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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Poor Law and Parish Chest Records  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Settlement (cont.)

Removal Pass for Robert Little 1801
Original illustrated by Cole and Titford

Middlesex to wit:
These are to desire you, to permit and suffer the bearer hereof Robert Little with his Wife Rachael and one child named Ann peaceably and quietly to pass unto Broad Hinton in the County of Wilts without any of your Lett, Hindrance, or Molestation, whatsoever, they demeaning themselves orderly and not exceeding the space of eleven days from the Date hereof, to accomplish the said Journey.
Given under my Hand and Seal, being one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said County of Middlesex, the Second Day of May in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and one at the Public Office Great Marlbro’ Street.
John Scott
To all Justices of the Peace, Mayors, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, Constables, and all other His Majesty’s Officers, whom it may concern.

[Note at side]
                           Rel[ieve]’d St. George Han[ove]r Sq[uar]e
                           Kensington 9d
                           Hammersmith 6d 2nd May
                           Colnbrook 9 May 3
                           Maidenhead 1/0 May 4th
                          Wargrave 1/0 May 5th
                          St. Giles Reading 1/
                          Spars[hol]t 1/

Removal Order for Hannah Gledhill 1804
The following example seems to contravene the spirit of the 1722 Act. Film 1551143

WEST-RIDING of Yorkshire To wit: To the church-wardens and overseers of the poor of the township of Halifax in the said riding, and to the church-wardens and overseers of the poor of the parish, township or place of Leeds in the said Riding and to each and every one of them.
Whereas complaint hath this day been made unto us, two of his Majesty’s justices of the peace in and for the said riding, (one being of the quorum), by the said church-wardens and overseers of the poor of Halifax aforesaid, THAT Hannah Gledhill hath come to inhabit the said township of Halifax not having gained a legal settlement there, and that the said Hannah Gledhill being pregnant of a Bastard or Bastards is by force of the statute actually chargeable to the said township of Halifax.

We do therefore, upon due examination of the premises, taken before us, upon oath, adjudge the same to be true. And we do likewise adjudge the last place of the lawful settlement of the said Hannah Gledhill to be the said parish, township or place of Leeds.
These are therefore in his Majesty’s name to require you the said church-wardens and overseers of the poor of Halifax aforesaid, or some of you, to convey the said Hannah Gledhill from and out of the said township of Halifax to Leeds aforesaid, and her to deliver to the church-wardens and overseers of the poor there, or to some one of them, together with this our order, or a true copy thereof, who are hereby required to take care and provide for her as the law directs.
Given under our hands and seals the first day of December 1804,
                                                        Thomas Lodge
                                                        Thomas Horton

A Removal Order identical to the one above but concerning John Gledhill, Sarah his wife and Hannah their child aged one year and nine months, removing them from Halifax to Southowram occurs in the same batch. This one has the Forms for Suspension and Reinstatement on the back filled out as follows:

Suspension and Re-Instatement of Removal Order for John Gledhill 1813-14 Film 1551143

WEST-RIDING of Yorkshire To wit: JONATHAN ILLINGWORTH, assistant to the overseers of the poor of the township of Halifax, who applied for the within order, this day made oath before us, the within named justices that the within named John Gledhill is unable to travel by reason of sickness. We the said justices do therefore hereby suspend the execution of the within order, until the said John Gledhill shall be recovered of his sickness, which the said Jonathan Illingworth is hereby required to certify to us.
Given under our hands this Tenth day of December 1813.

WEST-RIDING of Yorkshire To wit: Whereas it appears to us the within named justices, upon the oath of the said Jonathan Illingworth that the within named John Gledhill is so far recovered from his sickness, that he may be removed under the within order. We therefore give our permission to execute the within order, in such manner as if the execution thereof had never been suspended by us. And the said Jonathan Illingworth, assistant to the overseer of the poor aforesaid, having proved before us the within named justices, upon oath, that the charges incurred by the suspension of the within order of removal, do amount to the sum of one pound two shillings and six pence.

