622,
written by John Rycherds, one of the justices of Norfolk, to Sir
Julius Caesar[753]. Sir Julius had sent this justice the letters of
the Privy Council, regulating alehouses and the strength of beer, the
19th October, 1622, and had asked him to report as to the condition of
the country with regard to the supply of corn. John Rycherds states
that these orders had been made in the "Lymitt" where he served before
the receipt of the letter and that they dealt with all the matters
commanded in the Council's letter. After the letter had been received,
however, the matters named were again "given in perticuler charge."

[753] See above, p. 295.

Both the letter and these enclosed orders form part of the Caesar

 [Sidenote: Norff.]

 Orders conceaved and put in Execucon at Aylesham and Reipham the
 xviij^{th} and xxiij^{th} of October 1622, by the Justices of the
 Peace for the Lymitt in the Hundreds of Eynesford and South Erpinham
 in the said Cownty as followeth.

 [Sidenote: 39^o Eliz. 16.]

 That the greatest Malsters and Ingrossers of Barly be suppresed in
 parte or in the whole, whereby much Barly may be staied from maltinge,
 for bread for the poore, which is nowe wastfullye consumed in stronge
 Beere vpon riotous drunkards while the poore Labourers want bread.

 [Sidenote: 23^o Hen. 8^o 4^o. 2^o Jac. 4^o. 4^o Jac. 4 & 5.]

 That Brewers be not permitted to sell Beere to Alehowsekeepers aboue
 the rates of 6^s 8^d a barrell, the best, & iiij^s iiij^d the small,
 accordinge to the rates agreed vpon at the gen(er)all Sessions of
 the peace houlden at the Castle of Norw^{ch} at Easter last. And
 that they brewe aswell small beare as stronge, and be restrayned from
 makinge of Malt.

 [Sidenote: 51^o H. 3. 51 Ed. 1[754].]

 [754] Probably intended for the 13 Ed. I.

 That Bakers keepe the Assise of bread accordinge to the price of
 corne, that they bake but the three sorts of bread appointed by the
 lawe and sell but 13 to the doz. That Cakes and Finger breade be
 restrayned in Innes and Alehowses.

 [Sidenote: 8^o H. 6. 5^o. 10 H. 7. 4^o.]

 That Troy weights be provided in Townes where Bakers do dwell and
 where they utter bread, and that the Constables w^{th} the overseers
 of the poore there, doe weekelie weigh and survey the bread baked
 there or brought thither.

 [Sidenote: 39^o Eliz. 4^o. 43^o Eliz. 3^o. 7^o Jac. 4^o.]

 That poore people be not permitted to wander and begge out of the
 parishe where they dwell but kept at worke and that worke be prouided
 for those that cannot gett worke themselues and that such be compelled
 to doe their worke well that the stocke be not consumed.

 That poore children be put to Schoole to knittinge and spinninge
 dames, and the Churchwardens and Ouerseers for the poore to paie the
 Schoole dames their wages, where the parents are not able.

 [Sidenote: 39^o Eliz. 4^o. 43^o Eliz. 3^o. 1^o Jac. 7^o. 7^o Jac. 4^o.
 11^o H. 7. 2^o. 5 & 6 E. 6. 25^o.]

 Rogues and wanderers to be corrected and ordered accordinge to lawe,
 and the constables to be punished that do neglect y^t, for they are
 the Roguemakers.

 Superfluous Alehowses to be both suppressed and kept downe, and that
 none be permitted to be Alehowsekeepers but those that are licensed by
 the gen(er)all consent of the Justice of the Lymitt, that best knowe
 both the conveniency of the places, the necessitie of an Alehowse
 there, and the abilitie and condicon of the Alehowsekeeper, and
 accordinge to the Articles heretofore agreed vpon betwene the Judges
 of the Assises for that County and subscribed by the Justices of the
 peace there.

 [Sidenote: 1^o Eliz. 2. 23 Eliz. 1^o. 1^o Jac. 9. 4 & 5 Jac. 4 & 5. 7
 Jac. 10. 3 Jac. 4^o. 5 E. 6.]

 That all the good Lawes ordained for the goverment of Alehowses
 licensed and vnlicensed the Alehowsekeepers, the Brewers, (who are
 the principall Causers both of the excessive nomber and of the great
 disorders in those howses), the idle Tipplers, the blasphemours,
 drunkards or excessive drinkers and the Absent from Church be seuerely
 and constantly put and kept in Execucon.

 That the Lawes against Ingrossers, Forestallers and Regrato^{rs}
 of Corne & victualles be looked vnto and the offenders punished
 accordinge to the Lawes.

 For all or most of these there are good Lawes prouided, if the
 Justices w^{th} one gen(er)all Consent be carefull to putt their
 lief vnto them. But there is one other mayne inconvenience w^{ch}
 to remedie will require power from the ho^{ble} Board, and that is,
 That the great owners of Corne aswell farmo^{rs} as others do not
 thresh out their owne Corne, but buy all they spend or Sowe either
 at the Marketts or of poore small farmo^{rs} that are constrayned to
 sell nowe and yett must buy againe before Harvest next for their owne
 expence w^{ch} doth both encrease the prices of all grayne, and by
 that meanes all the Corne is brought into a fewe handes who then make
 the prices at their owne pleasure. If theis things be provided for
 and duly putt in execucon, there wilbee Corne enough found and spared
 for the people of our Countrey w^{th}out inquiringe or examininge
 perticuler mens store, w^{ch} doth but discouer the want and there bie
 inhaunce the prices, but augments not the store.


REPORT of the justices from Lackford and the half hundred of Exning
February 7th, 1622/3. Dom. State Papers James I. Vol. 142. 14. 1.

The following is one of nine reports forwarded by the Sheriff of
Suffolk to the Lords of the Privy Council on April 2nd, 1623.

All nine returns together with many others were sent in reply to
orders of the Privy Council issued in consequence of the distress in
1622-3[755]. If we compare this reply with the draft of the orders
corrected by Burleigh in 1586 (App. V.), we shall see that the orders
issued in 1623 must have been substantially the same as those of
1586/7. This report also shows, like the orders themselves, that the
direct relief of the poor was improved in consequence of the measures
of the years of scarcity.

[755] See above, p. 145 seq.

 [Sidenote: Suff.]

 A Certificate to y^e right hono^{ble} y^e Lords and others of his
 Ma^{ties} most hono^{ble} Priuie Councell.

 The quantitie of corne and grayne w^{th}in y^e hundred of Lackeford
 and y^e halfe hundred of Exninge, taken y^e 7th. day of Februarie
 a(nn)o regni regis Jacobi Angliæ 20^o a(nn)oq(ue) d(omi)ni 1622 by
 presentm^t, and inquiry of a Jury in y^e said hundred and halfe
 accordinge to his Ma^{ties} booke, is as followeth.

 Inprim. in wheate two hundred fiue score and ten Com^{bs} and thre

 In Rye thre thousand and two combes.

 In Barly eight thousand thre hundreth and fiftie fiue com^{bs}.

 In Malte foure thousand, twenty seauen combes and thre bushells.

 In Pease foure hundreth twentye seauen combs and thre bushells.

 Deductions out of this

 For persons remayninge in y^e houses of those y^t haue y^e said corne
 for their mainetenance till Haruest fouretene hundred threscore and
 two persons.

 For Lands to be sowen this yeare followinge beinge six thousand
 thirtie fiue acres.

 For forehand bargaines to be deliu(er)ed w^{ch} amounts to seauen
 hundred fiftie foure combes and two bushells.

 For Sheepheardes wages ten score and foureteene combes.

 For wheate, rie, barly, malt, sheepheards wage, and Pease six score is
 accounted to each hundred; for persons in house, lands to be sowen,
 forehand bargaines as aforesaid, fiue score is accounted for each

 There beinge within the hundred of Lackeford diu(er)ssome Townes,
 consistinge of a greate number of miserable poore people w^{ch}
 neither plowe nor sowe for Corne, we thinke in o^r opinions and
 iudgem^{ts} y^t all y^e corne and graine aforesaid, the said poore
 people beinge prouided for, and the deductions beinge allowed as
 before is expressed, will hardely serue y^e people nowe inhabitinge
 within the said hundred, and halfe vntill haruest next.

 For y^e Marketts within y^e hundred and halfe aforesaid they are nowe
 sufficiently furnished with corne and graine, the poorer sorte of
 people within the seuerall townes and places are ordered to be sett
 on worke, hauinge caused these deere times y^e weekely collections of
 each towne for y^e poore to be raysed and augemented. And y^e better
 sorte of people that haue corne doe sell to the poore of each towne
 within y^e hundred and halfe eight pence, ten pence and some twelue
 pence in y^e bushell vnder y^e value y^t corne is sold in the next
 adioyninge marketts.

 For Maltsters, Brewers Ingrossers and millers wee haue taken such
 order as by his Ma^{tie} is com(m)anded.

 The prizes of corne and other grayne sold at y^e last markett day at
 Mildenhall beinge y^e xxviii^{th}. of Februarie is

  For wheate y^e combe    xxii^s.
  for rie y^e combe       xvii^s. iiij^d.
  for barly y^e combe     xiij^s. vi^d.
  for pease y^e combe     x^s. viii^d.
  oates y^e combe         vi^s. viii^d.

 This wee y^e justices of y^e Peace inhabitinge within the hundreds
 aforesaid accordinge to o^r bounden duties doe most humbly certifie.

      J. Heightting?, Roger North.
      Joh. Smythe.


Extracts from the Privy Council Register.

Copy of a letter sent to the Deputy Lieutenants and Justices of the
Peace in the Counties of Suffolk and Essex concerning the employment
of the poor. Privy Council Register[756] Chas. I. Vol. V. f. 263, 22nd
May, 1629[757].

[756] See above, p. 143, note.

[757] _Ib._, p. 154.

 [Sidenote: Dated the 22nd. Signed

  Lo. Trer.
  Lo. Privie Seale
  Lo. High Chamb.
  Lo. Steward
  Lo. Chamb.
  Ea. of Suffolk
  Ea. of Dorsett
  Ea. of Holland
  Lo. Chanc. of Scotland
  Lo. Vic. Dorchester
  Lo. Vic. Grandison
  Lo. Vic. Wilmot
  Lo. Bp. of London
  Lo. Bp. of Winton
  Mr. Trer.
  Mr. Vic. Chamb.
  Mr. of the Wardes
  Mr. Chanc. of the Ex^r.

 "Whereas wee by special direccons of his Ma^{tie} did lately commend
 unto yo^r care the present state of those parts of y^r county where
 the poore clothiers and their workmen at present destitute of worke
 might some other way be imployed or for the tyme be releeved till some
 obstructions to trade were remooved, as also to kepe in order those
 that are loose and ill disposed people. To w^{ch} end his Ma^{tie} by
 advise of his Privie Councell and the Judges hath lately published a
 proclamacon declaring his pleasure and command; in what manner the
 truly poore and impotent should be relieved, those of able bodies
 should be sett on worke and imployed in honest labors and the sturdie,
 idle and dangerous roagues and vagabonds should be repressed and
 punished w^{ch} proclamacon you shall herew^{th} likewise receive.
 Now, bycause wee understand that in yo^r countie there is more than
 ordinarie occasion to use all dilligence and industrie at this time,
 wee have thought fitt to putt yo^u more particularlie in minde
 thereof, and in answere of yo^r l(ett)res to lett yo^u know that it is
 the resolucon of all the Judges, that by the lawe yo^u have sufficient
 power and ought to raise meanes out of the severall Parishes if
 they be of abilitie, or otherwise in their defect in their severall
 Hundrethes, Lathes or Wapentakes, and for want of their abilitie (to
 sett yo^r poore on worke and to relieve the aged and impotent not able
 to worke) in the whole bodie of the county, wherefore his Ma^{tie}
 commands that the wayes provided by lawe in theise cases be duely
 followed w^{th} all diligence and possible speede. You are required
 to understand the true state of the country from the ministers,
 churchwardens and overseers of the severall parishes w^{th}in your
 severall divisions. And what rests herein to be done by order at the
 Quarter Sessions, the judges advise that for this purpose you may call
 the Quarter Sessions sooner then the ordinary sett tymes and doe that
 w^{ch} in this case is so requisite. Further wee lett yo^u to know,
 that such hath bin his Ma^{t's} care and personall paines taken to
 remove theis impediments, that of late have bin to trade and to open
 a free vent to the commodities of yo^r country, that yo^rselves will
 shortily see the fruits of it to yo^r comforts neverthelesse in the
 meane tyme theise things provided by the lawe and the helpes that by
 yo^r care may be added are in no sorte to bee neglected, but exactly
 pursued of w^{ch} yo^r proceedings wee are to bee advertised that so
 wee may render account thereof to his Ma^{tie}. And so etc.

 [Sidenote: Ut supra.]

 A like warrant or lre to the Deputy Lieutenants and Justices of the
 Peace in the Countie of Suffolk, dated and signed ut supra.


Extracts from the Privy Council Register (continued).

Letter concerning the disturbances in Rutlandshire (_Privy Council
Register_, Vol. VI. f. 345. 15th Feb. 1630/1).

This entry illustrates the connection between efforts to improve poor
relief and the maintenance of order.

 A Lre to S^r Edward Harrington, Sir Hen. Mackworth Bar^t S^r Guy
 Palmer K^t and Basill Fielding Esq^r or any twoe of them.


  Lo. Keeper.
  Lo. Trear.
  Lo. Privie Seale.
  Ea. Marshall.
  Lo. V. Wentworth.
  Lo. Bp. of Winton.
  Mr Trear.
  Mr Comptroler.
  Mr Secre. Coke.

 Whereas we have beene made acquainted w^{th} a lre written by John
 Wildbore a Minister in and aboute Tinwell w^{th}in that County to
 a friend of his here wherein after some mencon by him made of the
 present want and miserie sustayned by the poorer sorte in those parts
 through the dearth of Corne and the want of worke, he doth advertize
 in particular some speeches uttered by a shoomaker of Uppingham
 (whose name wee finde not) tending to the stirring upp of the poore
 theraboute to a mutiny and insurreccon. W^{ch} informacon was as
 followeth in hæc verba "Hearest thou" saith a Shoomaker of Uppingham
 to a poore man of Liddington "if thou wilte be secrett I will make
 a mocon to thee." "What is yo^r Mocon?" saith the other. Then said
 the Shoomaker "The poore men of Okeham have sent to us poore men of
 Uppingham and if you poore men of Liddington will ioyne w^{th} us wee
 will rise and the poore of Okeham say they can have all the Armour of
 the Countrie in theire power w^{th}in halfe an hower, and (in faith
 saith he) we will ryfle the churles." Upon consideracon had therof
 however this Board is not easily credilous of light reports nor apte
 to take impression from the vaine speeches or eiaculacons of some
 meane and contemptible persons. Yet because it sorts well w^{th} the
 care and providence of a State to prevent all occasions w^{ch} ill
 affected persons may otherwise lay hold of under pretence and collour
 of the necessitie of the tyme, we have thought good hereby to will and
 require you the Deputy Lieuts. and Justices of peace next adioyneing
 forthw^{th} to apprehend and take a more particular examinacon aswell
 of the said Shoomaker as of such others as you shall thinke fitt
 concerning the advertizement aforesaid. And that you take especial
 care that the Armes of that County in and aboute those parts be safely
 disposed of. And lykewise (w^{ch} is indeede most considerable and the
 best meanes to prevent all disorders in this kinde) that you deale
 effectually in causeing the markett to be well supplyed w^{th} corne
 and the poore to be served at reasonable prices and sett on worke by
 those of the richer sorte and by rayseing of stocke to releeve and
 sett them on worke according to the lawes. All w^{ch} we recomende to
 yo^r especiall care and require an account from you of yo^r doeings
 and proceedings herein w^{th} all convenient expedicon. And soe &c.


Letter from Sir Thomas Barrington concerning the eight hundreds of
Yorkshire (_Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I. Vol. 177, No. 31. 21st Dec.

The following letter is substantially like many other justices' reports
relating to the corn measures of 1629-1631. This document, like a few
others of the same kind, preceded the issue of the Book of Orders of
Jan. 1630/1; and was sent in answer to previous orders of the Privy
Council[758]. It is addressed on the back "To the right Hon^{le} my
most hon^d Lo. the Lo. viceCount Dorchester[759] at his lodgings in
Whitehall"; and has attached to it a seal with a crest and also the
date 1630.

[758] See above, p. 172.

[759] Lord Dorchester had been appointed one of the special
commissioners for the poor in June 1630. See above, pp. 156, 164.

 My Lo., the assurance y^t I haue of yo^r Lo^{ps} desyre to understand
 y^e carefull and successfull execution of y^e late commaunds w^{ch}
 we haue receiued, and feareing least y^e high Sheriff may delay
 y^e retourning of owr certifficates; I shall take the bouldnes to
 aduertize yo^r Lo^p that haueing attended the seruice inioyned by
 his Ma^{ts} instructions and yo^r Lo^{ps} letters in eight hundreds
 of this Countie, (as yo^r Lo^p will find when y^e Cirtificates are
 retourned) we haue followed those directions giuen us conserneing
 Badgers[760], Millers etc. a sort of people y^t did much rayse y^e
 prizes of Corne; but I hope we haue preuented it for y^e future, som
 of them being bound to y^e Sessions, others ouerlooked w^{th} a strict
 eye that theay offend not as theay haue done; we find the Marketts
 to be well serued; and tharefor no compulsion yet needes to be used
 as yet; we haue furthermore taken care (w^{ch} I conceiue to be yo^r
 Lo^{ps} chiefe ayme) that the poorer sort be prouided for by y^e
 laying in of Corne in euery Toune sufficient to satisfy them for this
 yeear, and y^t at such rates, as y^e scarcytye and dirth of theise
 times will be y^e less bitter unto them, when theay shall haue it
 18^d. and 2^s. in y^e Bushell cheaper then y^e Markett can afford,
 as vpon calling y^e countrye together we haue easyly perswaded them
 heearunto, & y^e most parishes haue allready begun this worke, w^{ch}
 if it answar not yo^r Lo^{ps} desyres I shall be sorye y^t I was one
 of y^e first moouers heearin; in y^e same forme y^t I exprest unto
 yo^r Lo^p when I wayted upon you; w^{ch} haueing tendred to y^r Lo^p
 and other Justices in theise parts I found them so well to approoue it
 (as y^t yo^r Lo^p will find) we haue followed y^t way w^{th} a ioynct
 consent; by w^{ch} meanes it appeears playnely y^t y^e prizes of y^e
 marketts are fallne and doe weekely fall, wheate being in diuerse
 Marketts where I haue attended this seruice at 7^s. y^e bushell and
 vi^s. vi^d. whare lately it was sold at 8^s. vi^d.; for y^e laborers
 and all y^e poorer sort being supplyed at home who are the greater
 nomber, the rates of graine must of necessytye fall to be less. My Lo.
 I feare I haue ben toe troublesom in this tedious discourse, but yo^r
 Lo^p knowes circumstances make y^e busines of no small consequence,
 w^{ch} it hath pleased his Ma^{ty} so gratiously to consider & yo^r
 Lo^{ps} so carefully to order, wharein if thare be any thing y^t yo^r
 Lo^p will be pleased to commaund me, I shall willing obaye, and so
 shall yo^r Lo^p euer find me deuoted to yo^r desyres in any thing,
 whareby I may becom seruiceable to y^e Countye, or to y^r Lo^p in
 particular, whose fauors have ingaged me to study how I may any way
 express myselfe most,

 [760] See note App. V.

    Hatf. Bro.                       Yo^r Lo^{ps} faithfull seruant

       10^r. 21, 1630.               Tho. Barrington.

 My wife w^{th} me offers yo^r Lo^p and yo^r noble La. obliged seruice
 thare being nothing we more desyre then to heear of yo^r good healthes.


Justices' reports on the execution of the Book of Orders of January,

[761] See p. 172 seq.

A. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I. Vol. 188. 85.

Questions sent by the justices responsible for the division of Fawley,
Hants. to the constables etc. of their district.

This copy of the inquiries was sent by Sir Richard Tychborne, Sir
Thomas Stukeley, Henry Clerke and William Rolfe, the justices
responsible for Fawley, to the High Sheriff of the county, together
with a report on the measures taken to improve poor relief in the
division of Fawley. The justices state they have sent these inquiries
to the "officers of everie parish," but have so far not obtained
satisfactory replies.

The document is directed "To the right wor^{ll} Thomas Cotele Esq. high
Sheriffe of the county of South(amp)ton."

[Sidenote: Southht.]

"The perticuler of such things as by vertue of divers statutes menconed
in his Ma^{t's} Commission are given in charge to the severall officers

[Sidenote: Touching the poore.]

 1. What poore are releived that cannott worke.

 2. What poore are sett to worke that want it.

 3. What stocks are provided to sett the poore on worke.

 4. The names of such poore as want stocks to worke.

 5. The names of such men or women children that are above the age of
 10 yeres & not bound apprentice.

 6. The names of such householders as are fitt to take apprentices.

 7. What monies or lands have bine given to charitable vses.

 8. Whether the Churchwardens & overseers for theis things have mett

[Sidenote: Touching highwaies.]

 1. What high waies are in decay & need repaier w^{th}in yo^r parish.

 2. Whether the Churchwardens and Constables in Easter weeke last did
 chuse surveyo^{rs}.

 3. Whether they did appoint 6 daies for worke and give notice thereof
 the next Sunday after.

 4. Whether everie man having a plowe did for 6 daies and 8 houres in
 that day w^{th} twoe men and necessarie tooles worke in those daies.

