In 1662 a law of Settlement and Removal was introduced in England and Wales. This enabled Overseers of the Poor to remove those individuals and families from a parish if they would become a burden on the parish, regardless of there family status.
The local Justice of the Peace undertook an Examination to discover if the individual was entitled to legally settle.
Settlement was typically established by birth, although from 1691, there was an extension to that arrangement, whereby, there were other opportunities for Settlement to be granted, which are outlined below:
- Marriage with a “native” of the Parish
- Employment in the Parish for a full year
- Contribution to Parish rates or
- Residence at a property worth at least £10 a year, whichever was the latest.
If none of these could be met, then the Parish Overseers were compelled to return them to the last place of legal settlement.
Those that undertook temporary settlement for work, such as labouring during the harvest would need to provide confirmation to the parish that their parish of settlement would indeed provide for the individual or family.
This process lasted until 1834, though was subject to various amendments prior to 1834. The Office of Parish Overseers was abolished in 1927.