Wiltshire Poor Law UnionsEdit This Page
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An Act of Parliament in the year 1834 took the responsibility of administering to the poor from the local parish church to the doorstep of civil government. The government grouped each civil parish into a union of parishes. There were nearly 600 such unions throughout England, each one comprising close to 20 or more parishes, and were specifically setup to meet the demands of the poor among their local populations, with a workhouse on the premises. The responsbility was transferred from local parishes to a Board of Guardians in each union. These groupings or unions were known as poor-law unions. Wiltshire had the following poorlaw unions within its boundaries:
The Poorlaw Unions
- Bradford on Avon
- Cricklade & Wootton Bassett
- Highworth & Swindon
- Trowbridge & Melksham
- Westbury & Whorwellsdown
Records from the poorlaw unions, which were created from this time forward include the following:
- Creed Registers
- Rate books
- Workhouse Lists of Inmates
- Register of Apprentices
- Register of Births
- Register of Deaths
- Vestry Rate Books
- Admission and Discharge Registers
- Board of Guardians' Records
Records at The Family History Library
To determine records availability for each poorlaw, search the FamilySearch Catalog under the name of the county (Wiltshire), and then under the name of the poorlaw union, i.e. Salisbury; then search under the term[s] "poorlaw" or "poorhouses".
Online Transcriptions Relating to Poorlaw Records
1)For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site: www.workhouses.org.uk, a 'gateway' website with some information on Wiltshire's poor
2) Here is a website with approximately 10 percent of the county's poor
- This page was last modified on 18 July 2014, at 23:16.
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