 5. Whether everie person not being an hired serv^t or taking wages
 have wrought those 6 daies.

 6. What defects in any persons have bine presented by the Surveyo^{rs}
 to the Justices.

 7. Whether any nusance by anie neighbors to anie high waies be

[Sidenote: Touching laborers & s(er)v^{ts}.[762]]

[762] All these inquiries refer to the statute of Elizabeth concerning
labourers (5 Eliz. c. 4) or to the clause in the poor law of 1601 (43
Eliz. c. 2) which ordered the overseers to set to work all persons who
had no means to maintain themselves. See above, pp. 140, 161. Some of
the regulations of the former statute provide that in many employments
servants should not be retained for less than a year; that the rates
of wages should be fixed by the justices in Quarter Sessions every
year; that a quarter's warning should be given if either master or
servant desired to terminate the engagement at the end of the term, and
that a testimonial should be obtained by a servant before he left his
own parish or town, and should be shown to his new master before he
obtained a fresh engagement. The statute also settled the conditions
of apprenticeship, and limited the right of becoming an apprentice in
certain crafts to the sons of those who possessed a little property. It
also provided that all persons between twelve and sixty not otherwise
employed, might be compelled to serve in husbandry. Several other
references to the execution of this statute occur in the reports here
printed. See B., Westmill and Sawbridgeworth, also D and E.

 1. Whether those in the parish w^{ch} are fitt to serve doe serve.

 2. Whether anie be retained or doe serve for lesse then a yeare.

 3. Whether any doe give or take wage other then the Statute allowes.

 4. Whether any departe att the end of theire terme w^{th}out a
 q(uar)ters warninge.

 5. Whether any doe serve or be retained w^{th}out first shewing a

 6. Whether any refuse to serve either as apprentice or otherwise
 w^{ch} ought to serve.

[Sidenote: Touching Rogues.]

                                     { All beggers.
  1. All wanderers are rogues viz^t. { Patent gatherers.
                                     { Collecto^{rs} for persons.
                                     { Proctors.

                                   { Juglers.
  2. All using vnlawfull trades as { Plaiers.
                                   { Fortune tellers.
                                   { Egiptians.

                                            { Minstrells.
                                            { Bearewards.
  3. Idle traders travelling ag^t the lawe. { Tynkers.
                                            { Pedlers.
                                            { Pettichapmen.
                                            { Glasmen.

 1. To present w^{ch} of theis or what other persons have bine
 apprehended or punished either by private persons or officers.

 2. Whoe have neglected to punish anie such Rogues.

 3. Whoe have releived or lodged them.

[Sidenote: Touching Alehouses.]

 1. What alehouses there be in yo^r parish & where they stand.

 2. What persons they bee that keepe them & whether licensed or bound.

 3. What assize of bread & beere they keepe.

 4. What disorders they keepe in theire houses by drinking or otherwise.

 5. What persons haunt the same Alehouses or continue drinking therein.

 6. What persons have bine drunke and have not bine therefore punished.

[Sidenote: Lastly.]

 Whether the watches appointed by the Statute have bine duly observed
 for the apprehencon and punishm^t of Rogues."

B. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I. Vol. 189. 80 and Vol. 197. 69.
Extracts from two reports from the hundred of Braughing, one sent to
the High Sheriff in April and the other in Sept. 1631.

These two reports contain abstracts of the returns sent in by the
overseers at six monthly meetings held between Feb. 7th, 1630/1 and
June 27th, 1631[763]. The whole of the abstracts sent in on Feb.
7th are here printed, but of the others only those which indicate
improvement in the administration of the poor law. The first document
is written on parchment, the second on paper, both in a clerk's hand.

[763] See above, p. 249.


 [764] In the manuscript the names of the churchwardens &c. are written
 opposite the entries in a right-hand margin and the names of the
 places are written in a large hand in a left-hand margin.

 "An Abstract of the Returne and presentments made by the
 Churchwardens, Constables and Ouerseers for the poore in the parishes
 of the halfe Hundred of +Braughinge+ vnto vs Justices of the
 peace in this devision whose names are herevnder written, on the
 vii^{th} of February 1630.


 [765] Of these places only Ware, Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Braughing
 and Stansted Abbots are of any size; Eastwick has even now only 71
 inhabitants, and neither Gilston, Westmill or Thundridge have a
 population exceeding 500. The population of Charles I.'s time for the
 whole of England and Wales is estimated to have been about one-sixth
 that of the present day. The largest place, Ware, has a stock when
 the reports begin, the second in size, Stortford, reports one at the
 second meeting, while the overseers of Braughing have arranged for the
 employment of the poor in another manner. Here therefore as elsewhere
 arrangements for finding work exist more in the larger places than in
 the smaller.

 Noe stocke for the poore, noe land or rents for charitable vses. A
 dozen of bread out of Lent and ii dozen in Lent w^{th} a barrell of
 white and a cade of red herrings. Noe children put to seruice this
 yeare, foure to be put out, six rogues punished, fiftie shillings
 guift to the poore.

      Edward Dogood, Henry Watts, _Churchwardens_.
      Thomas Smith, _Ouerseer for the poore_.


 Noe stocke, but foure pounds yearely gathered, and fiue markes rent,
 none that want worke, none put to seruice, one to put forth. Prouision
 of corne at iii^s iiii^d for the poore.

      Oliuer Mills, _Churchwarden_.
      Thomas Hadsley, _Ouerseer for the poore_.


 Noe stocke for the poore, noe children to put to service, noe disorder
 in Alehouses, Watches and Ward duely kept, iii rogues punished, xxx^s
 yearly rent for the poore.

      Thomas Kinge, George Cramphorne, _Constables_.
      John Thorogood, _Ouerseer for the poore_.

 =Stansted Abbot.=

 Noe stocke but twoe cowes[766] and xviii^s iiij^d yearely rent. One
 lately put to seruice one to be put fourth, noe disorder in the Innes
 or Alehouses, eleuen rogues punished.

 [766] The keeping of cows so that the poor could have their milk seems
 to have been one of the oldest methods of public poor relief; see
 Ashley, _Econ. Hist._, II. p. 311.

      John Tayler, _Constable_.
      Abraham Grisley, _Churchwarden_.
      John Bannester, _Ouerseer for the poore_.


 Thirtie pounds stocke to sett the poore one worke; three lately put
 to seruice, nine more male and female to put forth; rents yearely
 imployed according to the donors wills; fortie markes, 80^{li} yearely
 collection by Rates for the poore, more levied since Michaellmas
 last; 93^{li} to buy corne for the poore and sold them at iiii^s. the
 bushell, more 26^{li} giuen at Christmas by the Inhabitants in money
 to the poore; Watch and Ward duely kept, xiii rogues punished and
 passed, none but will worke for reasonable pay, three drawe Beare and
 sell w^{th}out Licence, noe disorders in Innes or Alehouses but such
 as haue lately been punished.

      Robert Dowell, Isacke Needham, _Constables_.
      Humphrie Parker, Thomas Mead, _Churchwardens_.
      Joseph Wattson, Thomas Hadsley, _Ouerseers_.


 Noe stocke, twoe put to service, noe rents for charitable vses, no
 vnlicenced Alehouses, 24 Quarters of corne provided for the poore and
 sold to them at iii_s._ iiii_d._ the bushell.

      Nicholas Humfrie, _Churchwarden_.
      Richard Godfree, _Constable_.
      Edward Sabine, _Ouerseer_.


 Noe stocke, The poore imployed by clothiers, one childe put to seruice
 the others twoe young, 5^{li} yearely Rent for the poore, but one
 Alehouse noe disorder therein, Watches and Wards duely kept.

      Nathaniell Spencer, _Constable_.
      John Rogers, _Churchwarden_.
      Henry Corney, _Ouerseer_.


 Tenn pounds Stocke to sett the poore on Worke, none to be put out,
 10^{li} Land for charitable vses; noe unlicenced Alehouses; noe
 disorder in any, Watch and Ward duely kept, Rogues punished by the

      George Elliott, Richard Hunt, _Const._
      Thomas Howe, _Churchwarden_.


 Noe stocke for the poore, xvii rogues punished & passed, Richard Beadle
 and John Boldle liue idly[767], one boy put to seruice, one other to
 put fourth, neither Inne nor alehouse.

[767] See above, pp. 156-7 note.

      Richard Haruey, _Const._
      Thomas Kirby, _Churchwar._
      John Bullard, _Ouerseer_.


 Noe stocke to sett the Poore on worke, a stocke of corne at iii_s._ and
 iiii_d._ the bushell for the poore, none put to seruice, many to be put
 forth, the profits to the poore imployed as by the doners wills, noe
 unlicenced alehouses, noe disorder in licenced, none liue idly, Watch
 and Ward duely kept, Rogues punished and passed according to the lawe;
 Levied vpon drunkards x_s._ w^{ch} was giuen to the poore.

      William Addams, _Churchwarden_.
      Richard Shepheard, _Constable_.
      Simon Abbott, _Ouerseer for the poore_.


 Noe stock for the poore, watch and ward duely kept, xii rogues
 punished and passed, none liue idly, fiue children put out to seruice,
 viii male & ix female children to put fourth, noe vnlicenced Alehouses
 nor disorder in any, noe money Levied vpon drunkards, 50^{li} per
 annu(m) rents imployed according to the donors intent.

      William Beadle, _Churchwarden_.
      Richard Hill, _Constable_.
      Thomas (Avorch?), _Ouerseer for y^e poore_.


 Twentie foure pounds & tenn shillings collected yearly for the poore
 xii^{li}: xi^s rents, xxiij^{li}: x^s laid out to buy corne for
 the poore at xvi^d the bushell cheaper then it cost, not any put
 to seruice this yeare, viii children to be put out, noe vnlicenced
 alehouses, noe disorder in Inne or Alehouse, foure vagrants punished,
 Watch and Warde duely kept, not any idle persons.

      Leonard Knight, _Constable_.
      John Jones, _Ouerseer for y^e poore_.


 Noe stocke for their poore, watches and wards duely kept, none put to
 seruice this yeare, Henry Cobham selleth Beare w^{th}out Licence noe
 disorder in Innes or Alehouses, noe money levied upon drunkards. The
 rest of the presentment is against Edward Gardiner Esq. w^{ch} doth
 depend vpon the Lawe.

      Frier Durden, _Churchwarden_.
      Thomas Young, _Consta^{ble}_.
      Isacke Gray, Thomas Gilson, _Ouerseers for the poore_."

This ends the returns for Feb. 7th; the same parishes send returns on
each of the later dates; the few which are here printed are those which
indicate the alteration effected by the enforcement of the Book of

 "An Abstract of the Returnes made March the vii^{th}....


 Noe vnlicenced Alehouses, noe disorder, watch and ward duely kept,
 vagrants punished according to the Lawe, x^s leuied vpon drunkards to
 the vse of the poore. Gabraell Whittawe, his wife, sonne and daughter
 liue idly and are hedgbreakers, noe stocke in the parish to sett the
 poore on worke. A greate stocke of corne laid in for the poore at
 iii^s iiij^d the bushell, none want worke, all being set one worke in
 the parish, ii^{li} x^s yearly rent distributed to the poore by the
 donors, xi boyes and girles to be put to service....

      Richard Shepheard, Robert Goulett, _Consta._
      Thomas Thackguere, William Addams, _Churchwar._
      Abraham Thorogood, Simon Abbott, _Ouerseers_....


 Stocke to set the poore one worke to make Clothe 22^{li}: 10^s: of
 hempe, towe and flax; 24 children to put to seruice, 22 poore spinners
 sett to worke, none sell beare or ale w^{th}out licence, noe disorder
 in Innes or Alehouses, iiii rogues punished, watch & ward duely kept,
 noe Money leuied vpon drunkards since our last returne: Thomas Gurston
 goeth aboute w^{th} a Gunne or Peece, Tobias Chandler hath noe Lawfull

      Tho. Barnard, gen. _Church._
      Leonard Knight, Robert Freeman, _Constables_.
      John Jones, James Scruby, _Ouerseers_.


 Tenn pounds, thirteene shillings Stocke for the releife of the poore
 in corne; Richard Beadle, John Beadle idle liuers out of seruice, noe
 Inne or Alehouse in the parish, the Guifts formerly given imployed
 as by the donors wills, watch and ward duely kept, three rogues

      Thomas Kirbey, Michaell More, _Churchwardens_.
      Tho. Ancell, Richard Haruey, _Ouerseers_.

 An Abstract of the Returnes made Aprill the iiii^{th} Anno d(omi)ni


 Noe stock to sett the poore on worke but they are sett on worke by
 the inhabitants to spinn towe at iiii^d the pound, fiftie shillings
 guift to the poore, adozen of bread out of Lent and twoe dozen in
 Lent w^{th} a Barrell of White & a cade of Redd herrings the Weekly
 Collection amounteth to aboue xx^{li} the yeare, six rogues punished,
 Watches and Wardes duely kept....

      Will Denison, _Const._
      Hen. Wattie, Edw. Dogood, _Church._
      Tho. Smith, Edw. Tubman, _Ouer._


 None that keepe Alehouse w^{th}out Licence noe disorder in the
 Licenced, Watch and Ward duely kept, iiii rogues punished, noe money
 leuied vpon drunkards, none but will and doe worke for reasonable
 wages, noe stocke but the poore are releiued w^{th} corne and money,
 noe Guifts to charitable vses, none to put fourth Apprentices but
 those whome their parents will put fourth.

      Tho. Ouerill, _Const._
      Tho. Wett, _Churchw._
      John Cripes, _Ouers._

_D. S. P._ Chas. I. Vol. 197. 69.

 An Abstract of the Returnes and presentments made by the
 churchwardens, constables and ouerseers for the Poore in the parishes
 of the halfe hundred of Braughing vnto vs Justices of the peace in
 this diuision whose names are herevnder written on the first day of
 May anno do(min)i 1631....


 Twoe put fourth Apprentices, there is more to put fourth soe soone as
 there cann be masters gotten for them, Robert Gray refuseth to pay to
 the Rate for the poore, there is one William Brookes will not keepe
 his seruice....

      James Scruby, John Jones, _Ouerseers_.
      John Bull, Robert Colt, _Churchwardens_.
      W^m Ellis, W^m Reade, _Constables_.

 An Abstract of the Returnes made May xxx^{th} 1631....


 Noe unlicenced Alehouse keepers, Watch & Ward is duely kept, one Rogue
 punished and passed since the last Sitting, Joseph Charnocke and
 Thomas Charnocke liue idly and will not worke there is fiue pounds
 stocke and the poore are sett on worke, none put fourth apprentices as

      Hen. Damyan, _Constable_.
      Robert Ellis, _Churchwarden_.
      Hen. Corney, _Ouerseer_....

 An Abstract of the Returnes made June xxvii^{th} anno do(min)i 1631....


 None sell Ale or beare w^{th}out Licence, Watch and Ward is duely
 kept, tenn Rogues haue been punished and passed, noe money leuied vpon
 drunkards, noe idle persons, theire was a stocke of Tenn pounds to
 sett the poore on worke, w^{ch} is decayed and come to fiue pounds,
 Noe guifts to charitable vses, none fitt to put apprentices....

      George Elliott, _Constable_.
      John Burton, _Churchwarden_.
      W^m Hale, _Ouerseer_.


 Watch and Ward is duely kept, noe unlicenced alehouses, noe rogues
 punished since the last sitting, the poore are sett on worke by
 the inhabitants, there are some yearely rents w^{ch} are weekely
 distributed to the poore, none to put fourth apprentices."

      Tho. King, _Constable_.
      Geo. Cramphorne, _Churchwarden_.
      Tho. Porter, _Ouerseer_."

This later report is endorsed "Certifyed by the high Sheriff the first
of Septemb(er) 1631. Jo. Boteler."

C. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I. Vol. 190. 10.

Part of the Report of Bridewell.

This report of Bridewell seems to have been made in consequence of the
inquiries of the commissioners on poor relief appointed in Jan. 1630/1.

The estimated value of the labour of the inmates, the cost of their
maintenance, the amount paid in salaries to the officials of the
hospital all throw light on the rate of wages and on the cost of living
at this time.

 =London Bridewell.=

 "To the right hon^{ble} the lords of his Ma^{ties} most ho^{ble} privy

 We, the Presid^t, Treasurer and other the Governo^{rs} of the
 hospitall of Bridewell, in obedience to yo^r Lo(rdshi)ps order dated
 the xviii^{th} day of Aprill now last past doe humbly present vnto
 Hono^{rs} a true particuler of all the state of the same Hospitall
 as it now standeth this Second day of May 1631 in manner and forme
 following (viz^t.)[768]." ...

 [768] Particulars of rents annually received are here set down; they
 together amount to £724. 2_s._ 2_d._

 "Casuall receipts."

  "There is raised by the labo^r of eu(er)y
  man that is set to worke w^{th}in the said hospitall
  for eu(er)y dayes worke iiii^d and for eu(er)y
  woman and boy ii^d, w^{ch} for vii yeares now last
  past co(mmun)ibus annis hath raised per
  ann(um)                                                  xl^{li}

      There hath been moreover receaved for the
  dyett of such rude apprentices and other idle
  and vnruly persons as have been sent thither
  w^{th}in Seaven yeares last past co(mmun)ibus
  annis per ann(um)                                        xxxvi^{li}

      There hath been given by well disposed
  persons towards the releife of the poore people
  harboured w^{th}in the said hospitall and towards
  the putting forth of poore children apprentices
  w^{th}in the space of vii yeares last past co(mmun)ibus
  annis the yearly som(m)e of                              cxx^{li}

      Som(m)e of all the Casuall receipts yearly ys        clxxxxvi^{li}

      There hath been letten w^{th}in the space of
  Seaven yeares of the lands and Tenem^{ts} belonging
  to the said Hospitall fifteene leases
  for the w^{ch} there hath been receaved in fines
  the totall som(m)e of Three hundred & fifteene
  pounds w^{ch} co(mmun)ibus annis doth amount
  vnto the yearly some of                                  xlv^{li}

                                                In toto    ccxli^{li}

      There is also belonging to the said hospitall
  one lease of fifteene Tenem^{ts} at Bethlem w^{th}out
  Bishopsgate London w^{ch} cost cccl^{li} wherein are
  yet to come v yeares at o^r Lady day last
  whervpon is to be receaved the cleare yearly
  rent of                                          lx^{li}

      Som(m)e totall of all the rents revenue
  and receipts aforemenconed ys                    mxxv^{li}, ii^s, ii^d

      There is remaining in stock belonging to
  the said Hospitall these severall som(m)es
  he(re)after menconed (viz^t)

      There remaineth vpon the foote of the
  account of the Tre(asure)r of the said hospitall
  made vp at Xpimas 1630 the som(m)e of            ccccv^{li} vii^s ii^d

      There is also remaining in stock belonging
  to the said hospitall by the guift of Mr Richard
  Culverwell dec. the somme of                     cc

      There is also remaining in stock of the
  guift of M^{ris} Mary Paradyne Widdow the
  som(m)e of                                       cc^{li}

  For the ymploym^t of the said last recited som(m)es of Two hundred
  pounds a peice, the Citty have given bonds that the same shall remaine
  and foreu(er) continue as a stock in the said Hospitall and that the
  benefitt thereof made shall redound to the putting forth of poore
  children apprentices and otherwise to releive the poore of the same
  hospitall in such sort and to such vses as the dono^{rs} thereof have
  limitted. The same to be disposed by the discrecon of the Governo^{rs}
  of the same Hospitall.

      And whereas the said house was indebted
  to the chamber of London the som(m)e of 200^{li}
  and did otherwise want stock to releive the
  poore and set them to worke, there was therfore
  a colleccon made w^{th}in the Citty of London
  by order of Lord Maio^r and Court of Ald(e)r(me)n
  about Seaven yeares now past for and
  towards the releife of the poore harboured in
  the said Hospitall and towards the mainteining
  of a stock there to set the poore on worke and
  otherwise to put poore children out apprentices
  to the totall som(m)e of 1749^{li}. 5^s. 3^d, parte
  whereof (viz^t) 200^{li} was paid into the chamber
  of London to satisfy the debt aforesaid and
  350^{li} more was laid out for the purchase of the
  lease aforemenconed at Bethlem and the residue
  is remaining yet in stock to buy hempe or
  otherwise to be disposed of in such sort for
  vse of the house as the Govern^{ors} of the said
  house shall best advise (that is to say)           mclxxxxix^{li} v^s iii^d

      Som(m)e totall of all the stock aforemenconed
  ys                                                 mmiiij^{li} xii^s v^d

      There is furthermore to be receaved for
  fines of leases vpon bonds and other security
  not yet due to be paid                             cclxxx^{li}

      There ys also due to the said Hospitall by
  bonds the som(m)e of                               cxi^{li}

      And there is more also due to the said
  Hospitall in doubtfull or desperate debts the
  som(m)e of                                         cxxxiiij^{li}

      Som(m)e totall of all the said debts ys        v^cxv^{li}[769]

 [769] The arithmetic seems wrong here; it should be £525.

 There ys no Linnen bedding or ymplemts of houshold stuffe belonging
 to the said Hospitall other then such as are hereafter menconed in a
 particuler Inventary thereof made and here vnto annexed.

 There are vsed w^{th}in the said Hospitall these occupacons or workes
 hereafter menconed (viz^t).

 Four Silkeweavers who doe keepe poore children taken vp in the streets
 or otherwise distressed as their apprentices to the number of fortye &

 Two Pinmakers who doe likewise keepe as apprentices twenty and three.

