England Quarter Session Settlements and Removals (National Institute)

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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: Court Records-Criminal, Civil and Ecclesiastical  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Settlements and Removals

Perhaps half of the business conducted at every Quarter Sessions consisted of deciding appeals against removal orders (Cole 2001c), and each gives so much family history which cannot be obtained elsewhere.

Besides the overall indexes to Quarter Sessions materials there are separate published indexes to the Quarter Session settlement and removal cases in many counties, for example for Somerset 1607-1700 by Webb (An Index to Somerset Settlement and Removal Cases in Quarter Sessions 1607-1700. Somerset and Dorset Family, History Society)

Some of the cases which the justices had to scratch their heads about in 1784 in Bromley, Kent are given below.

Chart: Petty Sessions Settlement Exams
Bromley, Kent 3rd May 1784
Film 2145577

Rachel Lark now residing in Bexley singlewoman, upon her oath
saith that she was born in the Workhouse at Bexley. Says her late
Father was legally settled in Bexley as she has heard and believes.
Says she has never done any act to gain a settlement in her own
right except that she was about four years ago married to one Thos
Newman whom it now appears was then and still is a married man
being married to another woman. Says she has three illegitimate
children by the said Thomas Newman all born in the parish of
Woolwich, namely Mary aged about three years and an half, Ann aged about two years and Elizth aged about four months.
Rachel Lark X her mark

Sarah Rogers now residing in Bexley and being the wife of John
Rogers now a convict in the gaol of Maidstone [Says] upon her
oath that she hath never heard and doth not know where the place
of her said husband’s local settlement is. Says she was born (as she
has heard and believes) in the parish of Cooksham in Oxfordshire and
where her late father John Crook was settled. Says she has three
children by the said John Rogers named and ages as in the margin -
Willm aged 6 yrs, Tho: 3, Sophia 11/4 -
Sarah Rogers X her mark

William Bawcutt now residing in Bexley labr upon his oath saith
that the place of his locall settlement is in the parish of Stow in
Northamptonshire which he gained by a hiring and service to Mr
Thomas Harman a farmer for a whole year in Stow aforesaid. Not
having done any act to gain a settlement elsewhere. Says he was
legally married to Margt late Margt Brown widow at Greenwich by
whom he hath no child.
The mark of Willm Bawcutt X

Anne Cole (1990) describes her favourite settlement examination:
James Thompson, born in North America came to England in 1777
and was pressed into the Royal Navy in 1782. He was discharged
and admitted to Greenwich Hospital as an out-pensioner and lived
in London. However, he was apprehended as a ‘rogue and
vagabond’ in Sleaford, Lincolnshire in 1784 explaining that
someone had tried to apply for his semi-annual pension in
Gainsborough, Lincolnshire but by the time he got there the bills
had been returned to London, so he needed a pass back there.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Court Records-Criminal, Civil and Ecclesiastical 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 wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

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