Market Bosworth Poorlaw Union



  • The Poorlaw Union was the census Registration District. It made sense to use an existing political structure to manage the census.


  • The Bosworth Union was established by the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act and was formed in 1836.
  • The Bosworth Union included 32 parishes; Bagworth, Barlestone, Barton in the Beans, Bilstone, Market Bosworth, Cadeby, Carlton, Congerstone, Dadlington, Desford, Gopsall, Groby, Ibstock, Kirkby Mallory, Markfield, Nailstone, Newbold Verdon, Norton juxta Twycross, Odstone, Orton on the Hill, Osbaston, Peckleton, Ratby, Shackerstone, Shenton, Sibson, Stanton under Bardon, Stapleton, Sutton Cheney, Thornton, Twycross, Upton, and Witherley.
  • The number and names of parishes in the Union would vary over time.
  • In 1836, the Poor Law Commissioners authorised the construction on Atherstone Road of the building which was to accommodate 200 paupers from the 28 parishes that were members at the time. The member parishes covered over 79 square miles and were divided into two districts: Market Bosworth and Ibstock.
  • The Board of Guardians met every other Wednesday, normally at the Union House at 1pm.
  • In 1856, the Poor Law Commissioners authorised the construction of a new workhouse on the west side of town on Litchfield Road in Market Bosworth, again to house up to 200 paupers, although the average headcount was only 56.
  • An Infirmary was added in 1873. A new Board Room was added in 1898.
  • After the abolishment of the Poorlaw Unions in 1930, the site sat unused for a while and has since been converted into residential use.

Inventories, Registers, Catalogues

Poorlaw documents can be viewed at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland in Long Street, Wigston Magna, LE18 2AH

Remember that some records may be restricted by the 100-year closure laws and regulations, established to protect individual privacy.


These figures are the total for all the parishes in the Bosworth Poorlaw Union. The Workhouse often held only about 55 inmates.

Year Inhabitants
1841 13,600
1871 13,748
1881 14,611
1891 15,640
1901 17,176
1911 20,455


  • 1840: Luke and Ann WRIGHT were the first master and mistress of the Workhouse.
  • 1849: James HOLLIER, clerk to the Union; Luke WRIGHT, workhouse master; Ann WRIGHT, workhouse matron.
  • 1881: Thomas B. FITCH, clerk to the Board of Guardians; F. CLARK, workhouse master; Rev. William TOWNSON, chaplain; David Pestel THOMAS, surgeon.
  • For a complete list of officers, staff and inmates in 1881, see the Ross Brett Workhouse site.
  • 1912: Thomas COPE, chairman; Frank BOUSKELL, clerk to the Board of Guardians; Frederick GREEN, treasurer; Hugh Nevill KEELING, medical officer; Albert LOCKETT, workhouse master; Rev. Lewis Henry PEARSON, chaplain; Mrs. H. LOCKETT, workhouse matron.