 One Ribbon weaver who keepeth v apprentices.

 Two Hempdressers who keepe Tenn apprentices.

 Five Glovers who keepe Sixteene apprentices.

 One Linnen Weav(er) who keepeth iiij^r apprentices.

 One Carpenter who keepeth Two apprentices.

  The whole number of the apprentices are cvi.

  The Hempmen aforesaid doe at this time keepe at worke in beating hempe
  of men and women to the number of xlviii.

  There are also kept at this present w^{th}in the said Hospitall of
  vagrants and persons vnable to worke to the number of xiij.

  There are also w^{th}in the said Hospitall these seu(er)all officers
  hereafter menconed.

  A Preacher who hath for his yearly wages
  and house rent                                    xxvi^{li} xvi^s viii^d

  A Clarke to keepe their bookes and to
  enter vp their accounts who hath yearly for
  his sallary                                       xx^{li}

  A Steward who for himselfe his man and
  his maid receaveth yearly                         xxxii^{li}

  A Porter who receaveth yearly for himselfe
  and his man                                       xxij^{li} xvj^s viii^d

  A Matron who receaveth yearly for herselfe
  and her maid                                      xxv^{li}

  One Beadle who is also Sexton of the Chappell
  and receaveth yearly for his service therein
  and for making cleane the yards and looking
  to themptying of the vaults Three pounds Sixe
  shillings and Eight pence And he being a
  Tailo^r is allowed yearly towards making the
  apprentices and others of the poores clothes
  w^{th}in the house iiii^{li} and he is allowed more
  yearly xx^s in tot.                               viii^{li} vi^s viii^d

  One other Beadle who receaveth yearly         xx^s

  These two Beadles receave the rest of their
  wages from the other Hospitalls.

  Two other beadles who receave yearly for
  wages and livery coats                            xiij^{li} iiij^s

  These officers doe all reside w^{th}in the house.

  A Surgeon to view the bodies of such as
  are brought in diseased or lame w^{th}in the
  house and to cure such as be suddenly hurt
  who receaveth yearly                              xl^s

  There are also Two Marshalls men who
  doe receive yearly for their wages                xxxvi^{li} x^s

  There is a Raker to carry away the soyle
  from the house who hath yearly                    xx^s

  A Nightman to empty the Vaults who hath
  yearly                                            iiij^{li}

  Som(m)e totall of all the officers wages ys   clxxxxiij^{li} viii^s[770]

  [770] The sum total seems to amount to £192. 14_s._

  The Revenue of the said Hospitall is expended
  and disposed of in releiveing and
  manteining such aged lame sick and idle
  persons as are sent downe to the said Hospitall
  and either cannot or will not worke for
  whome they are constrained to provide clothes
  for such as be naked, diet, straw and other
  provision, and also to allowe continuall sustenance
  to those whose worke is not sufficient
  to releive them, all w^{ch} w^{th}in the space of
  vii yeares last past one yeare w^{th} another hath
  expended per ann(um)                              ccxl^{li}

  And also, according to the intent and true
  meaning of their grant, there are mainteined in
  clothes w^{th}in the said hospitall one hundred
  and sixe apprentices, poore children most of
  them taken out of the streets whose Masters
  dwell rent free w^{th}in the said Hospitall, besides
  many other poore children are put forth apprentices
  into other places. All w^{ch} together
  w^{th} the repaire of the houses and other necessary
  charges and expences of the said hospitall
  disbursed and laid out, as by the particulers
  thereof may appeare at large in the bookes
  of accounts, w^{th}in vii yeares last past hath
  cost one yeare w^{th} another at least            vii^{cli}

  Som(m)e totall of all the casuall paym^{ts}
  aforemenconed ys                                  ix^cxl^l

  Som(m)e totall of all the paym^{ts} afore specified
  ys                                                mcxxxiij^{li} viii^s[771]....

 [771] Particulars of the leases here follow, the rents of which amount
 to £483. 3_s._ 4_d._ After this there is an inventory of the furniture
 in every room of the hospital. The following are the particulars given
 for one of the rooms:

  "At the       Eight boarded bedsteds.
  working       One long table of Two planks.
  roome at      One forme and a particon.
  the Matrons.  One old forme.
                One old peice of timber lying before the chimney.
                Eight spinning wheeles.
                Three straw bedds and sixe bowlsters."

  The Ordinances and Constitucons by w^{ch} the said hospitall is
  ordered and governed are conteined and specified in great bookes by
  reason of the largenes whereof they cannot in so short a time be
  coppied out but they shalbe ready to be shewed forth as yo^r Hono^{rs}
  shall appoint."

D. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 191, No. 42. This report is
endorsed "16 May, 1631. Certificate from the Maior of Guldeforde in

 [Sidenote: Guldeford in Com. Surr.]

 "The certificate of John Champion gent Maior of the Towne of
 Guldeford, on the behalf of the Maior and Justices of peace of the
 saide Towne and Lib(er)ties made the Sixtenth day of May, in the
 seauenth yere of the Raigne of o^r Sou(er)aigne Lord kinge Charles

Accordinge to his Ma^{ties} good Orders and direccons, and in
performance of o^r Duties I certifie That forthw^{th} vppon receipt
of the Booke of instruccons w^{ch} was about the 5^t of Februarie
last past, we, the saide Maio^r and the Justices of Peace in the
saide Towne, did assemble o^rselues togeather and did call before
vs The constables, churchwardens and overseers of the poore in the
seu(er)all parishes w^{th}in the saide Towne and lib(er)ties. And ther
did enquire, As by the saide booke of Orders is directed, And haue
vntill this tyme contynewed a three weekes meetinge and made enquirie

We found no neglect in any of the saide Officers, But that they haue
discharged ther duties accordinge to Lawe.

Vppon o^r enquirie had, seuerall presentm^{ts} were made to vs ag^t
dronkards and such as do sitt tiplinge and drinckinge in Alehouses
and vitlinge houses, and we haue caused the penalties lymitted by the
statute to be leuyed, as well on them as the vitlers and disposed the
same to y^e poore of the seu(er)all parishes wher the offences were
comitted as the Lawe requireth.

We haue caused also Two apprentices to be bound to handicrafts and
raysed money to place them And do prouide to haue such other as are
yet to be placed, to be put out so sone as they are fitt to be put out
We haue, at o^r Sessions of the peace helde for the saide Towne on
the second day of May last, enquired on those Articles that tend to
reformacon or punishm^t of Offences in Bakers or Brewers, Forstallers,
regrato^{rs} and ingrossers and of such other offences as are in the
direccon menc(ion)ed. And such Delinquents as stand presented before
vs and appered in Court we haue fyned and punished accordinge to Lawe.
And caused proces from the saide sessions to be made out against the
delinquents so presented and not appereinge, and entend to put the
seu(er)all Lawes in execucon against them.

Further we haue caused the statute of laborers to be putt in

[772] See note to Appendix XII. A.

Item we haue ordered That the taxacons for the releife of the poore
are duely collected for their present releife. And touchinge the hable
poore men of the Towne both great and smale They are daielie imployed
and set on woorke, by the meanes of a good manufacture founded by the
right hono^{ble} the most Reuerend father in god, the Lord Archbishopp
of Canterbury his grace, in Guldeford, the stock beinge flaxe and
hempe, spining and weauing the same into cloth, w^{ch} we finde to be a
great comfort to many poore workefolke, men, women and children her.

We haue caused daylie ward in the Toune to be kept by sufficient
persons for the app(re)hencon of Rogues and Vagabonds and for safetie
and good order.

And we haue w^{th} all diligence and care taken order That the
constables and officers in the saide Towne haue vsed all diligence and
care in punishinge of Rogues and Vagabonds and that ther was few or no
Rogue taken for that by the late care and watch in the countrie and
Townes nere to tak Rogues, verie few or none are found to wander nor
any come to this Towne.

The number of Alehouses ar w^{th} all care lessened w^{th} vs and
the unlycensed punished and Brewers that haue s^rued them, and the
penalties disposed to the poore accordinge to lawe.

We haue taken speciall Care for the amending of highwaies w^{th}in the
lib(er)ties of the Towne and haue giuen the same in chardge to the
Surveyo^{rs} of the high waies to see it trulie performed

      16^{to} May Anno D(omin)i 1631.
      Jo. Champion _Maior_."

E. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 216, No. 45. This document is
endorsed "Cantebr(igia) July 1632, Certificate of y^e justices for
the hundreds of Chesterton, Papworth and North sto(we). Julii 16^o

[773] See above, p. 264.

[Sidenote: Com(itatus) Cantebr(igiensis).]

"The c(er)tificate of S^r John Cutts, S^r Edward Hynde, S^r Robert
Hatton knights and Martin Peerce Esqr. Justices of the peace w^{th}in
the County of Cambridge aforesaid, and assigned to the devisions of
the hundreds of Chesterton, Papworth and North Stowe, vnto the high
Sheriffe of the said County, by vertue of certayne imprinted orders
and direccons sent from his ma^{tie}, and l(ett)res sent vnto vs by
the right hono^{ble} the lords of his ma^{ties} most hono^{ble} privy
Councell beareinge date the last day of Aprill Anno d(omi)ni 1632.

From o^r meeteinge at Longe Stanton the thirteenth of May 1632.

Wee, or some of vs whose names are heere subscribed, have mett
seu(er)all tymes for the said hund(reds) accordinge to the instruccons
sent vnto vs.

Wee have taken a strict accompt of the high Constables, petty
Constables, Churwardens and ou(er)seers for the poore of eu(er)y parish
w^{th}in theis hundreds howe the impotent poore are releived and their
other poore sett on worke in eu(er)y Towne, and we find that they are
sufficiently provided for and the Towne stockes we have in most Townes
increased w^{th} direccons to have them duly imployed.

Since our first meeteings we find the contry to have bin soe carefull
that wee have bin sloe in punishinge, but have rather sought by gentle
meanes to incourrage them, where we find the lawe to give vs that

We have caused a gen(er)all privy Search to be made in all Townes
w^{th}in the sayd Hundreds, for the apprehendinge of rogues and
vagabons, and have caused them to be punished and conveyed accordinge
to the Statute, and we have comanded a strict and diligent ward to be
kept in eu(er)y Towne for the apprehendinge, punishinge and conveyinge
of all such Rogues and wandringe persons as shall hereafter be found
w^{th}in the said lymitts and we shall punish the defaults of such
officers as have bin negligent in the due execucon of the premisses.

We have at o^r seu(er)all meeteings put forth above one hundred and
fifty apprentices and have since taken an accompt of all such masters
as have heretofore taken apprentices and have putt them away, and we
have settled them againe w^{th} their said masters where they remayne

For the statute of laborers, retayneinge of servants and orderinge of
wages, we have taken it into our consideracon, but have perfected
nothinge[774], the care of the poore and puttinge forth of apprentices
hath imployed soe much of our tyme.

[774] See note to Appendix XII. A.

The howes of correccon we have yett had noe tyme or means to alter but
we shall carefully and speedyly obey comandem^t.

For the highe wayes we have vsed our best diligence, and we have seene
the lawes strictly observed, but y^t must be a worke of tyme, and we
will continewe our care.

      Jhon Cutts. Edw. Hynde. Rob. Hatton. Martin Perse.
      Rec. this from y^e Justices
      Julii 16^o 1632."

F. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 226, No. 78.

Part of the certificate of the justices of Middlesex for the Finsbury

The original document contains the accounts of six parishes[775] but
only the part relating to St Giles', Cripplegate, is here printed.

[775] The other five parishes are St Sepulchres, Stoke Newington,
Clarkenwell, Islington and Friern Barnet. A note is also added that

      "Hornsey and Finchley }
      have levyed           } nil."

The document is endorsed "Finsbury Division Midd. Certificate of
forfeitures[776] levyed of vnlycensed alehousekeeps for defective
measures, for the poore 1630, 1631 & 1632."

[776] See above, pp. 138, note 2, and 177. These forfeitures were
partially used for setting the poor to work in three of the parishes
out of these six.

 [Sidenote: St Gyles Cripplegate in Com. Midd.]

      "The constables and churchwardens there
  haue levyed of Alehousekeepers unlycensed
  and for defective measures in annis 1630, 1631
  & 1632, hucusque                                 lxxiiij^{li} xv^s

 [Sidenote: Francis Foster, Thomas Howgrave, John Willes,

      And that they have improved by the stocke
  disbursed                                        iij^{li} xii^s

      Whereof they have disbursed to poore
  people for stocke to sett them on worke          ix^{li} viii^s

      And for releife of those that were infected
  w^{th} the plague in y^e said parishe            iiij^{li} xviii^s

 [Sidenote: Apprentices put out, 19.]

      And for the puttinge forth and Clothinge
  nyneteene Apprentices                             xxxiii^{li} xviii^s

 [Sidenote: Rewards to informers.]

      And for rewardes to those that discovered
  the said forfeitures in y^e paryshe (for the vse
  of y^e poore?)                                    viii^{li} iii^s

 [Sidenote: Discretion.]

      And they haue disbursed to divers poore
  people accordinge to theire necessities by the
  discretion of the saide churchwardens             xvi^{li} xvii^s

      They have receaved                            lxxviii^{li} vii^s

      And haue disbursed                            lxxiii^{li} iiii^s iiii^d

 [Sidenote: Stocke remayninge.]

  And there remaynes in stocke for the vse
  of the poore of that parishe[777]                   v^{li} ii^s viii^d"

 [777] The whole series of accounts are signed by the justices Thomas
 Fowler, William Hudson and John Herne.

G. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 349, No. 86.

Part of the Certificate from the wappentake of Bassetlaw[778] 10th
March 1636/7.

[778] See above, p. 256 seq.

The following document is endorsed "Nott. 10th March 1636," in another
hand, while in the same hand as the rest of the document is written,
"The Divisions of North Clay, South Clay and Hatfeild w^{th}in the
wapentake of Bersett Law in the County of Nottingha(m)." The part of
the document here printed relates to the division of South Clay.

 "A Certificate of our proceedings at the Monethly meeteings held
 w^{th}in the Hundred of Bersett Law in the County of Nottingh(a)m
 since the last Assizes delivered to his Ma^{ties} Judges of Assize the
 tenth day of March Anno d(omi)ni 1636.

 At East Retford for the Divisions of South Clay and North Clay in
 October and Februarie 1636."


 [779] The following twenty-two places are all small except Tuxford,
 which now possesses nearly a thousand inhabitants. All the others
 except five have less than three hundred inhabitants at the present

 They certifie six poore people w^{ch} haue weeckely releife.

 It(em) that they haue in Towne stocke xvi^s w^{ch} is bestowed in hemp
 and imployed to sett such poore on worke as wante.

 It(em) that they haue had noe wanderers come w^{th}in their liberties.

 It(em) that they haue 4 poore children to bee placed out apprentices
 w^{ch} are to bee bound the next meeteing.


 Impr(imis) there is in that Towne and parishe 6 impotent and aged
 people w^{ch} haue weeckely pension.

 It(em) they haue in Towne stocke xx^s.

 It(em) they haue punished one vagrant.

 It(em) they haue placed foure poore children app(re)ntices.


 [780] Stokeham has now only thirty-five inhabitants, so this report
 does not necessarily denote negligence.

 Impr(imis) they haue in that Towne noe poore people but such as are
 able to maintaine themselues.

 It(em) wanderers they had none.


 Impr(imis) they haue noe poore w^{ch} neede weeckely releife.

 It(em) they haue in Towne stocke 40^s to sett such poore on worke as

 It(em) they haue noe poore children fitt as yett to bee putt

 It(em) they haue punished 3 wanderers and sent the(m) into Yorkeshire
 where they sayed they were borne.


 Inpr(imis) they maintayne 3 poore people w^{th} weeckely pension being

 It(em) they haue in Towne stocke 3^{li} to sett such poore on worke as
 want worke.

 It(em) they haue noe poore children fitt to bee placed apprentices.

 It(em) wanderers they haue had none.

 _East Drayton._

 Impr(imis) they maintayne 5 poore people being impotent and aged
 w^{th} weeckely pension.

 It(em) they haue in Towne stocke 40^s to sett such other poore on
 worke as want worke.

 It(em) they haue noe poore children fitt to bee placed Apprentices.

 It(em) they haue punished 3 vagrants.


 Inpr(imis) they maintaine 2 poore people w^{th} weeckely pension.

 It(em) they haue 30^s in Towne stocke.

 It(em) they haue noe poore children fitt to bee placed apprentices.

 Item they haue punished 3 vagrants.


 Impr(imis) they maintaine one poore man w^{th} weeckely pension.

 It(em) they haue xx^{li} in Towne stocke.

 It(em) they haue placed out 2 Apprentices.

 Item they haue noe wanderers come w^{th}in their Towne.


 Impr(imis) they maintaine 4 poore people w^{th} monethly pension.

 It(em) they haue in Towne stocke 2^{li}. 6^s. 8^d.

 It(em) they haue noe poore children fitt to bee placed apprentices.

 It(em) wanderers they haue had none.


 Impr(imis) they have 5 poore people w^{ch} haue weeckely pension.

 It(em) in Towne stocke twenty mks.

 It(em) they haue placed out one apprentice.

 It(em) they haue punished one vagrant.


 Inpr(imis) in Towne stocke 2^{li}. 6^s. 8^d.

 It(em) one poore boy placed out apprentice.

 It(em) two wanderers punished.


 Inpr(imis) 3 poore people w^{ch} haue weeckely or monethly releife, as
 they neede.

 It(em) in Towne stocke x^{li}.

 It(em) wanderers they haue had none.


 Inpr(imis) in Towne stocke 6^{li}. 13^s. 4^d.

 It(em) wanderers they haue had none.

 It(em) poore children to bee placed out apprentices none.

 It(em) 4 poore people w^{ch} haue monethly releife.


 Impr(imis) they allowe a poore woman a weekely pension.

 It(em) they give for the keepinge of a bastard child per ann(um)
 xxxiii^s iiij^d.

 It(em) in towne stock 4 pounds.

 It(em) they haue punished 2 vagrants.


 Impr(imis) they give to 9 poore people weekely pension.

 It(em) in towne stock five pounds.

 It(em) they haue placed out 6 poore children apprentice.

 It(em) they haue punished 3 vagrants.

 _East Markham._

 Impr(imis) in towne stock vij pounds.

 It(em) they haue placed out fower apprentice and w^{th} two of them
 given vii^{li} x^s.

 It(em) wanderers they haue had none.


 Impr(imis) the(y) releeve weekly of poore people, impotent, aged and
 younge children 29.

 It(em) they haue punished 3 vagrants.


 Impr(imis) they haue no poore that need releefve all being able to
 mainteine themselues w^{th} theire labo^r.

 It(em) they haue no towne stock in regard theire poore are otherwise
 sett on worke.

 It(em) they haue no wanderers.


 Imp(rimi)s they mainteine 8 poore people w^{th} weekly pension and one
 w^{th} monthly pension.

 It(em) towne stock they haue none because they imploy theire poore in
 other worke as they wante it.

 _Laxton cu(m) Morehouse._

 Inpr(imi)s they haue placed 3 poore children out apprentice and given
 w^{th} them vi^{li} x^s.

 It(em) they haue no towne stock, theire poore such as want work beinge
 sett on worke otherwise by the towne.

 It(em) wanderers they haue had none.

 _West Markham._

 Impr(imi)s they haue diuers younge children but are too young to place
 out apprentice w^{ch} wee maintaine and theire parents w^{th} worke.

 It(em) an old woman is mainteyned w^{th} a monethly pension of v^s
 iiij^d and a load of coles eu(er)y yeare.

 It(em) wanderers they haue had none.

 _Headon cu(m) Upton._

 Impr(imi)s they give vnto 3 poore people a weekly allowance.

 It(em) such poore as are able to worke are sett on worke.

 It(em) they haue placed out 4 apprentice.

 It(em) they haue punished 2 vagrants."

The reports for the divisions of North Clay and Hatfeild follow, and
the whole is signed by the justices.

H. _Dom. State Papers_, Chas. I., Vol. 395, No. 55.

Certificate concerning the Book of Orders from the hundreds of Loes,
Wilford, Thredling and Plomesgate, 14 July 1638[781].

[781] See above, p. 264.

 [Sidenote: Suff.]

 "To the high Sheriffe of the County of Suff.

 The Certificate of the Justices of the peace whose names are
 herevnd(er)written for the hundreds of Loes, Willford, Thredlinge
 and Plomesgate w^{th}in the lib(er)ty of S^{ct} Etheldred made the
 xiiii^{th} day of Julye: 1638, touchinge his Ma^{t's} Booke of Orders
 as followeth:

 1. First that wee doe contynue o^r monethly meeteings w^{th}in the
 said hundreds according to his Ma^{t's} said Booke of orders.

 2. That the impotent poore w^{th}in the said hundreds are releived
 and such other poore as are able to worke and will worke haveing noe
 stocks are provided of stocks and sett to worke by the ou(er)seers.

 3. That such idle poore as will nott worke are sent to the house of
 Correction and there sett to worke and punished according to lawe.

 4. That the nomber of sup(er)fluous alehowses w^{th}in the said
 hundreds doe still contynue suppressed.

 5. That since o^r last c(er)tificate wee haue bound forth syxe poore
 children to be apprentices.

 6. That since o^r last c(er)tificate wee haue levied w^{th}in the said
 hundreds for disorders in Innes and Alehowses and for other offences
 comitted contrary to lawe the some of Twenty shillings.

