Norfolk: Poor Law after 1834 Act


Guiltcross Union

Union history

  • 1835 - Guiltcross Poor Law Union was formed.
  • 1836 - Workhouse built at Guilt Cross, Garboldisham Road, Kenninghall, NR16 2LJ , [Map reference TM019846]. Note postal address is "East Harling".
  • 1836 - 26th Oct - Earliest weekly meeting for which records exist was held at "White Horse Inn", Kenninghall (Guardian's Minute Books).
  • 1836 - Nov 9th - Minutes (P=Page no) note Bills for Workhouses (still in use) in the Union. These were at :-
    • P17 - Banham
    • P17 - Garboldisham
    • P18 - South Lopham
    • P19 - New Buckenham (Mrs Knights - mistress)
    • P19 - Old Buckenham
    • P20 - Kenninghall
    • P21 - North Lopham
  • 1836 - Nov 16th - Contracter (Mr John Darken) who was building new Workhouse requested part payment - cheque for £642 drawn (Page 28)
  • 1836 - Nov 23rd - Migration Agent letter (Pages 31-34).
  • 1836 - Dec 21st - Workhouse insured for £2500 (Page 74).
  • Description is in Whites 1845 directory
  • 1902 - March - Union dissolved. Parishes divided between Depwade, Thetford and Wayland Unions.
  • 1905 - Inebriate Institution.
  • 1916 - Guiltcross Institute for Mentally Defective Boys (gone by 1933).
  • 1933 - Kelly's directory - nothing mentioned.
  • 1937 - Kelly's directory - as 1933
  • Most of the buildings now demolished (1 small range left).

Before 1834 some of these parishes had their own Work or Parish House (WkHse) as shown.

Guiltcross Union
Pre 1834
Parish Work House
Post 1902
Banham (E)WkHseWayland
Blo' Norton (W) Thetford
Bressingham (E)WkHseDepwade
Bridgham (W) Thetford
Buckenham, New
  (New Buckenham) (E)
Buckenham, Old
  (Old Buckenham) (E)
Eccles (W) Wayland
Fersfield (E) Depwade
Garboldisham (W)WkHseThetford
Gasthorpe (W) Thetford
Harling, East
  (East Harling) (W)
Harling, West
  (West Harling) (W)
Kenninghall (W)WkHseWayland
Lopham, North
  (North Lopham) (W)
Lopham, South
  (South Lopham) (W)
Quidenham (W) Wayland
Riddlesworth (W) Thetford
Roydon (near Diss) (E) Depwade
Shelfanger (E)WkHseDepwade
Wilby (W) Wayland
Winfarthing (E)WkHseDepwade


(E) = Eastern Division, (W) = Western Division

Poor Law Records - Images

Online images of some poor law registers, admissions books etc. from 1796 to 1900 are available at the

  • LDS familysearch website https://www.familysearch.org/ (UK+Ireland records section)
  1. Go down the "Historical Record Collections"
  2. Select Title - "England, Norfolk Poor Law Union Records, 1796-1900"
  3. Select "Browse through xxx images"
  4. Under County pick - "Norfolk"
  5. Under Poor Law Union select the "Required Union"
  6. Records are under headings such as "District, Workhouse & Unknown etc."
  7. Alternatively use a search engine for "familysearch" "Norfolk Poor Law Union Records"

Other Websites

Acts, descriptions, maps, some pictures etc. can be found at :-
                www.workhouses.org.uk (The Story of Workhouses).

Further information can be found:

See also the Poor Law page and the Post 1834 Unions page

These pages are for personal use only. They may not be copied, and the links within them may not be harvested for use on your own web pages. Please see the Copyright Notice.

Copyright © Mike Bristow.
March 2015