We the said justices, do direct that the said sum of one poundtwo shillings and six pence, shall be paid on demand, to the church-wardens and overseers of the poor of Halifax, by the church-wardens and overseers of the poor of the within named parish, township or place of Southowram to which such persons are ordered removed.
Given under our hands and seals thetwenty second day of January 1814.
                                                       H.H. Wm Coulthurst

It is to be noted that the parish of Halifax was enormous, with 26 separate townships including Halifax, Northowram, Ovenden, and Southowram, each with its own set of overseers mentioned in various documents here.

A Traveller with a Removal Order

Journey from Carlisle, Cumberland
to Hambledon, Hants in 1764.

9 July Order to Constables of the City of Carlisle, vagrants Margaret SMITH and two children to Burton in Westmorland to Hambledon, Southampton
11 July From Emont bridge, Westmorland to Dalton cum Hutton, Lancaster.
14 July From County of Chester to Louth, Sheffield
15 July From Staffordshire to Sutton Colefield, Warwickshire
18 July Sutton Colefield to Northfield, Worcester.
19 July Constable of Northfield. Worcester to parish of St. Nicholas, Worcester.
19 July From City of Worcester to Constable of St. Peters.
22 July Vagrants passed by Constables from North Ward, Gloucester to North Hamlet, Gloucester County.
22 July To Latton, Wilts.
23 July To Hungerford, Berks.
24 July To Farnham, Hants.

Presumably, Hambledon was the next and final stop.
400 miles in 17 days i.e. about 25 miles a day, with two children.

Further examples can be found in Camp (2002-2). Removal was still operating in the twentieth century, and Gibson, Rogers and Webb in their work Poor Law Union Records state that some 15,000 persons per year were still being removed up to the First World War.

Settlement Disputes

A major part of the business of the Quarter Sessions was the resolution of settlement disputes between parishes, an example follows .

Magistrates Order for Hearing on Settlement Dispute 1827

MIDDLESEX. At the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace of our Lord the King, holden in and for the County of MIDDLESEX at the Session-House for the said County, (by Adjournment,) on THURSDAY, the Twenty fifth Day of October in the eighth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Fourth, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith.

WHEREAS the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of the Parish of St. George the Martyr Southwark in the County of Surrey have at this present Session exhibited their petition and Appeal, setting forth, That by virtue of an Order or Pass Warrant bearing date the 3oth day of October 1827 under the hands and seals of Wm Benett and J. Burnell Esquires two of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace acting in and for the County of Middlesex aforesaid (one whereof being of the Quorum) James Larkin and Mary his wife and their two Children lawfull Issue namely Mary Ann Gladman Larkin aged five years and an half and upwards and Elizabeth Christiana Larkin aged about one year and nine months were removed and conveyed from and out of the Parish of Saint Leonard Shoreditch in the said County of Middlesex to the said Parish of Saint George the Martyr Southwark alledging the said last mentioned Parish to be the place of their last legal Settlement whereby the Petitioners considered themselves to be aggrieved.

WHEREUPON, at the Request of the said Petitioners, IT IS ORDERED, That the Benefit of their said Appeal be saved unto them, and the hearing and determining thereof be and the same is hereby adjourned until the next General Session of the Peace to be holden for this County; and on Notice hereof in the mean time to be given unto the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of the said Parish of Saint Leonard Shoreditch they and all Persons concerned do attend the Court at the Session-House aforesaid, on Thursday the sixth Day of December next, at the Hour of Nine in the Forenoon of the same Day, to hear and abide the Judgment and Determination of the said Court touching the said Appeal.
                                 BY THE COURT,

The above Appeal is intended to be heard at the Place and on the day last mentioned Dated this 20th day of November 1827.

                          Yours Respectfully
                           Solrs for the Appelts,
To the Respondets and their Solicitor.

Accompanying this Order is a copy of the original Order of Removal with a notationAdmit them. J. Jupp. 30 October 1827, and on the same paper some notes from information presumably supplied by James Larkin:


My Father James Larkin rented a house in Blackman Street upward of 40 Years ago (I am 43) at £40 a Year for 4 or 5 years and was burnt out - after which he has heard that he removed to Peckham - I was two years old at the time.
He was married 7th July 1821 at Saint George Southwark. Ann Larkins (the mother of the pauper) now lives at Barnet Common, Herts. No 28 late 37 was the House which was burnt - nearly opposite the Star [public house].

Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Poor Law and Parish Chest Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.