 7. That there hath bin a watch kept w^{th}in the said hundreds for the
 apprehending of Rogues and vagabonds in w^{ch} watch such Rogues as
 haue bin Apprehended haue bin punished and sent according to lawe.

      Edw^d Duke.
      Nic. Reuette."


The assessment for a rate made at Norwich in Jan. 1642/3 in order to
relieve the poor and to raise a stock for setting them to work (Add.
MSS. Brit. Mus. No. 22619, f. 11).

The accounts for this rate are given in full for seven parishes of
Norwich, and a summary is also made of the accounts received from all
the parishes of the city. The whole sum together with contributions
from a few private gentlemen amounted to £105. 5_s._

The part of the account here printed relates to the parish of S.
Benedict. It is printed on a separate sheet of paper and is endorsed
"St Benedict's."

 "_St Benedict's._

                      _s._ _d._

  Ric. Puckle          02 : 8
  Edward Norris        02 : 0
  Daniell Stiles       01 : 4
  Will(ia)m Fearman    01 : 4
  Tho. Powle           01 : 4
  Henery Tompson       01 : 4
  Daniell Desermew     02 : 8
  Nathaniell Debony    02 : 0
  Nathaniel Depute     02 : 0
  Francis Gissell      02 : 0
  Will(ia)m Stratton   02 : 0
  John Whall           01 : 4

  Richard Puckle, Edw. Norris, _Churchwardens_.
  Henry Tompson, John Sabbarton, _Overseers_.

 The rate abouesaid made by vs the churchwardens and ou(er)seers of the
 said parishe whose names are aboue written for releiffe of the poore
 of o^r said parishe and for rayseinge a stocke to sett them on worke
 in theise necessitous times to be forth w^{th} paid at one payment
 this 3 day of January 1642.

 We haue perused the rate abouesaid and doe consent vnto ratefie and
 confirme the same and doe hereby require yo^u the said ou(er)seers
 forth w^{th} to collect the same and pay the same to M^r Adrian
 Parmenter Ald(erman) by the 14^{th} of this instant January to be
 imployed for the vse aforesaid this 4^{th} of January 1642.

      Will(ia)m Costlin, _Maio^r_.
      Adryan Pimenter.

    Rd. this 24^{th} of January } John Tolye
        In full of this byll    }  xxii^s."


Report of the Four Royal Hospitals, 1644[782] (_King's pamphlets_, 669,
f. 10, No. 2).

[782] See above, p. 269. These reports were apparently issued every
year, and most of them between 1642 and 1649 are among the _King's

 A true Report of the great Costs and Charges of the foure Hospitals,
 in the City of London, in the maintenance of their great number of
 poore, this present yeare, 1644, as followeth:

  Children kept and maintained at this present, at the             }
  Charge of Christs Hospitall in the said House, in diverse        }  758
  places of this City and Suburbes, and with sundry Nurses         }
  in the Countrey.                                                 }

 The Names of all which are registred in the Bookes kept in Christs
 Hospitall, there to be seene from what Parishes, and by what meanes
 they have beene from time to time admitted.

  Children put forth Apprentices, discharged and dead                }
  this yeare last past                                               }  100

 In respect of the troubles of the times, the meanes of the said
 Hospitall hath very much failed for want of charitable Benevolences
 which formerly have beene given, and are now ceased and very few
 Legacies are now given to Hospitals, the Rents and Revenues thereunto
 belonging being also very ill paid; besides the want of bringing Cloth
 and other Manufactures to London, which have formerly bin brought to
 _Blackwell-Hall_, the Hallage whereof was a great part of the poore
 Childrens Maintenance, which being decaied, by these and other meanes,
 the said Hospitall hath not beene able to take in any Children for two
 yeares past.

  There hath bin Cured this yeare last past at the                   }
  Charge of _St. Bartholomewes_ Hospitall of maymed Souldiers        } 1122
  and other diseased Persons, to the number of                       }

 All which have beene relieved with Money and other necessaries at
 their departure.

  Buried this yeare after much Charge in their Sicknesse      } 152

  Remaining under Cure at this present, at the charge of      }
  the said Hospitall                                          }  249

  There hath bin Cured at the Charge of _St. Thomas_          }
  Hospitall this yeare last past, of diseased persons, wherof }
  a great number have bin Souldiers who have bin relieved     } 1063
  with money and other necessaries at their departure         }

  Buried this yeare after much charge in the time of          }
  their Sicknesse                                             }  248

  Remaining under Cure, upon the charge of the said           }
  Hospitall at this present                                   }  265

  There hath beene brought to the Hospitall of _Bridewell_    }
  within the space of one whole yeare last past, of Cavaleers } 1128
  and wandring Souldiers and other vagrant people, to the     }
  number of                                                   }

 Many whereof have beene very chargeable to the said Hospitall, for
 Apparrell, sicke dyet and Surgery, besides their ordinary dyet, and
 other provisions and charges expended about them, which could not be
 avoyded, by reason of their necessities. And there are now kept and
 maintained in Arts and Occupations, and other severall workes and
 labours at the charge of the said Hospitall, to the number of 134
 Apprentices and other Persons.

 The Hospitall of _Bethlem_ is of great antiquity, use and necessity
 for keeping and curing distracted persons who are of all other the
 most miserable, by reason of their wants, both for soule and body and
 have no sence thereof.

 That the charge thereof is very great, there being kept and maintained
 with Physick, dyet, and other reliefe, 44 distracted persons,
 constantly at least, and the rents and revenues thereof very small,
 not amounting to two third parts of the yearely charge and therefore
 is a fit object of Charity.

The date "Aprill 24^{th} 1644" is added in a contemporary hand with the
note that "this yeare ther was noe psalmes printed as usually."


Ordinance of the Lords for putting in execution the laws for the relief
of the poor[783] (_King's pamphlets_, Brit. Mus. 669, f. 9, No. 81).

[783] See above, p. 270.

This sheet is prefixed by the royal arms.

 Die Veneris 5 March 1646.

 The Lords in Parliament Assembled taking into their consideration
 the multitude of Beggars, poore, and Vagabonds in and about the
 Cities of _London_, _Westminster_ and in the other parts of this
 Kingdome; for prevention whereof, divers Acts of Parliament have
 been made, as well to punish such Beggars and Vagabonds, as also
 to provide for the reliefe of poore people, but by reason of the
 unhappy distractions of these times, the putting of the Lawes into
 Execution have been altogether neglected. It is therefore Ordered by
 the Lords in Parliament assembled, That the Lord Mayor of the City of
 _London_ for the time being, and all Judges and Justices of Assize
 and Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer and generall Goale delivery,
 in their severall Circuits, and Justices of Peace in their Quarter
 Sessions, and all other person or persons (who are by any Act of
 Parliament entrusted to see the said Acts put in Execution, and the
 poore to be provided for) doe strictly and carefully put in Execution
 all and severall the Acts of Parliament for the punishment of Beggers,
 Rogues, and Vagabonds and for releife of the poore. And the said
 Judges and Justices of Assize in their severall Circuits are required
 to give the said Acts of Parliament in charge at the Assizes in all
 the Countries where they shall come and keep Assize.

      _Joh. Brown Cler. Parliament._

      Printed at _London_ for _John Wright_ at the King's Head
      in the Old Baily 1646.


  abbey, new 28

  abbeys 3, 290, _see_ monasteries

  Abbot, Archbishop 157, 164, 211, 222, 258

  Aberdeen, boro. 280 n., 285, 286, 289;
    diocese of 287

  Abingdon 226, 260

  able-bodied poor, _see_ poor

  accounts of overseers of Alton 174
     "     of Bridewell 352 seq.
     "     of Gloucester 129, 130
     "     of overseers &c. of Finsbury division 360 seq.
     "     of Newcastle corporation 125
     "     of overseers, collectors, deacons, &c. of Norwich,
        102 n., 367
     "     of overseers in St Alban's district 182
     "     of overseers of St John's Walbrook 97
     "     of Sheffield corporation 225, 226
     "     of overseers of Staplegrove 327 seq.
     "     of Reading workhouse 113

  Acland, Sir John, charity of 216 n.

  Acts of Parliament, _see_ statutes

  actions legal, fees for 44

  Acton, J. and W., charities of 234 n.

  administration, _see_ execution of law

  Aelfric 3 n.

  Agbrigg 192 n., 255 n.

  aldermen, authority of, 134 n.
      "     of London 26, 30, 55, 95, 96, 305 seq.
      "     Court of 26, 30
      "     of Norwich 102 n., 104, 105, 106, 224 n.
      "     of Newcastle 124
      "     of Cambridge 44

  Aldrich, Allderiche, Aldriche, John 104, 308, 311 seq.

  Aldworth, Richard 212 n.

  Aldworth, Thomas 122, 222 n.

  alehouses, alehouse keepers, license of 117, 179, 332
      "      unlicensed 174, 346 seq.
      "      questions touching, 344
      "      misdemeanours in 175, 346 seq., 366, _see_ fines
      "      reduction and suppression of 145, 185 seq., 194 n., 252,
        325, 332, 358, 366
      "      regulation of 179, 180, 325, 331, 332, 346 seq.
      "      fines for unlicensed &c. 138 n., 360 seq., 366,
        _see_ Sunday

  Alfred, King 3

  All Saints', Hereford 211 n.

  allowance to poor brethren 42 n., _see_ pensions

  almoners, Gloucester 129 n.

  alms, _almes_, _almose_, _allmns_, _almesse_, _alyms_, 30, 35, 36,
        52, 54, 55, 102, 271
    "   increase beggars 40
    "   in Anglo-Saxon times 2 seq.
    "   at Southampton 9
    "   of great houses, 17 seq.
    "   distributed by parish priests, monks and guilds 6 seq.
    "   of Sir Julius Caesar, 295
    "   official collection of, 26, 55, 56, 57, 62, 63, 96, 278
    "   whether or not given to particular people in Norwich, 308 seq.
    "   in France 290
    "   _see_ charities, collections, contributions and giver,
        restraint of

  almsgiving, 66, _see_ alms

  almshouses, 8, 19, 27 n., 77, 101, 204, 207 seq.

  Alton 173, 176, 177 n., 186, 256 n.

  Alythwaite 214

  amendments 75 seq.

  America 230 n.

  Amesbury 50 n.

  Andersfield 194 n., 254 n., 261

  Andover 186, 298

  Anglo-Saxon times 2 seq.

  Antigua 230

  Applebye, William 217 n.

  Appleton in the Street 171 n.

  Appletree 151, 262 n., 299

  Appowell, charity of 233

  apprentices, statutory provisions touching 55, 56, 57, 76, 134 n.,
        138 n., 154, 155, 158, 179 n., 343 n.
       "       in Scotland 279, 279 n.
       "       poor children placed as 35 n., 117 n., 129, 167, 173,
        174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 215 seq., 247, 248, 249, 250,
        251, 252, 253 seq., 299, 315, 328, 345 seq., 357, 359,
        361 seq., 366, 369
       "       in Bridewell 38, 217, 352, 353, 354, 356, 270
       "       opinion concerning 215 seq., 244, 295
       "       questions touching 247, 342, 344, _see_ charities

  archbishops, _see_ Canterbury and York

  aristocracy 296

  Arksey 168

  Armingford 82

  arms and armour 338, 339

  army, Parliamentary 274

  Arth, Henry 127 seq., 139, 168 n.

  _articles_ sent to justices 81
      "      " overseers 174, 181

  artificers 49, 228 n., 322, 323, _see_ labourers and lending cash

  Arundel 256

  Ashley, Prof. 20

  Ashton-under-Line 259

  Askham 257 n., 363

  assemblies, tumultuous 270

  Asser 3 n.

  assessments, cessments 116 seq., 167, 173 n., 180
       "       in London 29, 96
       "       in Cambridge 44
       "       in Norwich 104, 223 n., 367 seq.
       "       in North Riding 171, 171 n., 173
       "       in West Riding, 168
       "       voluntary 117, 129, _see_ rates

  assizes 179 n., 247 n., 299

  assize of bread and beer 176, 332, 344

  Atkinson, Thomas 176

  attorneys 44

  Athelstan, the Atheling 3 n.
      "      King 2 n.

  Atwill, charity of 222 n.

  Aucher, Richard 187 n.

  Audeley, Robert 265 n.

  Augsburg 20

  Axton 264 n.

  Aylesham 331

  Babergh 173 n., 187, 245

  _babis_ 280 n., 285

  Bacon, Lord 73, 74, 76, 79, 294

  Bacon, Nathaniel 316

  Badbury 256 n.

  badges for beggars 25, 26, 41, 280 n., 284 n., 285, 288 n.,
        _see_ beggars, tokens

  badgers 50 n., 87 seq., 188 n., 193, 316, 322, 323 seq., 340
     "    def. of 320

  Bagby 214 n.

  Bailey, Old 71 n.

  bailies, bailiffs 44, 57
     "     Scotch 279, 287 n.
     "     of Ipswich 42, 43, 115
     "     of Norwich Bridewell 104, 312
     "     of Lydd 178

  bairns 280

  baize, bays, bayes 152, 160, 225

  bakehouse 37

  bakers 124, 150, 176, 321, 332, 358

  Bakers 197 n.

  Bamme, Adam 23

  Banbury 185

  Banff 284

  banishment 77

  bankruptcies 148

  bar of House of Lords 76

  Barbados 229, 330

  Barbor, charity of 234 n.

  bark 85

  Barker, Andrew 215 n.

  Barking 83

  barley 179, 185 seq., 189 n.
    "    bread corne of poore, 145, _see_ corn

  Barnes, Sir George 31, 35

  Barnet 181, 182, 214 n., 258, _see_ Chipping Barnet and Friern Barnet

  Barnstaple, 121, 202, 202 n., 227, 230, 234

  Barnwell Gate 226

  barrack 27 n.

  Barrett, John, charity of 234

  Barrington, Sir Thomas 340, 341

  _baskitmaker_ 309

  Bastable 228 n.

  Bastardy 75

  Bassetlaw, report from 256 seq., 361 seq.

  Bath, Earl of, 121

  beadle, biddell, 34, 98, 355

  bearwards, _bearewards_ 68, 69, 70, 344

  Becontree 228 n.

  bedding, bedsteads, bedticks, 33, 260 n., 357 n.

  Bedford co. 89, 91 n.

  Bedford boro. 255, 261

  Bede 2

  beer 181, 198, 199, 207
    "  export forbidden 150
    "  price of 179, 331

  beggars, beggary 2, 11 seq., 31, 36, 38, 43, 54, 77, 81, 151, 167,
        169, 175, 242, 244, 295
     "     continental 13
     "     Scotch 278 seq., 287 seq.
     "     Irish 93
     "     sturdy and able-bodied, 4, 11 seq., 34, 56, 59, 99, 325,
        _see_ vagrants, rogues
     "     impotent, _see_ poor
     "     licensed or badged 20, 25, 26, 41, 42, 45, 53, 54, 58, 63,
        168, 279, 280 n., 284, 287 seq.
     "     movements restricted 5, _see_ settlement
     "     regulations of London 25 seq.
     "     number in Norwich 102
     "     punishment of 25, 79, 181, _see_ vagrants
     "     multitude of 11 seq., 280 n., 288
     "     declared rogues, 134, 344
     "     disappearance of 128, _see_ vagrants

  begging prohibited 58, 101, 104, 105, 106, 311

  Bell, Thomas 209

  _Belman_ 224

  benevolences 227 n., 269

  Bennett, Sir T., charity of 221 n.

  Bentley 168

  bequests, _see_ charities

  Bergholt 50

  Berkshire 48, 87 n., 192, 193, 196 n.

  Bethlehem, Bedlam 27 n., 28, 35, 38, 354, 370, _see_ hospitals, royal

  Beverley 210, 223, 255

  Bills 68 seq.
    "   of 1566 68
    "   of 1571 69
    "   of 1572 69
    "   new, of 1597 74 seq.
    "   for Houses of Correction 75 seq., 137
    "   new bill for rogues 76, 137

  bill of churchwardens 99

  billeting of poor 192, 214, 242, 251

  Bilstrop (Bilsthorpe) 364

  Birden, W., charity of 234 n.

  Bishops 58 n., 59 n., 86 n.
     "    exhortation of, 52, 57, 59
     "    appropriates tithe for poor 6 n.
     "    letter to 122
     "    inquire into breaches of trust 78, 136
     "    interrogatories of 58 n.

  Bishops Castle 263 n.

  Black Death 3
    "   Friars, House of 43

  Blackfriars 272

  Blackwell Hall 48, 369

  Blandford 253

  blind 55

  Blofield 228 n., 191 n.

  Bloise, Alice and Rose, charities of 234 n.

  Blue Coat School, _see_ Christ's Hospital

  Blundell, Alice, charity of 233

  Blythe, Dr 44

  Blything, hundred of 89 seq., 190 n.

  boarding out 202, 219, 369

  Bocardo 221 n.

  Bocking 152, 160, 161

  Bole 257 n.

  Boltby 171 n.

  Book of Orders, _see_ Orders

  book register 57 n.

  books of subscriptions, London 31

  "_Booke devised for the settinge of the poore on worke_" 93, 98 seq.

  _Booke for the Poore_, Norwich 102, 311 seq., _see_ _Maioris Bocke_

  _boote wrighte_ 309

  booth 44

  boroughs, _see_ towns

  Boscombe 50 n.

  Boteler, John 351

  Bountisborough 246

  Bowes 35, 111

  box, poor's 55, 58 n., 113, 288, 290

  boys 216, 216 n., 217 n.
    "  of St Giles' 198
    "  emigrant 230, _see_ children
    "  at school 218

  Bradford 186

  Brafferton, Thomas 111

  Braintree 152, 160, 161

  Bramber 256 n., 265 n., 298

  branding 138 n., 243

  Braughing, half hundred report on book of orders 248 seq., 256 n.,
        344 seq.
      "      corn sold under price 190 n., 191 n., 252, 263 n., 344 seq.

  Braughing town 345, 349

  bread 198, 199
     "  poor relieved with 90, 124, 192
     "  gifts of 207, 212, 212 n., 345, 349
     "  serving poor with 180, 181
     "  three sorts of 332, _see_ assize of bread

  brethren of St Cross 208 n.

  brewers 176, 321, 324, 331, 335, _see_ maltsters

  Bridewell 26 n., 31, 32, 33, 36 seq., 65, 69, 92 n., 98, 99, 100,
        217 seq., 229, 244 n., 269, 370
      "     London apprentices of 38, 217 seq., 235, 352, 353, 354, 356
      "     report of 351 seq.
      "     better sort in 37
      "     steward and officials of 37, 351, 355 seq.
      "     clerk of the work in 37
      "     value of labour in 352
      "     money given towards 352
      "     debts due to 354
      "     revenues of 356
      "     occupations in 33, 100, 217
      "     Norfolk 94
      "     Norwich House of Normans 101, 104, 311 seq., 314
      "     Bristol 114 n., _see_ hospitals royal and governors of,
        and also Correction Houses of

  Bridgwater 185 n., 157
      "      Earl of 156 n.

  bridges, charities for 136, 137 n.

  Bridport 193

  briefs for collections 203

  Brinklow 28, 30

  Bristol, Brestow 40, 86 n., 114, 121 n., 124, 150, 189, 209, 210,
        212, 213, 215 n., 219, 220, 222 n., 227
     "     scarcity measures 1594-7, 122 seq.
     "     pressure on employers at 231, lending cash

  Brittany 291

  Brixton 83, 256

  broggers 320

  buck sold under price 191 n.

  Buckingham co. 88 n., 193
      "      boro. 188, 256 n., 261, 265 n.

  Buckingham, Duke of 12, 19 n.

  Buckrose, 259 n.

  Buddlesgate 256 n.

  Budleigh, West 190 n.

  Bullington 82

  Bulmer 196 n.

  Bulmer, Henry de 8

  Buntingford 228, 228 n.

  Burgesses 42, _see_ towns

  Burghley, _see_ Cecil

  burial, paupers 180, 329

  Burneston 171 n.

  Burnham 245

  Burton's almshouse 210

  Bury 65, 113, 116, 157, 157 n., 163 n., 200

  bushel, varying size of 84 n., 187 n.

  butchers, fines of, 138 n., 175

  butter 51, 199

  buttons, making of 223, 309

  Caesar, John 296

  Caesar, Sir Julius 244, 295, 331

  Caistor, Sessions of, 88

  cakes 332

  Calais 48

  Cambridge co. 82, 162, 191 n., 192, 253 n., 263, 358 seq.
      "     boro. 43 seq., 45, 62, 64, 108, 200, 264
      "     new tenements in, 93
      "     workhouse at 226
      "     Mayor 174
      "     St Mary's church in 44
      "     reports from 174 seq., 176, 177 n.
      "     university of 93 n., 176

  Campbell, Lady 233

  Canninge, William 210

  Cannington 254 n., 261

  canons, _see_ Aelfric

  Canterbury 4, 41
      "      parishes of St Andrew, St George, St Michael 41
      "      work at 110
      "      see of 211

  Canterbury, Archbp. of 86 n., 101, 102, 122, 157, 211, 217

  caps 33

  captives, charities for 136

  Carberton (Carburton) 257 n.

  cards, carders, carding 33, 85, 260 n.

  Carew, Sir Ranulph 178

  Carhampton 245

  Caribee Isles, Lord of 230

  Carleton, letter to 145 n., 146

  Carlford 264 n.

  Carmarthen 151

  Carlisle, Earl of, 230

  carpenters 103, 218, 225, 354

  Carr, John 219

  carriers 138 n., 175

  carts, attacks on 196, 197 n.

