Discover the Poor Law in England and Wales

Discover the Poor Law in England and Wales

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Discover the Poor Law in England and Wales; by Paul Blake; 2018; 64 pp; 5.75x8.25; b&w photos, timeline, bibliog, addresses, index; paperback; ISBN: 9781925781380; Item #: RUTP0342

The Poor Law has an extreme impact on English and Welsh society from the sixteenth century, right through to the twentieth. It played a central role in the country's social and political development from the Reformation to the Industrial Revolution, and beyond. Initially, the regulations were designed to reform the poor as much as to relieve poverty.

The Poor Laws touched nearly every aspect of the lives of many families over five centuries: those who found it necessary to seek help in their hours of need, as well as those who organized and paid for the relief that the deserving poor sought and were entitled.

Necessarily, the Poor Laws produced a wealth of documentation referring to individuals and families across the country. Survival of the records varies from parish to parish, town to town, and from 1834, Poor Law Union to Poor Law Union. However, when and where the records do survive, then they can be a goldmine of information and a major source for family historians.

The evidence they contain can solve many problems, particularly of migration and family relationships. But, perhaps most importantly, they can provide a rare insight int our ancestors' lives.


  • Introduction
  • Sixteenth century - Charity
    • Charity
  • The Elizabethan Poor Laws
    • 1597/8 Poor Law Act
    • 1601 Poor Law Act
    • Workhouse Test Act
  • Assessments
  • The Poor Laws 1750-1834
    • Gilbert's Act
    • Speenhamland System
  • Settlement and Removal
    • Settlement
    • Removal
  • Illegitimacy
  • Apprenticeship
  • The New Poor Law
    • Poor Law Unions
  • Workhouses
    • Admission and Discharge Registers
    • Creed Registers
    • The Workhouse Website
  • Poor Law Union Correspondence
  • Poor Law Emigration
  • The Final Years
  • Records
    • Local Holdings
    • Transcripts and Indexes
    • Commercial Websites
  • Newspapers
  • Conclusion
  • Timeline
  • Bibliography
  • Addresses and Contact Details
    • Websites
    • Museums
    • Record Offices and Libraries
  • Index