St Peter's Parish Workhouse

  • 7 Nov 2019
  • Historical Studies
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In 1746 a parish workhouse was set up in an old half-timbered building in St. Peter's Street. It existed well into the 20th century. Parish records show the kind of treatment the less fortunate met. In 1739, for instance; Leonard Darke was to have 'the badche put on his sleeve before the churchwarden relieves him or his wife', a reference to the enforced practice of wearing a large 'P' badge on the arm to show a person was in receipt of parish assistance.

Parish lunatics had the usual barbaric treatment; 'Paid for necessaries for Rd Strayne, 1s.6d. Two hopsacks for a bed tick for him, 3s.4d. Straw for him, 6d. A nurse to look after him, 1s. 6d. Paid a man to help chain him, with expenses, 3s. Two staples, a chain ad a lock, 8d'.

A 'shotgun' marriage is referred to in 1780; 'Paid to Ann Williams.... examination and oath touching the father of the child, 2s. A warrant to apprehend father, and expenses of constables and assistants in taking him, one pound eighteen shillings'. Sometimes there are happier occasions recorded: 'Paid for the ring, 4s License, one pound eight shillings PD parson, clerk and sexton, 8s. For the wedding dinner and drink, 11s.6d