  Cartmell 214

  Cashio 191 n., 255 n.

  Catherine, wife of Hen. VIII. 27

  cavaliers 370

  Cecil, Lord Burghley 31, 32, 68, 74, 75, 79, 81, 86, 93, 119 n.,
        146, 318, 334
    "    letter to 32, 126
    "    Sir Robert 130 n., 136 n.
    "    Sir Thomas 74

  census of poor, Norwich 103, 308 seq.

  certificate of punishment 54
       "      of observance of fasts &c. 122, _see_ reports

  Chamberlain 146 n.

  Chamberlain, the 8, 25

  Champion, Humphrey 212 n.

  Chancellor, Lord 78, 136
      "       of the Exchequer 157
      "       of University 70

  chantries, statute of 43

  chapmen, petty 70, 344

  charge to overseers 142, 180
     "   of Lord Chancellor 166

  charity, charities 7, 59, 61, 63, 86 n., 136, 137, 200, 204,
        210 seq., 259, 289, 295
     "     old methods of 17
     "     for providing work 222 seq., _see_ work
     "     for apprentices 215, 216
     "     for prisoners 220 seq., _see_ lending cash, endowments

  charitable uses 78, 248, 342, 345 seq.

  Charles I. 27 n., 16, 151, 153, 161, 163, 164, 172, 198, 295, 337
      "      justices of 292, 298, 304
      "      reign of 1, 21, 68, 198, 288
      "      personal government of 238, 241, 254

  Charles II., reign of 276

  Charter of University 176
     "    of St Cross 207

  Charterhouse 211

  cheese 199

  Cheeseman 112 n.

  Cheap, _Chepe_, _Cheape_, ward of 25, 305

  Cherbury 299 n.

  Chert, B., charity of 222 n.

  Cheshire 138 seq.
      "    constable of 139
      "    reports from 248

  chest, town 111, 201, 222, 280 n.

  Chester 8
     "    fair of 139
     "    Earl of 139
     "    castle at 248
     "    hospital at 271

  Chesterton 82 n., 264
      "      358 seq.

  Cheveley 82, 191 n.

  Chichester 228 n.

  children 31, 32, 34, 39, 43, 57, 64, 65 n., 76, 98, 99, 109, 113,
        117 n., 134, 135 n., 167, 167 n., 169 n., 175, 198, 215 seq.,
        226, 238, 294, 299, 369 seq.
     "     unapt for learning 33
     "     vagrant 82, 83
     "     apprenticing of, _see_ apprentices
     "     payments for 181
     "     emigrant 229
     "     in Norwich 103, 104, 105, 313 seq.
     "     in Wardrobe 272, 273
     "     Scotch 279, 281
     "     those overcharged with 127
     "     _see_ apprentices, Christ's Hospital, Bridewell, orphanages,

  Children's Hospital, _see_ St Giles' Norwich

  Chilford 192 n., 253 n., 256 n., 264 n.

  Chipping Barnet 181, 182, 214 n.

  Chipping Wycombe 188 n., 192 n., 193 seq.

  Chorley 346

  Christ's Church 28

  Christ's Hospital, London 26 n., 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40,
        216, 219, 269 seq., 369
          "          Treasurer of 97, 97 n., 99
          "          Ipswich, 43, 113, 117, 218, 269, 270
          "          guider of 113

  Christmas 1622 145, 146

  chroniclers of Bristol and Shrewsbury 123 seq.

  church, churches, every one to go to 58 n., 65, 100
     "    people called to 31, 306
     "    absence from, _see_ fines
     "    in London 28
     "    charities for repairing 136
     "    plate 41

  churchwardens, 44, 55, 56, 57, 59, 96, 122, 129, 154, 159, 167,
        169 n., 170 n., 171 n., 174, 175, 263 n., 305, 306, 360
        "        French 290
        "        accounts of 327
        "        inquiries made from 337
        "        returns of 345 seq.

  citizens of London 27 n., 34, 35, 64

  City of London, _see_ London

  Cirencester 82

  Civil War 113, 132, 150, 153, 198, 202, 231, 238, 266 seq., 270,
        274 seq., 301, 301 n., 302

  Clackclose 264 n.

  Clavering 190 n.

  Clay, North and South 361

  clergy, felony without 70

  Clerkenwell 264, 360 n.

  clerk in Bridewell 355

  cloth, _cloathing_, cloth trade 16, 138 n., 150, 152 seq.,
        160 seq., 173 n., 369
    "    crisis in trade 48 seq., 85 seq., 145, 147 seq., 152 seq.,
        230 seq., 245, 337 seq.
    "    poor employed to make 111, 182, 222, 223, 225, 358
    "    making at Bridewell 37 seq.
    "    length of 160
    "    vent of 145 n., 337
    "    unsold 152
    "    linen 117 n.

  clothiers, clothworkers, clothemen 37, 49, 85 seq., 147 seq.,
        160 seq., 173 n., 223, 255, 259, 336 seq., 358
      "      wages of workfolk 160 seq.
      "      pressure on employers, _see_ employers
      "      representative 148 n.
      "      money lent to 234, 235
      "      Gloucestershire 85, 115, 149
      "      Reading 231
      "      Ipswich 115

  clothing, gifts of 212 n.

  Clothworkers' Company 212

  Clugny, cells of 27 n.

  coal 199, _see_ fuel

  cobbler 308

  Cock, Christopher, charity of 234

  coin, coinage 16, 49, 50 n., 147

  Coke, Lord 74, 156 n., 157, 241, 243, 338

  Colchester 157, 157 n., 197 n.
      "      provision of work, and workhouse at 110, 113
      "      corn in 50, 185
      "      lending cash, charity in 235

  _colers_ of iron 25

  collections 55, 62, 229, 283, 290, 315
       "      in London 26, 29, 31, 96, 97
       "      in Lincoln 42 seq.
       "      for plague stricken 52, 200, 201
       "      for sufferers from fire 202

  collectors for the poor 130 n.
       "     Scotch 279
       "     for individuals 344

  colleges, French 290

  Colneis 264 n.

  commissions 84, 85 n., 144, 262 n.
       "      draft of 145 n., 243, 244, 342

  commissions of 1630/1 152, 156, 157, 240, 246, 252, 292
       "      local 157
       "      of charitable uses 248

  commissioners, 31, 50, 156, 157 seq., 159, 173, 253, 371, 351
        "        in Norwich 104, 106
        "        division of 157
        "        _for the Poore_ 156 note 2, note 3

  committees 156, 157, 280 n.
       "     of Council of State 273
       "     great 74, 76, 79
       "     for enclosures 74
       "     of Lords 75
       "     of eastern counties 275
       "     of Privy Council 148 n., 156, 156 n., 161

  Common Council 24, 28, 29, _see_ Journals and London

  Commons, House of 68 seq., 73 seq., 79, 293, 297

  Commonwealth 269 seq., 308

  communication, means of 84

  Companies, City 29, 30, 63, 97, 100, 212, 213, 233
      "      at St Albans 111, _see_ Ironmongers &c.

  _Complaynt of Roderyck Mors_ 7

  Comptroller, Mr 338

  conclusions 293 seq.

  Conningsby hospital 211 n.

  Conners 197 n.

  Connock, charity of 221 n.

  _Consforthe, Southe_ 308, 310

  constables 65, 95, 98, 99, 120, 159, 166, 171, 174, 175, 180, 181,
        182, 247, 273 n., 343, 360
      "      Scotch 282
      "      as collectors of revenue 268
      "      return of 345 seq.
      "      high 71, 170 n., 175, 317

  continent 20, 71, _see_ Europe

  contributions 45, 167, 202, 222, 285, 286 n., 289 n.
       "        deficient 97, 289 n.

  convention of Scottish boroughs 280, 285

  Cooper, John 227 n.

  Copley, Edw. 176

  corn 68, 83 seq., 204
    "   scarcity of, dearth of, in England 23 seq., 40 seq., 44,
        49 seq., 51, 61, 84 seq., 119 seq., 130 n., 144 seq., 149,
        150 seq., 163, 164, 172, 184 seq., 243, 245, 294, 316 seq.,
        318 seq., 338 seq., 344 seq.,
                                in Scotland 282, 286 seq.
    "   success of orders touching 89,192 seq.
    "   price of 84 seq., 119, 121 seq., 180, 191 n., 193, 194 seq.,
        301 n., 316, 341
    "   difficult to obtain 121, 125, 195 seq.
    "   price fixed 51, 88, 121
    "   transportation forbidden 144 n., 150
    "   stores of 23 seq., 40 seq., 50, 121 seq., 188 seq., 191 seq.,
        203, 340, 345, 346 seq.
    "   sold under price 89, 121 seq., 149, 187 seq., 193, 197 n., 249,
        323, 341
    "   sold at home 185, 187, 190 seq.
    "   surveys of 50, 87, 185, 186 seq., 193, 195, 317, 319 seq.,
        334 seq.
    "   gifts of 8, 204
    "   corn seized 85, 148 n.
    "   neglect to provide 124
    "   plentiful 192, 192 n., 203
    "   _see_ engrossers, badgers, orders and reports

  _corne busynes_ 166

  corn dealers 24, 85, _see_ badgers

  _corne maisters and mongers_ 128

  corn owners 88 n., 89, 195

  corner in wheat 195

  Cornwall 84, 130 n., 150, 187, 192 n., 196 n., 239, 258, 262 n., 266

  Corporation of the Poor 272, 273
       "      in Barnstaple 271

  corporations, _see_ town, rulers of

  correction by parents 99

  Correction, Houses of 36, 43, 66, 72, 75, 77, 79, 80, 113 seq., 126,
        130, 134 n., 136, 137, 140 seq., 158, 167, 170, 179 n., 217,
        221, 223, 225 seq., 241, 272, 294 seq., 325, 360, 366
       "      Scotch 281, 286
       "      at Arundel 228 n.,
                 Barnstaple 227 n.,
                 Bristol 114 n.,
                 Buntingford 228 n.,
                 Bury 113 seq.,
                 Cambridge 226,
                 Chester 248,
                 Chichester 228 n.,
                 Devonshire 227,
                 Devizes 229,
                 Essex 228 n.,
                 Gloucester 129, 227,
                 Hastings 228,
                 Herts 156 n.,
                 Ipswich _see_ Christ's Hospital,
                 Kendal 227 n.,
                 Liverpool 227 n.,
                 London, _see_ Bridewell,
                 Manchester 228,
                 Middlesex 156 n., 228, 264 n.,
                 Norfolk 228 n.,
                 Norwich 101, 107,
                 Nottingham 218, 227, 228,
                 Preston 228,
                 Reading 114,
                 Shepton Mallet 228 n.,
                 Stafford 274 n.,
                 Suffolk 228 n.,
                 Surrey 228,
                 Wakefield 128,
                 West Riding 168,
                 Winchester 118,
                 York 114

  Cosford 173 n., 245 n., 264 n.

  cost of living 34

  costs and charges of Royal Hospitals 369 seq.

  Cotele, Thomas 342

  cottages 57, 73, 125, 169, 169 n., 297

  Council of State 271, 273, 277
     "    of the North 80
     "    French 292
     "    _see_ Privy Council, Common Council

  counties, maritime 85, 85 n.
     "      home 85 n.
     "      clothmaking 145 n., 147
     "      officials of 179, 292, 294, _see_ justices, treasurer
     "      export from 150, 151
     "      to have a house of correction 137

  _Countrey Justice, The_ 139 seq.

  country employment in 231

  Court 146
    "   of Royal Hospitals 36
    "   Leet 158, _see_ Aldermen, Common Council

  Court books of Bridewell 38, 229 n.

  Cox, Edw. 215 n.

  Coxall 152

  cows for poor 346

  crafts 24, 37
    "    guilds of 210

  Crediton 190 n.

  Cromwell, Henry 87 n., 265 n.
     "      Oliver 87 n., 265 n.
     "      Thomas 18

  Crotch, Nathaniel 224 n.

  Croydon 211, 216, 222 n.

  Croyland 3

  Cuckney 257 n.

  Cumberland 239

  curate 305, 307

  curés 290

  _Curse of Corne horders_ 196

  Dacorum 190 n.

  Dalton, Michael 139 seq., 179 n.

  Danby, Edm., will of 136 n.
    "    Earl of 156 n.

  Danzig, Dansicke 124

  Darleton (Darlton) 363

  Dartford 264 n.

  deacon, deaconnes, Scotch 285 n.;
                     Norwich 102 n., 105, 106, 311 seq., 313;
    orders for 314

  dealers 50, 50 n., 84, 93, 193
     "    sell to poor under price 192, _see_ badgers

  Deane, Thos. 212 n.

  death, punishment of 57, 70, 71 n., 73, 77

  dearth of corn, _see_ corn

  debates 68 seq., 76, 294

  debtors 220, 221 n.

  decades, wages during successive 301 n.

  December, 1630, corn reports of 194

  decrepit and auld 280 n.

  Deepwade 191 n.

  Deerhurst 82

  denizens 152

  Denmark 124

  depopulation 158, _see_ enclosures

  Derby 188

  Description of England 12

  Devizes 228, 229

  Devon 84, 91 n., 93, 120, 148 n., 196, 213, 239, 241, 242, 258,
        259 n., 262 n., 266
    "   discontent in 155 n.
    "   corn in 187, 190
    "   justices of 155
    "   poor billeted 192
    "   prisoners of 220

  Dewsbury 169 n.

  diet for vagrants 99, 113 seq.
    "  for orphan boys 198
    "  wealthy to moderate 122

  dinner, _see_ St Giles, Bury, St Cross

  directions, _see_ orders

  discussions, _see_ debates

  disorder, disquiet 51, 61, 149, 196, 298, _see_ riots, insurrections,

  Diss 191 n.

  distress 49, 73, 126, 193, 294, 303
      "    in Scotland 286 seq.

  disturbances 51, 115, 125, 144, 145, 145 n.

  Dobbs, Sir Rich. 31

  Dodbrooke 196 n.

  doggerel 196, 197

  doles 18, 54, 55, 63

  Doncaster 169 n., 197 n., 256 n.

  Dorchester 82, 202
      "      Viscount 156 n., 157, 164, 340

  Dorset 84, 125, 148 n., 253

  draft of orders 86, 318 seq.

  drapery, new 225

  Drayton, East 362

  drum 126

  drunkards, drunkenness, _see_ fines

  dues 43, 44, 116 seq.

  Dumbarton 286 n.

  Dunham 363

  Dunmow 190 n., 194 n.

  Durham 127
    "    Bishop of 6 n.
    "    Dean of 125, 127
    "    bishopric of 239

  Dutch, Dutchman, Duchman 104 n., 110, 111, 200 n., 273

  Dutton, rights of lord of 138 seq.

  dyeing 33

  Eadgar, Archbp of York 3 n.

  Eakring 258 n., 362

  ear, boring through 70, 71 n., 73

  earnings, unstable 15, 295

  Earsham 191 n.

  Easby 214 n.

  eastern counties 153, 191, 192, 245, 265

  Eastwick 232 n., 249, 345 n., 346, 351

  Eaton 363

  ecclesiastics 2, 3

  edicts 290 seq.

  Edinburgh 279, 283

  Edisbury 262 n.

  education 18, 103, 105, 215 seq.

  Edw. II. 6 n.

  Edw. IV. 27 n.

  Edw. VI. 27 n., 33, 34, 36 n., 38, 209

  Edwinstree 190 n., 191 n., 193, 196 n., 228, 263 n., 296

  Egmonton 257 n., 364

  Egyptians, 127

  elders, 281, 284, 287 n.

  Elizabeth, Queen, 25, 80, 208, 209, 297
      "        "    hospital of, 219

  Elstree, Idlestrey 142 n., 181, 182, 214 n., 258

  Ely 3, 82

  emergency, relief in 184 seq., _see_ poor relief

  Emperor 48

  employers 100, 160 seq.
      "     pressed to keep men at work 48 seq., 85, 115 seq., 147,
        152 seq., 155, 223, 230 seq., 232
      "     losses of 148
      "     might compel service 141

  enclosures 73 seq., 125, 126, 144, 151

  endowments 269
      "      control of 3, 6 seq.
      "      misuse of 157
      "      old 207 seq., _see_ charities

  England 1, 48, 49, 70, 150, 183, 241, 242
     "    many die of want in 124

  engrossers, _ingrossers_ 50, 50 n., 73, 144 n., 176, 197 n., 296, 323,
        331, 332, 358

  Erpingham, South 218, 264 n., 331

  Essex 50, 83, 93, 149, 162, 190, 194 n., 255 n.
    "   justices of 153, 154, 336 seq.
    "   provision of work in 265 n.

  Ethelred, law of 3

  Etherington, Sir Rich. 170 n.

  Europe, Western 1, 13, 277, 293

  Ewecross 299 n.

  Exchequer Chamber 74

  execution of poor law and Book of Orders 97, 128, 129 seq., 143 seq.,
        150, 153, 158, 159, 174, 237 seq., 294
      "        "        improved 241 seq., 250 seq., 345
      "        "        negligence in 246 n., 247, 270 seq., 287, 371
      "        "        difficulty in 248
      "        "        machinery for 142 seq., 165 seq., 292
      "        "        in Scotland 279 seq., 286 seq.

  Exeter 9 n., 114, 150, 155, 157 n., 216 n., 219, 222 n.

  Exning 245, 334 seq.

  expulsion of poor, _see_ new comers

  Eynesford 218, 264 n., 331

  factors in making English poor relief 21 seq.

  Factory Acts 62

  Fairfax, Lord 177, 215, 259 n.

  fairs 8, 139, _see_ Stourbridge

  Falkland, Lord 156 n., 157, 164

  family, earning of 198
    "     as unit 300

  Farmanby 203

  farmers 203, _see_ markets

  Farringdon 192

  fasts, fast days 122, 252

  Fawley 186, 246, 247, 342

  _feaste of St John the Baptiste_ 308

  felon, felony 70, 71 n., 126, 221 n., 299

  felts 100

  fencers 69

  Fenner, Sir John 264 n.

  feudal system 14

  fiddlers 139

  Fielding, Basil 338

  fifteenths, _fiftene_, _fifteens_, _quinzièmes_ 29, 100, 116

  Finch, Mr 74

  Finchley 264 n., 360 n.

  Finger bread 332

  fines, forfeitures 4, 55, 117, 138 n., 174 seq.
    "    list of those assigned to poor 138 n.
    "    fines, for absence from church 58 n., 130 n., 138 n., 173 n.,
        174, 177
    "    of givers to beggars 105, 106, 311
    "    of deacons 315
    "    for bringing over poor immigrants 71
    "    for negligence 77
    "    for being drunk 138 n., 174, 177, 300, 344, 347, 348, 350,
        351, 357
    "    for swearing 138 n., 175, 177, _see_ Sunday, alehouse keepers

  Finsbury 360

  fire 202 seq.

  Fishborne, Rich., charity of 233

  fishing trade 273

  Fitz-Geffrie 196

  Fitzmary, Simon 27

  Flanders 48

  flax, stock of 72, 222, 225, 256, 272, 349, 358

  Fleet 163, 197 n.

  Flegg, East and West 191 n.

  Flendish 82, 191 n., 264 n.

  Fletcher of Saltoun 288

  Flint 192 n., 196 n.

  fluctuations in price 196
       "       in trade 232, _see_ trade

  food 194, 198
    "  lack of 85, 288, _see_ poor

  football 270

  Ford 299 n.

  Forehoe 191 n.

  foreigners, forainer 49, 117 n.

  forestaller, forestalling 50, 50 n., 73, 176, 296, 320, 332, 358

  forfeitures, _see_ fines

  fortune tellers 70, 344

  Fortunes of Nigel 216

  Foulness, Island of 135 n.

  Fox, almshouses of 210

  Foxton, Richard 176

  Framingham, Edw. 125

  Framloyde 85

  France 14, 48, 54, 110 n., 183, 267, 277, 279, 290 seq., 303

  Francis I. 290, 291

  fraud 269, 271

  Freebridge 264 n.

  freedom of town 44, 116, 117, 117 n.
     "    interference with 65

  Freemanors 245

  freemen 109, 116

  Freshwell 190 n.

  Freston 89

  Friern Barnet 264 n., 360 n.

  Friars 55
    "    churches of 28
    "    mendicant 55

  Fridays, fast on 122

  Friendly Societies 61

  Frome 263 n.

  Froxfield 173

  fuel 181, 199 bis, 315

  Fuller 295

  Fullers 37, 117 n., 147

  Fulsey, charity of 234 n.

  funds 4, 39 seq., 41, 43, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 62, 77, 107, 154, 167,
        177, 216, 273, 278, 290
    "   methods of raising 115 seq., 221 seq.
    "   insufficient 97
    "   misuse of 157
    "   parochial 213
    "   county 213
    "   Scotch 285 seq.
    "   Norwich 106
    "   Cambridge 44
    "   for Reading hospital 112 seq.

  funeral, beggars at 12

  Furness 214

  Games, unlawful 55, 69, 138 n., 173, 175, 177

  Gamolston, (Gamston) 362

  gaol, jaillies 241, 283, 299

  Gardiner, Dr. 295

  Gateshead 209

  Gaunt's hospital 219 n.

  gentlemen 211, 283, _see_ home

  Germany 13, 14, 277, 278, 293
     "    towns in 20 seq.

  gifts, voluntary 66, 72
    "    small 211

  Gilston 345 n., 347, 350

  girls, _see_ children

  giver, restraint of, 3, 25, 41, 54, 105, 106, 283, 311

  Glasgow 280 n., 286 n., 289

  Glassmen, glaziers 103, 138 n., 344

  Glastonbury 3

  Gloucester co. 82, 88, 115, 148 n., 149, 303
      "      boro. 45, 114, 129 seq., 150, 160 n., 163 n., 197 n.,
        213 n., 227, 262 n.
      "      hospitals at 129, 204, 208 seq.

  gloves, glovers 100, 224, 354

  Godalming 156

  _Goderynges dowghetyr_ 8

  Godolphin, Sir Francis 130 n.

  gold and silver thread 145 n.

