As we continue with this occasional series featuring UK and Ireland Genealogy, we are going to look at the various Poor Law Acts.
- Poor Law Act 1601
- Settlement Acts 1662, 1691 and 1697
- Knatchbull Act 1723 (Workhouse Test)
- Gilbert Act 1782
- Poor Law Amendment Act 1834
Poor Relief Act 1601
This was the basis of all the Poor Law administration, right up to 1834. This Act placed the burden of the poor relief on the Parish. The Act also outlined that between 2 and 4 householders, who were seen as “substantial” were to be appointed each year as Overseers of the Poor.
The Overseers raised taxes which were essential for the providing of the relief measures and not too surprisingly, the Overseers were required to keep accounts of the funds etc gathered during their time operating as such. The Overseers were the individuals who conducted various examinations, such as Settlement Examinations and provided the Settlement Certificate or Removal Order as appropriate, amongst other elements of Poor Law work.