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Help and advice for Norfolk: Poor Law after 1834 Act

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Norfolk: Poor Law after 1834 Act

Hoxne Union (in Suffolk)

Mendham has 800 (out of 3000) acres in Norfolk and a NFK population of approximately 267 people in 1841 and was in this Suffolk Union initially (see later).

Union history

  • 1834 - Hoxne Law Union formed
  • 1834-5 - Workhouse was built at Stradbroke (Barley Green) [Map reference is TM252733] in Suffolk. It is next to "Holly Tree Farm", Barley Green, Stradbroke, Eye, IP21 5LY.
  • It is marked on some maps as "Hoxne Hundred House".
  • 1883 - The following 3 from 4 Orders are extracted from "White's History and Gazetteer 1892" but only as far as they affect Mendham. The first 2 do not appear to effect poor law but have been included for completeness. Pages 23 to 40 include the following on page 30 under Hoxne Union :-
    • By Order 16,487, dated Dec 17th 1883, and made provisional,
      "That portion of Mendham situated in Norfolk has been amalgamated with "Redenhall with Harleston" (which is in Depwade Union) for highway purposes."
    • By Order 16,498, dated Dec 17th 1883, and made provisional,
      "...[other parish changes left out]... and the remainder of Withersdale was annexed to the parish of Mendham, which they partly adjoined, and also included in that parish for highway purposes."
    • By Order 16,497, dated Dec 17th 1883,
      "a detached part of Metfield parish was annexed to Mendham parish for poor-law and highway purposes."
  • 1885 - Mar 25th - - "Local Government Board Order"
    Mendham split into 2 parts.
    • The norfolk section (ie. north of the river Waveney) became part of "Redenhall with Harleston" (which in Depwade Union) for civil purposes.
    • The suffolk part (ie. south of the river Waveney) gained some of the parish of Withersdale and remained in this Union.
  • 1892 - Workhouse had closed by this date. Hoxne Union was still a functioning body and the guardians sent Inmates to Eye Workhouse in Hartismere Union. .
  • 1907 - March 25th - "Local Government Board Order"
    Hoxne Union dissolved and the parishes added to Hartismere Union.
    ie. Mendham on Suffolk side of border was part of this move.
    [Source - Kelly's Suffolk Directory 1912]

Description of the Union - White's 1844 Suffolk

The following is extracted from pages 449 and 450 of the gazetteer and is part of the section entitled "Hoxne Hundred".

HOXNE UNION, as already noticed, comprises 24 of the 26 parishes of Hoxne Hundred, and contains 15,800 inhabitants, of whom 257 are in the Norfolk part of Mendham parish. Its area is about 80 square miles, or 50,000 acres. The Union was formed by the New Poor Law Commissioners, in 1834, and its Workhouse, at Stradbroke, was erected during that and the following year, at the cost of about £10,000, and has room for 300 inmates, but has seldom half that number, and had only 120 in 1841, when the census was taken, and 86 in October 1843. The average annual expenditure of the 24 parishes, for the support of their poor, during the three years preceding the formation of the Union was £19,330, but during the following year it did not exceed £12,000, including the great expense of migrating many pauper families to the manufacturing districts. The Commissioners, in their report, say this reduction has not been accomplished by causing the aged and infirm to suffer privation, but by carefully investigating the cases of the applicants for relief, detecting imposition, and gradually but firmly withdrawing all out-door relief from able-bodied paupers. Previous to the formation of the Union, their were usually, in the winter months, upwards of 800 labourers without employment, receiving out-door relief in the 24 parishes. During the first quarter after the opening of the workhouse, in January 1836, only 52 able-bodied persons accepted temporary relief within its walls. The expenditure of the Union in 1838, was £7312, and in 1839 was £8279. 4s. The Workhouse is a large cruciform brick building, admirably adapted for the most approved system of classification; and within the same enclosure, a Fever Ward has been built, at the cost of £600. Mr. W. L. B. Freuer, of Weybread, is Superintendent Registrar and Clerk to the Board of Guardians; to whom Sir. E. Kerrison, is chairman, and the Rev. W. B. Mack, vice-chairman. Mr. John Sims is the auditor; and the relieving officers and district registrars are Mr. Thomas Thurston, for the Stradbroke District, and Mr. Wm. Bloss, of Brundish, for Dennington District. The Rev. J. Knevett, of Syleham, is chaplain to the Union; and Mr. Wm. Coyte is master, and Mrs Wright, matron of the Workhouse.

Parishes in the Union.

  Athelington, Badingham, Bedfield, Bedingfield, Brundish, Denham, Dennington, Fressingfield, Horham, Hoxne, Laxfield, Mendham, Metfield, Monk Soham, Saxstead, Southolt, Stradbroke, Syleham, Tannington, Weybread, Wilby, Wingfield, Withersdale, Worlingworth.


Further information can be found:


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

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Copyright © Mike Bristow.
February 2011