  Goodwin, Thos. 234 n.

  government, subordinate 146

  governors, _see_ hospitals

  Gower, bequest of 19

  gowns, gifts for 212

  grandparents 134, 135 n.

  grain and granary, _see_ corn

  Grand Concern of England explained 275

  Grantham 201

  graziers 49

  Great Yarmouth 188, 189 n., 273

  Greenhoe, _Greenhoo_, South 88, 191 n., 263, 264 n., 317

  _Greevous Grones for the Poore_ 244

  Gresham, Sir Rich. 28 n.

  Grey Friars, _see_ Christ Church

  Grimshoe 88, 191 n., 263, 264 n.

  Grimsworth 186 n.

  Grindal, Archbp. 110, 211

  Grinton 171 n.

  Grove 257 n., 364

  guardians of the poor 141 n.

  Guildford 222, 357 seq.

  Guildford, Sir Henry 48

  Guildhall 23, 306, 307

  guilds 7, 42, 43 n., 210

  Guiltcross 88

  gun 349

  Gunthwaite 169 n.

  Gustavus Adolphus 264

  Haberdashers' Company 233

  habitations for poor 71, 75, 180, 214, _see_ cottages

  Haddington 283

  Hadleigh 149, 160 n.

  Hale, Sir Matthew 276

  Halesworth 189

  Hampden, John 193, 296

  Hampshire 48, 173, 186

  hand, living at his own 179 n.

  handbooks, legal 139 seq., 215

  _handemyll_ 35 n.

  Happing 191 n.

  Harbert, Sylva 160

  Harman 11 seq., 17, 288, 298

  Hartesmere 228 n., 264 n.

  harvests 49, 51, 141 n., 144, 149, 161, 164, 184 seq., 275

  Hastings, rape of 228, 261
     "      Sir Francis 74

  Hatfield, _Hadfeild_ 361

  havens 136, 137 n.

  Haward, John 119 n., 296 seq.

  Hawes, Sir James 93

  Hayridge co. Devon 228 n.

  Hayward, Sir Rowland 93

  Headon 365

  Heads of Houses 44

  hedgebreaker 174, 348

  Heiden House 272

  Hemlingford 87, 90

  hemp, stock of 72, 222, 225, 229, 232, 255 n., 256, 257 n., 272,
        349, 358

  hempdressers 218, 354

  hempmen 355

  Henderson, Mr 202 n.

  Henley 216

  Henry II. 207
    "   V. 27 n.
    "   VII.  policy of 14
    "    "    vagrant acts of 5
    "   VIII. 11, 15, 19, 21, 35, 47, 48, 54, 58, 278, 288, 291, 293
    "    "    hospitals refounded by 27 n., 28

  Henstead 191 n.

  Hereford co. 82, 192 n.
     "     boro. 8 n., 208, 211 seq., 216, 222, 260, 262 n.

  heritors 287

  herrings, gifts of 345, 349

  Hertford co. 93, 156 n., 186, 191, 225, 256, 345
     "     justices of 218, 220
     "     towns of 225
     "     population of 274, 275, _see_ Sessions, Jury

  Hertford, hundred of 191 n., 252, 256 n., 261
     "      boro. 163 n., 186
     "      fire at 202

  Hext, Edward 74, 76, 126 seq., 288, 298

  Heydon's charity 235 n.

  Highlands 14

  High Peak 298

  highwaymen 243

  highways 136, 247, 252, 358, 360

  Hitchen 190 n., 201, 201 n., 235, 263

  Hobson, workhouse of 226

  _hoill, theiffes_ 284

  Holland, Linc. 82, 226
     "     Earl of 157
     "     poor in 277
     "     refugees from 110 n.

  Holworthy, Rich. 221 n.

  home, order to return 120, 140, 144, 145 seq.

  Hopton, Arthur 89

  Horncastle 194, 264

  Hornsey 360 n.

  hosiers 231

  Hospitality 2, 7, 17 seq., 144, 145, _see_ alms

  hospitals 8, 19 seq., 39, 61, 75, 76, 77, 113, 169 n., 201, 204,
        207 seq., 220, 242, 277
      "      royal 34, 35, 36, 38, 59 n., 64, 269, 369 seq.
      "      in London 26 seq., 98, 157 n.
      "      town 45
      "      county 167, 170, 170 n.
      "      French 291
      "      Edw. VI.'s foundation 31
      "      governors of 35, 36 seq., 38, 64, 96, 100, 269, 352

  Houghton, Sir Robert 178

  House of the Poor 108, _see_ St Bartholomew's, London, and St Giles's,

  householder, poor 36, 187, 212, 225, 235

  housekeeping, laudable 146, _see_ hospitality

  houses 100, 181, 202 " regulation of 73, 100, 108, 297 n.,
        _see_ tenements
    "    provided for poor 214 n., 257 n., 287, 315, _see_ cottages,

  Humber, counties south of 266

  Humbleyard 191 n.

  hundred 4, 54, 78, 151, 154, 159

  Hunsdon, 249, 347, 351

  Huntingdon 82 n., 87 n.
      "      Henry, Earl of 81

  Huntspill 254 n., 261

  Hurstington 265 n.

  husbandry, one brought up in 179 n., 259
      "      poor work at 224

  _husbondman_ 308

  idle, idlers 104, 174, 176, 228, 229, 299, 300, 347, 349, 350,
        _see_ vagrants, rogues, work

  _idoll to be gazed upon_ 166

  immigrants, pauper 71

  import of coal 199

  imprisonment 77

  indenture 28, 33, 217 n.

  indictments at Sessions 167 seq.

  indifferent 50, 50 n., 77

  individualist 300

  individuals 8, 300

  industry, national organisation of 302

  infants 227 n.

  informers, rewards to 361

  inhabitants 50, 50 n., 77, 134 n., 168, 169, 180
       "      of Paris 291
       "      of Knaresborough 167, 168
       "      employ poor 131, 232

  injunctions 58 n.

  inmates, lodgers 73, 169, 170 n.

  inn, vagrants at 12 seq.

  instructions to overseers 218

  insurrections 91, 91 n., 126, 127, 298, 303, 338

  interest 118, 233 seq.

  Interludes, enterludes 69

  interrogatories 58 n.

  Ipswich 42, 45 seq., 62, 108, 113, 117 seq., 129, 197 n., 218, 261,
        264, 293
     "    fair at 8
     "    new comers in 108
     "    provision for corn in 124 n.
     "    taxes for poor in 116, 117
     "    charities of 136 n., 233, 234

  Ireland 71, 150, 192 n.

  iron, stock of 72, 76

  iron works 33

  Ironmongers, Company of 37

  Ironside, charity of 234

  Isle of Man 71

  Isle of Wight 151

  Islington 210, 264 n., 360 n.

  Italy 89

  James I. 146, 209 n., 211, 301 n.

  January 1630/1, reports of 194

  Jenis, Mathias, charity of 222 n.

  Jersey school, Newark 204, 225

  Johnson, John, charity of 216 n.
     "     Richard, charity of, 234

  Journals of London 29 n., 305

  Judde, Lady 110

  judges 143, 149, 154, 159, 165, 166, 173, 178 seq., 183, 247 n.
    "    resolutions of 135 n., 141 n., 178, 179 n., 336
    "    advice of 178, 337
    "    decision of 276

  juglers 70, 344

  jurats 8

  Juries 87, 88 n., 319
    "    Grand 275

  Justice, Lord Chief 75

  justice of Somerset, _see_ Hext

  justices 41, 53, 59, 67, 70-94, 112, 119, 120 seq., 134 n., 158 seq.,
        171 seq., 179 n., 292, 298, 318 seq., 341
     "     powers and position of 165 seq.
     "     negligence of 143, 158, 197, 246
     "     reports of 151, 152, 181 seq., 192 seq., 245 seq., 274,
        316 seq., 326 seq., 331 seq., 340 seq., 342, 357 seq.
     "     letters to 143, 147 seq., 153, 162, 240 seq., 336, 338
     "     of Commonwealth 277
     "     Scotch 279 seq., 281 seq., 288, 290, 296
     "     Devon 112, 120, 148, 155
     "     Essex 149, 153, 162
     "     Wilts 121, 148
     "     Gloucestershire 148 seq.

  keeper of House of Correction 227 n.

  Keeper, Lord 119 seq., 338

  Kemp, charity of 235 n.

  Kendal 227

  Kendrick's charity 156, 157 n., 204

  Kent 48, 51, 148 n., 157, 191 n., 196 n., 264, 303

  Kentish street 100

  Kerry's hospital 211 n.

  Keylock's almshouses 213

  kidders, def. of 320

  Kilmerston 263 n.

  Kineburgh's Hospital 208

  King James' Hospital 208

  kings, Anglo-Saxon 2 seq.

  King's Bench 220

  Kingsclere 262 n.

  King's Council, _see_ Privy Council

  King's Lynn 113, 209, 224

  Kingston-upon-Hull 52

  Kington 90 n.

  Kirby, John 228 n.

  kirk officials 290

  kirk sessions 281, 283, 285 n., 286, 289 n.

  Kirklington 171 n.

  Kirton 257 n., 363

  Knapp, Augustine 212 n.

  Knaresborough, orders for 167, 168 seq.

  _knightes, younge_ 166

  knitting taught 299
      "    dames 332, _see_ school

  Knollys, Sir Francis 69

  labour, value of, in Bridewell 352

  labour-statutes, _see_ statutes

  labour yards 141 n.

  labourers 4, 17, 70, 180, 275, 309
      "     wages of 301, 343, _see_ statutes labour
      "     movements restricted 4 seq.
      "     casual 301
      "     standard of comfort of, 198 seq.
      "     supplied with corn 89, 185, 187, 192, 341, _see_ corn
      "     questions concerning 343, _see_ work

  labouring class, relief of 203 seq.

  Lackford 245, 334 seq.

  Lambeth 57 n.

  lame persons 7, 55

  Lamporte 327 n.

  Lancashire 192 n., 239, 251

  Lancaster 194 n.

  landlords 105, 108, 128, 169, 195, 203

  lands misapplied 78
    "   tax on 178
    "   for charities 345 seq.
    "   let by governors of Bridewell 352

  landwart parishes 280

  Laneham 257 n., 361

  _Lanterne_ 97

  Latimer 28, 64

  Laud 157, 164, 208, 211, 216, 216 n., 295

  Launceston 209, 221 n.

  law, labourers elude 4
    "  course allowed by 289 n.
    "  interpretation of 178
    "  firm and forcible 296
    "  Common 297, _see_ statutes, and execution of law

  Lawrence, W., bequest of 260 n.

  Laxton-cum-Morehouse 257 n., 365

  lazars and lazar houses 8, 26 seq., 201, _see_ lepers

  _leamit and impotent persones_ 280 n.

  Leche, charity of 204

  legacies, _see_ bequests, charities

  legislation 296, 297
       "      history of 3 seq., 53 seq., 62, 67 seq., 133 seq.,
        278 seq.
       "      French 290 seq., _see_ statutes

  Leicester co. 299
      "     boro. 45, 111, 129, 188
      "     Earl of 86 n.

  lending cash charities 204, 232 seq., 271

  Leominster 262 n.

  lepers 27 n., 42, 54, 209 n.

  Lesnex 264 n.

  letter to be obtained by travellers 4
     "   beggars with 54
     "   of Archbp. 122
     "   to Carleton 145, 146, _see_ Privy Council

  Letters Patent 28, 33, 161, 209, 271, 291

  Lever 28, 30, 64

  Lewes 187

  _Liber Vagatorum_ 13

  licences 70, 241
     "     for badgers 322, 323 seq.
     "     to erect working houses 138 n.
     "     to collect money 271
     "     to transport corn 150 seq.

  Lichfield 234, 274 n.

  Liddington 338

  Lieutenants, Lord 51, 241
       "       Deputy 153, 154, 337

  lights, payment for 58 n.

  Lincoln co. 82, 87 n., 157, 191, 194, 226
     "    boro. 41 seq., 42, 45, 111

  Lingen's almshouses 211 n.

  Linlithgow 283 n.

  Little 264 n.

  Liverpool 194 n., 227

  living idly 142, 173, 174, _see_ idlers

  loan, _loone_ 24, 51, 124 n., _see_ lending cash

  Locke, letter of 145 n.

  lodgers, _see_ inmates

  lodging 18, 214, 279, 290

  Loes 264 n., 365

  loiterers 68

  London 34, 38, 40, 45, 46, 52, 54, 56, 62 seq., 66, 86 n., 98, 108,
        111, 123, 150, 212, 217, 219, 227, 229, 233, 235, 269, 270,
        272, 273, 293, 295, 297 n.
     "   organisation of poor in 23-40, 95-101
     "   orders for repressing vagrants 5, 21, 25
     "   population of 188
     "   Court of orphans in 9 n.
     "   official collection of alms 26
     "   fifteenth levied 29, 100, 116
     "   assessment for poor 117
     "   collection in 160 n.
     "   small holdings in 73
     "   coal yard in 199
     "   pest house of 200
     "   corn store in 23, 188
     "   precepts of 305 seq.
     "   authorities of 92 seq.
     "   parishes in and about 157, 157 n.

  looms 37, 111

  Lords, ordinance of 270, 371
    "    jurisdiction of 158
    "    to go to country 146

  Lords, House of 58, 68, 69, 70, 75, 76, 79

  Lords Lieutenant, _see_ Lieutenant

  Lothian 283

  Lothingland 190 n.

  Louis XI. 14

  Low Countries 123

  Lucy, Sir Thomas 90 n.

  Lukyn, Rob. 176

  lunatics 27 n., 36

  Luther 13

  Lydd 8, 178

  Lynn, 7, 261, 264 n.

  Lyons 291

  maces 271

  Mackworth, Sir Hen. 338

  magistrates 106, 128, 213, 246 n., 300, _see_ justices

  Maidenhead 216 n.

  Maidstone 192, 223, 261

  Mainsborough 247

  maintenance, cost of 113

  _Maioris Bocke_ 102, 106, 308

  malefactors 241

  malting 186 seq.
     "    prohibited 123, 144, 179, 186

  Malton 170 n., 213

  maltsters 145, 331, 335
      "     disobedient 179, 186
      "     contribute to poor 186, _see_ malting

  Man, Edw. 197 n.

  Manchester 228 n.

  Mansbridge 256 n.

  Mansion House 40

  manufactures, manufacturers 15, 48, 49, 140, 147, 155, 230, 271
        "       losses of 148, 259, _see_ trade

  Manwood 86, 318

  mariners 43, 53, 55, 75, 78, 211, 211 n.

  maritime districts 85

  market, supply of 85, 87 seq., 120, 140, 144, 152, 186, 187 seq.,
        193, 194, 195, 196, 316, 319 seq., 323 seq., 339, 340 seq.,
        _see_ corn

  Markham, East 257 n., 364
      "    West 365

  Marlborough 179 n., 260 n.

  marriage of poor maids 137 n.

  Marshal, Earl 338

  Marshalsea 220

  marshals, _see_ provost marshals

  Marten, charity of 216 n.

  Martin, Rich., charity of 234 n.

  Mary, Queen 27 n., 58

  master, &c. of London beggars 25

  masterless men 37, 39, 69, 108, _see_ vagrants

  masters of apprentices 215, 216, 239, 253, 359

  materials bought for poor 223, 224, 256, 261, 264, 272

  Matilda, wife of Hen. I. 27 n.
     "      "      Stephen 27 n.

  matron 34, 35 n., 209, 219, 355

  Mattersey 257 n.

  mayor 44, 55, 56, 57, 59, 72, 106, 134 n.

  Mayor, Lord 23, 24, 30, 31, 95, 193, 305 seq., _see_ London

  meal 188, 189 n., 283 n
    "  price fixed 193

  meals provided 123, 242, _see_ billeting

  meetings of justices 159, 173, 175-178, 181, 182, 247, 249, 250, 253,
        345, 357, 359
      "    of churchwardens and overseers 342

  Melmerby 170 n.

  Mercers, Company of 27 n., 233

  Merchant Adventurers 86 n., 145 n., 148 n., 152, 153
      "    Eastland 148 n.
      "    strangers 86 n., 152
      "    companies 210
      "    taylor 224

  merchants 48 seq., 115 n., 140, 147, 152 seq., 211, 230

  Merchants' Hospital 210

  Merthyr Tydfil 141 n.

  Michelle Louise 303

  Middlesex 70 n., 93, 156 n., 160 n., 228, 264, 360

  Middle Temple Hall 79

  Middleton 251

  midland counties 240

  Mildenhall 335

  Mildmay 86, 318

  mill 37

  millers 195, 335, 340

  mines, assessment of 135 n.

  minister 77, 122, 122 n., 128, 154, 191 n., 246 n., 337
     "     Scotch 283, 287

  Minories 272

  minstrels, _minstrells_ 69, 70, 82, 139, 344

  minutes 156, 173

  Misterton 257 n.

  Mitford 191 n.

  Mombridge 114 n.

  monasteries 18 seq., 61, 277
       "      dissolution of 26, 63 seq., 56, _see_ tithes

  Moner, Anthony 110

  money, value of 212 seq.
    "    gifts of 345, 346, 349
    "    agreement to contribute 280 n., _see_ rates, lending cash

  monks and nuns 63, _see_ monasteries

  Monslow 250, 299 n.

  More, Mr 227 n.

  More, Sir Thomas 12 n., 57, 62

  Morleston 299 n.

  Morton Hampstead 211

  municipal rulers, _see_ town

  murders 288

  Mutford 190 n.

  mutiny, mutinee 85

  nails, nailhouse 33, 37

  Negroose 297 n.

  Netherlands 14, 16, 49

  Newark 204, 225, 234

  Newbury 197 n., 234, 260

  Newby, Francis 112 n.

  Newcastle 124 seq., 201, 202, 202 n.

  new comers 23, 98, 107 seq., 307, 314

  Newgate, Bristol 221

  New Forest 250

  Nicholas 232

  nightman 356

  nobles, noblemen 14, 55

  Norfolk 84, 88, 125, 126, 127, 157, 162, 185, 190, 220, 263, 303,
        316 seq.
     "    justices of 94, 218, 220, 331
     "    Duke of 47, 48, 50 n.

  Normancross 82

  Normans, _see_ Bridewell, Norwich

  Norris, Lord 126, 127

  Northampton co. 82, 144, 151, 259, 266
       "      boro. 160 n.

  Northaw 181, 182

  northern circuit 157
      "    counties 254

  Northowram 169 n.

  Northumberland 191, 239

  Norwich 45, 101 seq., 129, 188, 204, 209 seq., 219, 220, 224, 227,
        231, 261, 300
     "    organisation of poor in 95, 101-107, 179, 186, 198,
        199 seq., 308
     "    tax at 117, 163
     "    Mayor of 104, 106, 162
     "    cathedral of 273
     "    sessions at 331
     "    St John's parish in 103 n.
     "    assessment of 367 seq.
     "    orders for poor &c. in, _see_ orders
     "    census at 103, 308 seq., _see_ Bridewell and St Giles'
     "    Bishop of 58 n.
     "    Dean and Chapter of 101

  Nottingham co. 178, 192, 256 n., 264, 266, 361
       "     boro. 218, 227, 228

  Nuremburg 20

  Oakham 338

  oath of corn jurors 320 seq.

  oatmeal 194

  obiits 43

  obstinate persons 59, 71 seq., 279

  occupations in Bridewell 33, 100, 312, 354, 370

  occupiers of land, liability of 77, 134 n., 168

  occupiers responsible for tenants 108

  Odsey 190 n., 191 n., 196, 228, 263 n., _see_ Edwinstree

  officials, training of 92
      "      local 52, 92 seq.
      "      parochial 96, _see_ town rulers

  Offlow 262 n.

  old, provision for 43, 112, 206 seq., _see_ poor

  order, peace 47 seq., 51, 80 seq., 85, 91, 122 n., 127, 145, 196 seq.,
        272, 298 seq., 303, 338 seq., _see_ riots, disturbances &c.

  Orders of Bishop 78
     "   and Directions, Book of 2 n., 87, 142, 152, 156, 158 seq., 164,
        171 seq., 177, 197, 240, 248 seq., 265 n., 268, 276, 277, 292,
        294, 297 seq., 340, 342, 357, 365

    "    of Privy Council 47 seq., 80 seq., 143, 149, 150, 240 seq.
    "         "           _re_ corn 49, 84 seq., 119 seq., 125, 150,
        318, 334
    "    scarcity book of 87 seq., 144, 145, 151, 158, 185 seq.,
        192 seq., 318 seq., 334
    "    draft of 86, 318 seq.
    "    _re_ vagrants 81 seq., 282 seq.
    "    of justices 167 seq., 171 n., 180 seq., 214 n., 331 seq.
    "    of the House 76
    "    for Royal Hospitals 36 seq.
    "    for Christ's Hospital, Ipswich 113
    "    for poor &c., Norwich 105 seq., 311 seq.
    "    for poor, London 92 seq., 98 seq.
    "    for poor, Cornwall 130 n.

  Ordinance of the Lords 270, 371

  ordinances at Cambridge 44
       "     of Bridewell 356
       "     French 291

  ordinaries 86 n.

  orphanages 215, 219 seq., 273

  orphans 8 seq., 117, 136, 137 n., 199, 264 n., 272

  Ossett 169 n.

  Oswald, King 2

  overseers 71, 76, 78, 90, 90 n., 154, 159, 167, 169 n., 170 n.,
        171 n., 175 seq., 180 seq., 201, 204, 214 n., 217, 231, 244,
        247, 250, 258 n., 263 n., 265 n., 274, 279, 299
      "     accounts of 174, 327 seq.
      "     presented 171, 171 n.
      "     reports of 173, 248 seq., 345 seq.
      "     collectors of revenue 268
      "     inquiries made from 247, 337, 342 seq.

  outdoor relief 141 n.

  Owen, Dame 210

  owners of corn 192

  Oxford co. 82, 88, 126, 127, 148 n. 1 and n. 2, 193, 262 n., 303
    "    boro. 215 n., 221 n., 234

  painter 310

  Palmer, Sir Guy 338

  Palmer, William 121 n.

  Palmistry, _palmestrye_ 69, _see_ fortune tellers

  pamphlets _re_ St Bartholomew's 34
     "      _Stanleyes Remedy_ 243
     "      _Greevous Grones &c._ 243 seq.
     "      Arth's 127 seq.
     "      on fishing trade 273
     "      on poor 275, 276

  paper makers 201

  papers, to wear 125

  Papworth 82 n., 264, 358

  parental government 65, 66

  parents, 215, 219
     "     liability of 134

  Paris, 290, 291

  parish, officers of 77, 342
     "    landward 279

  parishes 63, 134 n., 153, 154, 169, 210, 211 n., 242, 306
     "     liability of 5, 154, 278, 281
     "     rich 55, 77, 106, 158

  parishioners 6, 44, 55, 58, 72, 99, 168, 230 n.

  Parliament 6 seq., 29, 56 seq., 64, 67-80, 83, 91, 130, 131,
        133 seq., 135, 294
      "      resolutions of 271
      "      of Paris 291, _see_ statutes

  parsons, vicars, curates 52, 55, 57, 109 n., 117, 134 n., 135 n.,
        290, 305, 306, 307

  passes, counterfeiting of 70, _see_ letters

  patent gatherers 344

  paternal government 65, 140, 201, 203

  Pater's almshouse 213

  patients 34, 39, 269

  paupers 203, 204, 210, _see_ poor
     "    goods made by 33, 100
     "    increase of 289

  payments, amount of 104
      "     to poor 180
      "     for children 219
      "     for emigrants 229, _see_ taxation, pensions

  pedlars 68, 70, 82

  Pember, Francis 222 n.

  Pembroke co. 151, 225

  penalties 135 n., 175, 177, _see_ fines

  pensioners 208, 209

  pensions, allowances, for poor 35, 44, 96, 97 n., 99, 106, 143, 180,
        182, 211, 213, 214, 252, 258 n., 274, 276
      "     for soldiers and sailors 136

  Perne, Dr 44

  Perse, Martin 176

  personal government 153, 163, 164, 172, 241, 295

  Perthshire 283 n.

  pest houses 200, 201

  Peterborough, soke of 185

  Petersfield 174

  Petherton, North 254 n., 261

  petite forfeitures 75

  petition of Commons 4 n.
     "     of citizens of London 28, 32 seq.
     "     of Sylva Harbert 160

  Pevensey 185, 191 n.

  _Phisnomye_ 69

  Physician 201, 202, 208

  _pickeryes_ 298

  Pider 187

  pinmakers 218, 354

  pins 100

  Pirehill 262 n.

  plague 42, 130 n., 144, 160, 167, 182, 200 seq., 306, 360, _see_ rates

  Planner, charity of 216 n.

  plantations 230

  players, _plaiers_ 69, 138 n., 344

  plays, _plaies_ 100

  Plomesgate 264 n., 365

  Plymouth 219

  pole, for every 121

  Poole 227 n.

  poor, def. of 32 seq., 36, 127 seq., 139 seq.
    "   three classes of 32 seq., 44, 64, 139 seq.
    "   surveyed 42, 44, 103, 261
    "   census of 103, 308, 314
    "   in great distress 30, 123, 125, 147, 247, 282
    "   questions touching 342 seq.
    "   expulsion of strange poor, _see_ new comers
    "   sins of 128
    "   two collections for 45
    "   earnings of 105
    "   feeding a hundred 3
    "   appeal to sessions 167, _see_ poor relief rates
    "   impotent 83, 87, 128 seq., 153 seq., 180, 207 seq., 238
    "   statutory regulations concerning 5, 53 seq., 70, 71, 79, 134
    "   relief reported by justices 89 seq., 174 seq., 182 seq., 214,
        245, 247, 250, 252, 253 n., 256, 258, 275 seq., 356, 358, 359,
        361 seq., 365
    "   in towns 28, 32, 40, 64, 98 seq.
    "   Scotch 281 seq.
    "   French 290 seq.
    "   able-bodied, _see_ work, vagrants, rogues
    "   children, _see_ children and apprentices
    "   criminal 220
    "   laws, _see_ statutes and execution of poor law
    "   relief by private individuals 2, 17 seq.
    "     "    by monasteries 3, 18 seq., 26 seq., 63 seq.
    "     "    by tithes 3, 6 seq.
    "     "    from other endowed charities 7 seq., 19 seq., 26 seq.,
        207 seq.
    "     "     by guilds 7, 42, 43 n., 210
    "     "     in the towns 7 seq., 22 seq., 62 seq., 65, 95 seq., 121,
        122 seq., 129 seq., 174, 208 seq., 259 seq., 278 seq., 280,
        285 seq., 286 n., 293 seq., 305 seq.
    "     "     provided by statute 3 seq., 6, 45, 53 seq., 60, 62,
        67 seq., 131, 133 seq., 278 seq.
    "     "     efforts of Privy Council to enforce 47 seq., 83 seq.,
        119 seq., 143 seq., 184 seq., 201
    "     "     characteristics of 203 seq.
    "     "     connected with order 48 seq., 51, 80 seq., 85 seq., 91,
        122 n., 123, 125, 145, 196 seq., 298, 303 seq., 338 seq.
    "     "     connected with increase of beggars 39, 64 seq.
    "     "     connected with labour statutes 3 seq., 9
    "     "     connected with scarcity measures 23 seq., 51, 84 seq.,
        91, 197 seq.
    "     "     connected with voluntary system 136 seq., 204
    "     "     under the Commonwealth 272 seq.
    "     "     on the continent 20 seq., 277 seq.
    "     "     in Scotland 278 seq.
    "     "     in France 290 seq.
    "     "     in emergency 184 seq.
    "     "     ordinary 124, 133, 206 seq.
    "     "     insufficient 284, 286 seq., 288
    "     "     outdoor 35, 42, 99, 214 seq.
    "     "     alteration in opinion about 131
    "     "     political side of 295 seq.
    "     "     summary of early history 293 seq.
    "     "     results 297 seq., 300, _see_ work, children, poor,
        pensions, corn, almshouses, hospitals, rates

  _poore makers_ 128

  Popham 86, 318

  population of London 188
      "      of Banff 284
      "      of Portsmouth 173

  porter 355

  Portsmouth 151, 173

  pottage 198

  poultry 51

  poverty, cause of 128

  preachers 290, 307, 355

  preambles 53, 54, 246, 292

  precepts 95 seq., 305, 306

  prerogative 296, 297

  presbytery 281, 284

  presentments 170 n., 173 seq., 177, 182, 247, 344, 345, 357, 358

  President of Council of North 80, 86 n.
      "     of Corporation of Poor 272

  Preston 228

  Price, Mary, almshouses of 211 n.

  Price's hospital 211 n.

  prices fixed by authority 51, 88, 121, 193
     "   moderated by justices 87, 190, 194, 302, 324
     "   rise in 16, 49, 50, 73, 84, 194
     "   enquiries touching 84 seq.
     "   of corn 16, 50, 73, 84, 119-124, 145 n., 341
     "      "    sudden alteration in 121 n.
     "   of oatmeal 194
     "   of provisions 16 n.

  priest 13

  priests 3, 4, _see_ tithes

  prior 207

  priories 290

  prisoners, _presonars_ 33, 53, 70, 75, 77, 136, 167, 220 seq.,
        228 n., 229, 279, 299, 311

  prisons 220 seq., _see_ prisoners

  privilege of Parliament 76

  privileges, payments for 117

  Privy Council 33, 46, 47-53, 67, 68, 80-94, 118, 119, 125, 130, 131,
        137, 142-166, 171, 172, 178, 179, 193, 201, 216, 230, 232, 253,
        268, 276, 277, 286, 296, 334
     "     "    letters of 52, 81, 85, 86 n., 143, 149, 154, 155, 162,
        165, 166, 174, 175, 240 seq., 292, 294-297, 304, 336 seq.,
        338 seq., 359
     "     "    letters to 126, 147, 340
     "     "    instructions of 193
     "     "    thanks to 194
     "     "    lords of 204, _see_ Privy Councillors
     "     "    Scotch 282 seq., _see_ corn, orders, reports

  Privy Council Register 143, 150, 156, 156 n., 336 seq., 338 seq.

  Privy Councillors 156, 204, 297

  _Privie Seale_, Lord 338

  procession 8

  proclamations, royal 3, 51, 86, 143, 144 bis, 145, 146 bis, 150, 165,
        166, 296, 298
        "        of 1629 153, 155, 171, 172
        "        Scotch 283, 286 seq.
        "        municipal 104, 305

  proctors or procurators 69, 70, 344

  _Providours of the Poore_ 110

  _Provision for the poore now in penurie_ 127 seq.

  proviso _re_ Dutton 138

  provost 279

  provost marshals 93, 298

  Pukenham, North 317

  punishment of able-bodied beggars 4, 25 seq., 53, 70, 77, 80 seq.,
        221, 299 n.
      "      _fourme_ of 94
      "      at Bury 114, _see_ whipping, fines, death, branding, stocks

  Purchas, Thos. 176

  Puritan counties 297

  Puriton 254 n., 261

  Quarter Sessions, _see_ Sessions

  questions put to judges 178
      "      "  overseers 247, 337, 342 seq.

  quinzièmes, _see_ fifteenths

  Radfield 192 n., 253 n., 256 n., 264 n.

  Radnorshire, report from 247

  Ragland 252, 262 n.

  Ragnell 362

  Rahere 27

  raker 355

  Raleigh, Sir Walter 76, 79, 294

  Rampton 363

  Rand, Samuel 202 n.

  rates, tax, taxation 1, 2, 38, 59, 60, 62, 64, 71, 95, 106, 108,
        130 n., 204, 251, 254, 256, 261, 268, 269, 279, 296, 358
    "    imposed by town rulers before 1572 29, 42, 43, 45, 102
    "    for soldiers and sailors 73, 78, 79, 136, 166
    "    for prisoners and hospitals 77, 167, 220
    "    for Houses of Correction 118, 137, 167
    "    for plague stricken 137, 200, 201
    "    for setting poor to work 121, 154, 225, 255 seq.
    "    for corporation of poor 273 n.
    "    semi-voluntary 59, 97
    "    dispute concerning 179 n.
    "    refusal and objection to pay 168, 169, 197 n., 248, 260 n., 350
    "    increased 158, 175, 177, 245, 248 seq., 250
    "    in Scotland 282, 283 seq., 286 seq.
    "    in Aberdeen 285, 289
    "    in Glasgow 289, 290 n.
    "    in France 291
    "    in Norwich 367
    "    amount of, Rochdale 251
    "       "       Ware 346
    "       "       Braughing and Stortford 348 seq.
    "    none in Middleton 251
    "    legality at Lydd 178
    "    in aid, _see_ parishes, rich
    "    of wages, _see_ wages

  ratepayers 141 n., 261, 290, 303

  Ravensworth 170 n.

  Reading 112, 114, 129, 156, 157 n., 192, 200, 200 n., 204, 216,
        217 n., 218, 225, 231, 259, 263

  rebels, rebellion 51, 73, 80, 81, 126, 151, _see_ order

  recognizance 179, 321 seq.

  recusants 173, 182

  Redcliffe almshouse 210, 213

  Red Maid's School 219

  Reepham 331

  reeves 2

  Reformation 20, 207, 208

  refugees 110 n.

  _refuissars_ 289 n.

  register of names 71, 290

  regrating, regrators 50, 50 n., 73, 320, 332, 358

  Reigate 261

  Reynolds, Thomas 163

  relief, _see_ poor relief

  relief works 141

  rent 214

  Repertories 25 n.

  reports _re_ corn 50, 87, 88 seq., 149, 151, 152, 172, 185 seq., 193
        seq., 195, 204, 316 seq., 326, 334 seq., 340 seq., 344 seq.
     "    _re_ vagrants 80, 81 seq.
     "    _re_ poor relief and vagrants 173 seq., 177, 181 seq., 245,
        248, 251 seq., 256 seq., 268, 297, 342 seq.
     "    not in northern counties 239
     "    from same place at different dates 253, 252
     "    of four royal hospitals 269 seq., 369 seq.
     "    of Bridewell 351 seq.
     "    Bassetlaw 257 seq.
     "    Cambridge 174 seq.

  resolutions of 1527 135 n., _see_ judges at Quarter Sessions 275

  Restoration 275, 277

  retainers 15, 120

  Retford 361

  returns, overseers 214 n., _see_ reports

  revenues for armies 268

  Revolution, French 291, 303

  Rhodes, hospital for defence of 27 n.

  Rhuddlan Castle 139

  rich 145 n., 201, 302 seq.

  Richard II. 54, 293

  Richmondshire 171, 255

  Riding, North 203, 213, 214 n.
    "       "   Session, Rolls of 169 seq.
    "     West, Sessions, Rolls of 167 seq., 241, 248

  Ridley, Bishop 30-33, 35, 59 n.

  riots, rioters 49, 51, 85, 148 n., 151, 192, 197 n., 288, 303

  Ripon 185

  Rixman's charity 216 n.

  roads 84

  robbery 13, 126, 288, 303

  Rochdale 251

  Rochester 110

  Rogers, Prof. 301 n.

  rogues 227 n., 256, 332
    "    bills for 75, 76, 137
    "    act for 77
    "    def. of 68 seq., 344
    "    depredations of 13, 126, 288, 298, 303
    "    incorrigible 57
    "    poor unjustly made 168
    "    questions touching 344
    "    branding of 138 n., _see_ vagrants

  Rolls of Parliament 4

  Romer, Lord Justice 141 n.

  Romsey 85

  roundsman system 130 n., 232

  Royal Exchange 242

  royalists 274

  rule which must govern clothier &c. 148

  rumours, false and seditious 81

  Rupert, Prince 231

  Rutland 156 n., 265 n., 338 seq.
     "    Duke of 89, 187

  Ruxley 264 n.

  Rycherds, John 331

  Rye 8 n.

  Ryedale 177 n., 259 n.

  Sabbath, _see_ Sunday

  sailors 73, 77, 93, 213, _see_ mariners

  St Albans 108 seq., 110, 117, 117 n., 129, 163 n., 199, 261, 263 n.
      "     Liberty of 181, 191 n., 255 n., 263 n.

  St Andrews, Andries, Norwich 101, 310

  St Anthony's, Broad Street 27 n.
       "        York 114

  St Augustine, rule of 19

  St Bartholomew's, London 27 n., 28, 30, 31, 34, 36, 38, 39, 98,
        201, 208, 269, 369
     "      "       Glos. 129, 208
     "      "       Sandwich 8, 208

  St Benedict, parish of 367

  St Catherine's, York 209
     "     "      by the Tower 27 n.

  St Cross, hospital of 207 seq.

  St Edmondes, Norwich 310

  St Edmund's, Gateshead 209

  St Ethelbert's, Hereford 211 n.

  St Ethelred, Liberty of 191 n., 365

  St Giles', London, parish of 264 n., 360
     "       in the Fields 27 n.
     "       Hereford 8 n., 208, 211 n.
     "       Norwich 105, 198 seq., 209 seq.
     "       Reading parish 212

  St James' in the Fields 27 n.
      "     church of King's Lynn 224

  St John's, of Jerusalem 27 n.
      "      Nottingham 227
      "      Sandwich 8
      "      Sepulchre 104 n.
      "      Walbrook 97

  St Julianes, Norwich 310

  St Just 213 n.

  St Leonard's, Launceston 209, 209 n.

  St Margaret's, Glos. 129, 208

  St Mary's, Barking 27 n.
      "      Cripplegate 27 n.

  St Mary Magdalen, Exeter 8 n.
      "      "      Glos. 129 n., 208
      "      "      King's Lynn 209
      "   Rounceval 27 n.
      "   Redcliffe 210

  St Mary's, Spital 27 n., 97

  St Nicholas, London 28
       "       Scarborough 8 n.

  St Paul's Hospital, Norwich 101

  St Peter's parish, Norwich 308

  St Sepulchre 264 n., 360 n.

  St Thomas' of Acon 27 n.
      "      parish of, Bristol 210
      "      Hospital, Scarborough 8
      "      Hospital, York 209
       "         "     Southwark 19, 27 n., 28, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36,
        38, 39, 98, 201, 269, 370

  Sands, Mr 69, 83, 130

  Sandwich 7 seq., 208

  Sandys, Lord 48

  Sarum, division of 204

  Sarum, New 200

  Savoy, hospital of 27 n., 63

  Sawbridgeworth, Sabridgworth 343 n., 345, 347, 348

  Scarborough 8, 170 n., 213

  scarcity, _see_ corn

  Schirewoode John 176

  scholars, poor 29 n., 53, 70, 136

  _schoole dames_ 218, 332

  schools, scoole 103, 136, 215, 217, 218, 219, 308
     "     industrial 113, 217, _see_ Bridewell
     "     Free 27 n.
     "     knitting 111, 111 n., 218 seq., 300, 332
     "     King Edward's 38

  Scotland 14, 54, 183, 267, 277 seq., 293, 294, 303

  Scrivener, Mrs Alice 234

  scrutineers, Glos. 129 n.

  sea, vagrants sent to 229, 230 n.

  searchers for vagrants, _see_ vagrants

  Segewyche, Dr 44

  select women 104, 105, 107, 218, 313

  Sellside 218

  Semys, almshouse of 213

  senators 273

  Sergeant-at-Mace 187 n.

  serges 225

  sermons 55, 212, 307

  Servall, Agnes 65

  servants 55, 299
     "     stubborn 94
     "     refusing to serve as 179 n.
     "     whether hired by the year 104
     "     discharging of 128, _see_ labourers

  service, _cervis_, _servis_ 65, 70
      "    placing in 77, 83
      "    people to go to 104 n., 105, 142 n., 315
      "    living out of 142, 142 n., 179 n., 228 n., 263, 350

  serving men 211 n.

  Sessions, Quarter 77, 88, 120, 126, 134 n., 143, 154, 167 seq.,
        214 n., 275, 331, 337, 340, 343, 371
      "     Petty 177 n., _see_ kirk sessions

  Session of 1597-8, 74, 75 seq.

  settlement regulations 5, 107 seq., 167, 179 n., 302

  Shaftesbury 262 n.

  Shaile, Rich. 212 n.

  shearmen 149

  sheep farming 17

  sheeting 222

  Sheffield 225

  Shelf 169 n.

  Shepton Mallet 228 n.

  Shepway 187, 191 n., 256 n.

  Sheriffs 81, 143, 173, 224, 319
     "     High 340, 351

  Shinfield 217 n.

  ship money 164

  shipmen 70

  ships 43, 93, 100, 123

  shirts, charities for 212, 212 n.

  shoemakers 139, 234, 338, 339

  shop-keepers 233, 234

  shops, fines for opening on Sunday 117

  Shrewsbury 123 seq., 189, 260
      "      Eliz., Countess of 17

  Shropham 88

  Shropshire 157, 224, 262, 299

  sick 7, 201 seq., 203, 306

  Sick Man's Hospital 8 n., 211 n.

  silk lace 100

  silkmen 233, _see_ weavers

  Silkston 169 n.

  silver, influx of 16

  silver plate 202

  Sisters of St Cross 208 n.
     "    of Normans, _see_ St Paul's, Norwich

  Skenfreth 252, 253

  Slaney, charity of 216 n.

  slaves 56

  Smith, Henry, charity of 222 n.

  Smithfield 108, _see_ St Bartholomew's

  Smiths, guild of 42 n.

  smocks, charities for 212, 212 n.

  Soke 256 n.

  soldiers, _souldiers_, _sojouries_, _souldyours_ 14, 73, 75, 78,
        87, 93, 136, 143, 170, 211, 213, 220, 245, 290 n., 325, 327 n.,
        369, 370

  Somerset 84, 86 n., 126 seq., 145, 148 n. 1 and n. 2, 180, 185, 254,
        261, 298, 299
     "     Duke of 51, 303

  Sorbonne 20

  south eastern counties 240

  Southampton, Hampton 9, 43 n., 86 n.

  Southgate, Norwich 308

  Southwark 35, _see_ St Thomas' Hospital

  Spain 89

  Spaldyng, Samuel 176

  Spanish ports 147

  Spencer, Sir Will. 126

  spinners 85, 147, 349

  spinning 218, 223, 226, 272, 276, 358
     "     house, Bridewell 37

  spinster, spynsters, 65 n., 149, 160

  Sprott's charity 235 n.

  stability 15, 302, 304

  Stafford co. 262
     "     boro. 186, 274 n.

  Staine 82, 191 n., 264 n.

  Stamford 157, 157 n., 197 n.

  Stanbury, Mr 121

  Stancliff 299 n.

  standard of comfort 198

  Standon 347

  Stanleyes Remedy 243

  Stansted Abbots 345 n., 346

  Staplegrove, Stapelgrove 180, 214, 327 seq.

  Staploe 82, 191 n., 264 n.

  Star Chamber 119, 125

  starch 325

  Startforth 214 n.

  starvation 124, 125

  state control 6 seq.

  statutes, laws 3 seq., 45, 53 seq., 59, 60, 62, 67 seq., 73, 79, 81,
        87, 133 seq., 143, 153
      "     Scotch 278 seq.
      "     apprenticeship 155
      "     of chantries 43
      "     common or statute law 297
      "     of Ethelred 3
      "     factory 62
      "     labour 3, 151, 256, 293, 343 n., 358, 359, _see_ wages
      "     of retainers 120
      "     of rogues 77, 141
      "     for raising publicke stockes 147
      "     effects of 297 seq., 302, _see_ execution of law
      "     particular, mentioned or referred to:
           51 Hen. III. 332
           13 Edw. I. 332
           36 Edw. III. c. 8, 4
           12 Rich. II. cc. 3 and 7, 4 seq.
           15 Rich. II. c. 6, 6 seq.
            4 Hen. IV. c. 12, 7
            2 Hen. V. St. I. c. 1, 20
            8 Hen. VI. c. 5, 332
           10 Hen. VII. c. 4, 332
           11 Hen. VII. c. 2, 5, 332
           19 Hen. VII. c. 12, 5
           22 Hen. VIII. c. 12, 12, 53 seq., 56, 57, 60, 62, 73, 78, 291
           23 Hen. VIII. c. 11, 332
           25 Hen. VIII. c. 1, 320
           27 Hen. VIII. c. 25, 2, 53, 54 seq., 59, 60, 62, 278, 291
            1 Edw. VI. c. 3, 56 seq., 70, 79
            3 and 4 Edw. VI. c. 16, 57, 58, 60
            5 and 6 Edw. VI. c. 2, 57, 58, 60 n.
            5 and 6 Edw. VI. c. 14, 320 n.
            7 Edw. VI. c. 11, 58
            1 Mary St. II. c. 13, 58
            1 Mary St. III. c. 12, 58
            2 and 3 Ph. and Mary c. 5, 58, 60
            4 and 5 Ph. and Mary c. 9, 58
            1 Eliz. c. 2, 332
            5 Eliz. c. 3, 58, 59, 60, 71, 102, 106, 291
            5 Eliz. c. 4, 140, 162, 163 n., 256, 302, 343 n., 358, 359
            5 Eliz. c. 12, 320, 322
           14 Eliz. c. 5, 2, 68, 69 seq., 79, 95, 96, 130, 131, 220, 278
           18 Eliz. c. 3, 68, 72, 79
           23 Eliz. c. 1, 332
           27 Eliz. c. 11, 72
           29 Eliz. c. 5, 72
           31 Eliz. c. 10, 72
           35 Eliz. c. 4, 73, 136
           35 Eliz. c. 6, 73
           35 Eliz. c. 7, 73
           39 Eliz. c. 3, 76 seq., 80, 133, 134, 135, 140, 143, 167,
        220, 238, 241, 281, 294
           39 Eliz. c. 4, 77, 332
           39 Eliz. c. 5, 77
           39 Eliz. c. 6, 78, 136, 137
           39 Eliz. c. 16, 331
           39 Eliz. c. 17, 78
           39 Eliz. c. 21, 78, 136
           43 Eliz. c. 2, 133 seq., 138, 140 n., 238, 240, 253 n.,
        281, 292
           43 Eliz. c. 3, 136, 138 n., 220, 332
            1 Jac. I. c. 6, 162
            1 Jac. I. c. 7, 138 n., 243
            1 Jac. I. c. 9, 138 n., 332
            1 Jac. I. c. 27, 138 n.
            1 Jac. I. c. 31, 137
            2 Jac. I. c. 4, 331
            3 Jac. I. c. 4, 138 n., 332
            4 Jac. I. cc. 4 and 5, 331
            4 Jac. I. c. 5, 138 n.
            7 Jac. I. c. 3, 138 n.
            7 Jac. I. c. 4, 137, 243, 332
            7 Jac. I. c. 10, 332
            7 Jac. I. c. 11, 138 n.
           21 Jac. I. c. 1, 138 n.
           21 Jac. I. c. 7, 138 n.
           21 Jac. I. c. 20, 138 n.
           21 Jac. I. c. 28, 138 n.
            1 Car. I. c. 1, 138 n.
            3 Car. I. c. 2, 138 n.
            3 Car. I. c. 5, 138 n.
           13 and 14 Car. II. c. 12, 107, 109, 239
            4 and 5 Will. IV. c. 76, 135, 294
      "     Scotch:
             James I. c. 66, 278
             James I. c. 103, 278
             James V. c. 22, 278
             James V. c. 74, 279
             James V. c. 149, 279
             James V. c. 272, 281
             James VI. c. 19, 281 n.
             James VI. c. 8, 281 n.
             Chas. II. c. 16, 281 n.
             Chas. II. c. 38, 281 n.

  stent roll 286 n.

  Stettin, Duke of 242

  Stirling 287

  stocks for punishment 4, 35 n., 221, 300
     "   _stockes_ = stores 72, 85, 87, 118, 154, 172, 182, 222 seq.,
        225, 245, 247, 256, 260, 261, 276, 301, 342, 345 seq., 360, 361
     "   town 202 n., 256 seq., 361 seq.
     "   amount of 258, 265
     "   for House of Correction 170 n., _see_ work

  Stockw^{th} 257 n.

  Stoke Newington 360 n.

  Stokeham 362

  stoneminers 224

  Stourbridge, Sturbridge 43 seq., 82

  strangers 101, 128, 242, 286 n., _see_ merchant strangers

  strike 141 n.

  stockings 112 n.

  Stortford 345 n., 348, 349, 350

  Stow 18, 26
    "  hundred of 82, 264 n., 358 seq.

  Stretford 186 n.

  Stuarts 66, 297, 300

  subscriptions 97, 202 n., 210

  subsidy 112 n., 116, 268 n.
     "    book 73

  success in Aberdeen 285 n.
     "    in Norwich 106
     "    of corn measures 192 seq.
     "    of Book of Orders 298 seq.

  Sudbury 160

  Suffolk 50, 84, 148, 148 n., 149, 153, 154, 178, 179, 190, 191 n.,
        201, 263, 334, 336 seq.

  Sunday 57, 138 n., 212, _see_ fines, collections

  superintendents of beggars 44

  supervisors of the poor 171 n.

  suppers on fast days 122, 129
      "   of orphan boys 199

  surety 70, 71 n.

  surgeon 202 n., 208, 355

  Surrey co. 83, 87 n., 160 n., 192 n., 228

  survey of corn, _see_ corn

  surveyors, _surveiors_ of beggars 25, 26, 98
      "       of hospitals 129
      "       of poor 167 n.
      "       of highways 343

  swearing, _see_ fines

  Symes, Dr. 202 n.

  Tabard 4

  tailors 103, 117 n.

  Tanner MSS. 180

  Taunton 185, 186, 226

  Taverham 191 n.

  taxes, charities for paying 136, 137 n., _see_ rates, fifteenths,

  technical education, _see_ training
      "     school 217

  Temple, hall of Middle 75
     "    Hospital 210
     "    Gate almshouse 210

  tenants, oppression of 269, _see_ landlords

  tenements 73, 93, 108, 297, _see_ cottages

  tennis balls 100

  testimonials 168, 343

  Tewkesbury 82, 151

  Theale, report from 259

  thefts, thieves 15, 36, 38, 303

  thieves, language of 12, 13

  Thingoe 187

  Thirsk 170 n.

  Thirty Years' War 147

  thread, twisting of 223

  Thredling 264 n.

  Thriplow 82

  Thomas, charity of 215 n.

  Thornaby 111

  Thornbury 82

  Thorne, charity of 235 n.

  Thorner, John 260 n.

  Thornton 203

  Thundridge 345 n., 348

  thurdendeles 179

  tickets, _see_ badges

  Tickhill 168

  tillage 143

  tinkers, _tynkers_ 68, 70, 82, 344

  Tinwell 338

  tippler 69, 321, 324, 332

  tippling, _tiplinge_ 175

  tithe 3, 6 seq., 117, 134 n., 135 n.

  tithingmen 174, 247, 329

  Tiverton, fire at 202

  tokens of tin 26

  tolls 116

  Topcliffe 171

  Totmonslow 262 n.

  tow 182, 225, 232, 272, 349

  town, rulers of 6 seq., 62 seq., 65, 72, 96, 165, 187, 202, 290
    "   control charities 7 seq., 204, 208, 209, 210, 211 n.
    "   contribute to charitable endowments 8, 23
    "   parental government of 65 seq., _see_ poor relief, orders,

  Town Council, Glasgow 289 n.

  Town Clerk 305

  _towne haill_ 285

  towns, importance of Tudor 23
    "    poor relief in, _see_ poor relief
    "    of Suffolk 149
    "    fires in 202
    "    head officials of 78

  trade 115, 148, 148 n., 152, 153, 155, 164, 173, 259, 337, 344
    "   right of exercising 117
    "   teaching 111, 218, 299
    "   depression of 145, 147 seq., 155, 163, 245, 336 seq.

  traders 85, 344, _see_ trades, tradesmen

  tradesmen 136, 223, 235, _see_ lending cash

  training 110 seq., 225, 294

  Treasurer, County 73, 77, 136, 213, 220
      "      Mr 338
      "      Lord 338

  treatise, _see_ pamphlets

  Trellech 252

  trespass, action for 135 n.

  Treswell 364

  Trevor, Sir Thomas 212

  Trinity Hospital, Bristol 209

  troops, number of 274

  truck 163

  Trust, Breaches of 78, 136, 248

  Tudors 66, 297, 298

  Tunstead 191 n.

  Tuxford 364

  undersettles 170 n., _see_ inmates

  undertakers of poor 229

  unemployed 38, 45, 76, 110 seq., 221 seq., 238 seq., _see_ work, and
        Correction, Houses of

  United States 230

  Universities, poor scholars of 29 n., 53, 70, 136

  Uppingham 197 n., 338

  usurers 128

  Utopia 12 n., 15, 57

  V, letter of 25

  Vagrancy Acts 141 n.

  vagrants, vagabonds, _vacaboundes_, sturdy and valiant beggars 15,
        68 seq., 74, 79, 91, 93, 120, 127, 141 n., 156 n., 166, 229
        seq., 252, 282 seq., 325, 336, 344-356, 359, 361 seq., 366,
        370, 371
      "     def. of 68 seq., 344
      "     increase of 11 seq., 13 seq., 40, 53, 102, 127, 241, 270 seq.
      "     decrease of 241, 250, 298 seq., 358
      "     statutory regulations for 4 seq., 53 seq., 56 seq., 69 seq.,
        73, 77, 278 seq.
      "     municipal regulations 5, 25 seq., 37 seq., 65 seq., 98 seq.,
        104, 108, 217, 285, 311, 315, 355
      "     searches for 51, 71, 80 seq., 91, 359, _see_ Correction,
        Houses of, poor relief, statutes, labour and work

  vestry 210, 211 n.

  vicars, _see_ parsons

  Vice-Chancellor 44, 70, 176

  villages, no lack of work in 259

  Vincent, Jenkin 216

  Virginia 229, 230 n.

  visitation, _see_ plague
      "       of Bishop 58 n.

  votes of Parliament 273

  wages 3 seq., 16, 16 n., 52, 140, 160 seq., 224
    "   of silk weavers 156 n.
    "   compared with price of food 198
    "   rise in 300, 301 n.
    "   reasonable 52, 70, 224, 350
    "   during Civil War 275, 301 n.
    "   assessment 161 seq., 343 n., 358, 359, _see_ statutes, labour
    "   of schooldames 218
    "   of waggoner 275

  Wakefield 122, 128 seq., 168 n., 255 n.

  Wales 86 n., 239, 240

  Walker, Dr 44

  Wallingford 83, 216

  Wallington 256, 265, 298

  Walsham 191 n.

  Walsingham 86 n., 94 n.

  Walthamstow 83

  wanderers 298, 344, _see_ vagrants, rogues

  Wangford 190 n.

  Wantage 192

  ward 175, 350, _see_ watches

  Wardell, charity of 221 n.

  Wardrobe 272, 273

  Ware 189 n., 345 n., 346

  warp, white 308 seq.

  warrants 171, 174

  wars 14, 48, 147

  Warsopp 257 n.

  Warwick co. 87 n.
    "     boro. 186
    "     Earl of 160

  waste lands 77

  Wat, Willie 284

  watches, _waches_ 82, 120, 175, 264 n., 299 n., 344, 346 seq., 366

  watchmen 200, 201 n.

  Wath 171 n.

  Watts, charity of 110

  Wayland 88, 191 n., 263, 264 n.

  wealth 15

  weavers, weaving 37, 103, 147, 149, 160, 217 n., 226, 272
     "     silk 156 n., 217, 354
     "     linen 218, 354
     "     ribbon 218, 354

  Weaver's almshouses 211 n.

  Wednesdays 122, _see_ supper

  weights and measures 84, 173, 187 n., 332

  Welhagh 364

  Wellow 263 n.

  Wells 222, 248

  Welsh 139

  Wentllooge 185

  Wentworth, Viscount 157, 164, 295, 338

  Wessington, parish of 6 n.
       "      Sir Walter de 6 n.

  Western counties 155, 192, 245, 262

  Westmill 249, 343 n., 345 n., 347, 349

  Westminster 73, 160 n., 196 n.

  Westmoreland 218, 239, 298

  Wetherley 82

  wheels 111, 112 n.

  whipping, punishment of 25, 53, 54, 57, 62, 65, 70, 71 n., 73, 77,
        98, 105, 221, 243, 278, 311, 312

  whipping campaign 80 seq.

  whipping-post 35 n.

  White Friars, House of 129

  White, George 220, 222 n.
    "    Sir Thomas 234

  Whitgift 75, 79, 211

  Whitley 254 n., 261

  Whitmore, George 230 n.

  Whitson 122, 123, 212, 235 n.

  Whittington, Coll. of Richard 27 n.

  Whittlesford 192 n., 253 n., 256 n., 264 n.

  Whitwell 218

  Wickham, West 216 n.

  Wicksted, John 176

  Widford 345, 350

  widows 211 n., 212

  Wigmore 186 n.

  Wildbore, John 338

  Wilford 264 n., 365

  Williams' Hospital, Hereford 211 n.

  Williamson 244

  Williton 245 n.

  wills 55

  Wilmington 264 n.

  Wiltshire 48, 50 n., 86 n., 121, 125, 145, 148 n. 1, n. 2, 204, 228,
        229, 239, 258, 262 n., 266

  Wilson, Mr Thomas 69

  Wilson, Rob., charity of 234 n.

  Wimbledon, Lord 156 n., 157, 164

  Winche's charity 234 n.

  Winchester 114, 118, 207, 223, 255
      "      Bishop of 118, 338

  Windsor 112 n., 200
     "    New 216, 222

  Windsor, Andrew 222
     " Myles 221 n.

  wire 33

  wite theow 2 n.

  witness 116

  Wokingham 216, 216 n.

  Wolsey 16, 20, 47, 48 seq., 50 n.

  Wolverhampton 222 n., 234

  women 103, 313
    "   almshouses for 211 seq.
    "   taught to knit 112 n.
    "   to teach children 181
    "   easily obtain work 198

  Wonford 190 n.

  wood 199, 212, _see_ fuel

  Wood, charity of 216 n.

  Woodchurch 192

  Woodcross 93

  woods owner rated 134 n., 135 n.

  Woodstock 88 n.

  wool 65 n., 72, 85, 111 bis, 147 seq., 262 n.
    "  combers of 161

  woolchapman 224

  woolgrowers 148

  woolhouse 37

  Wootton 88

  Worcester co. 69, 83, 130, 148 n.
      "     boro. 41, 201, 262

  work on highways 343
    "  proceeds of poor's 113
    "  those who refused 134 n., 140 seq., 176, 344
    "  those able to, not able to 103, 308 seq.
    "  lack of 14, 48, 80, 85, 86 n., 115, 146, 149 n., 152 seq.,
       156 n., 160 n., 231, 255 n., 261, 263, 265 n., 338
    "  no lack of 6, 198, 249, 261
    "  questions concerning 342
    "  poor kept at 65, 99, 105, 140, _see_ idlers
    "  found by inhabitants 131 n., 232, 349, 351
    "  provided for soldiers and sailors 78
    "  provided for children 181, 218 seq., 222 n.
    "  overseers ordered to provide 142, 181
    "  provision of for poor 6, 110 seq., 132, 164, 167, 180, 181,
       221 seq., 270 n., 271, 272, 273, 274 seq., 294 seq., 311, 313,
       325, 332, 335, 336, 339, 346 seq., 358 seq.
    "  regulations in statutes and bills 54, 72, 75 seq., 137, 140
    "  orders in Council and proclamations touching 85 seq., 87, 153
       seq., 174, 325, 336 seq., 338 seq.
    "  effect on wages 300 seq.
    "  in particular places in the following counties:
          _Bedford_ 255, 256 n., 261, 265 n.;
          _Berks._ 112 n., 222, 225, 262 n.;
          _Bucks._ 245, 256 n., 261, 265 n.;
          _Cambs._ 175, 253 n., 256 n., 263, 264 n., 369;
          _Cheshire_ 247, 248, 262 n.;
          _Derby_ 299, 299 n.;
          _Devon_ 112, 121, 155, 222 n., 259 n.;
          _Dorset_ 262 n.;
          _Essex_ 110, 255, 256 n., 265 n.;
          _Glos._ 262 n.;
          _Hants._ 223, 250, 255, 256, 256 n., 262 n.;
          _Hereford_ 222 n., 260, 262 n.;
          _Herts._ 110 seq., 182, 248 seq., 252, 254, 256 n., 258, 261,
        263, 263 n., 344 seq.;
          _Hunts._ 265 n.; Kent 110, 223, 256 n., 261, 264;
          _Lancs._ 259;
          _Leicester_ 111, 112, 265 n., 299;
          _Lincs._ 42, 111, 264;
          _Middlesex_ 264 n.;
          _Monmouthshire_ 252, 262 n.;
          _Nottingham_ 256 n., 257 seq., 264, 361;
          _Norfolk_ 104, 105, 223 n., 224, 253 n., 256 n., 261, 263,
        264 n., 311, 312, 313;
          _Pembroke_ 225;
          _Radnor_ 247, 248;
          _Rutland_ 156, 156 n., 265 n., 338;
          _Shropshire_ 224, 260, 262, 263 n.;
          _Staffordshire_ 222 n., 262;
          _Suffolk_ 149 n., 245, 261, 263, 264, 264 n., 365;
          _Sussex_ 256 n., 261, 265 n.;
          _Surrey_ 222 n., 256, 261, 265, 357 seq.;
          _Somerset_ 222, 245 n., 263 n.;
          _Warwick_ 263 n.;
          _Wilts._ 260 n.;
          _Worcester_ 262, 262 n.;
          _Yorkshire_ 45, 111, 128, 222, 223, 255, 256 n., 259

  workhouses, workinghouse 75, 138 n., 173, 223, 241, 243, 260 n., 272,
        274, 276;
              Abingdon 226, 260;
              Barnstaple 204;
              Cambridge 226;
              Colchester 113;
              Guildford 222, 358;
              King's Lynn 113, 224;
              Little Holland 226;
              Newbury 225, 260;
              Plymouth 259 n.;
              Reading 112, 225;
              Sheffield 225;
              Shrewsbury 260,
              Taunton 226

  workmen, _worckmen_ 4, 52, 70, 85, 140, _see_ labourers, wages, statutes, labour
  worsted, manufacture of 110 n., 224

  Wright, Edmund 197 n.

  Wroth, Sir T. 74

  Wycombe 185

  Wymer, Middle 103

  Wyot 121

  Yarmouth 200

  yarn 182, 272
    "  house 37

  York co. 148 n., 167 seq., 177, 191, 194 n., 215, 240, 241, 242, 259,
        340 seq.
    "  city 45, 64, 80, 81, 111, 114, 209
    "  Archbishop of 86 n., 122

  young people 42, 99, 299, _see_ children

  Ypres 20


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

Larger in-line font size is denoted by +plus signs+.

Obvious printer's errors corrected, including some minor corrections to
the numbering of sidenotes in Chapter 13 to match the information given
in the chapter heading.

Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
possible, including obsolete and variant spellings, non-standard
punctuation, inconsistently italicized and hyphenated words, and other

In three places in the original text, there are intentional gaps where
it appears that a words was redacted. These are left as printed.

Some indexed items were out of sequence in the original text (Entries
starting with “Thr” preceded those starting with “Tho”; these were left
as printed.

There are many instances of dual dating, indicated in the transcribed
text with a single forward slash (e.g. 1580/1). More information about
this practice is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_dating.

P.160: The anchor for footnote 3 was missing from this page in the
scanned volume. Based on context, transcriber moved the anchor for
footnote 2, and placed a new anchor for footnote 3.

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