Overseers of the Poor

We are finding many entries which are baffling. For example in 1781

To Barbara Wife of Saml Fiander (Elop’d)6
Mary Ridout Wife of Thos. (Elop’d)2
Martha Vacher Spinster4
Mary Lillington Wd in ye Almshouse2
Mary Fiander, Wife of Robt F. (Elop’d)4

Eloped here meaning absconded, went away..

Their wives were left behind on poor relief.

Every year the Overseers paid “Gale money” to the Constable of the Hundred – what was this for?

With no Vestry Minute Books for Milton Abbas in the 18th century it makes it difficult to know what was going on.

Does anyone know of any other research into Overseers of the Poor Books of a rural parish of the 18th century?

Are there any books which cover the administration of the poor law from the point of view of an Overseer, or Churchwarden?

We have J H Bettey, Church and Landscape, 1987.

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5 Responses to Overseers of the Poor

  1. jimella says:

    That Mary Lillington may well be my ancestor (née Churchouse). She was married (in 1755)
    and had all her children that I know of in the village, but I don’t know when her husband Thomas died. Her youngest child, Margaret, was baptised in 1767.


    • Thanks, It is rare for anyone from the Almshouse to be named. They had their own income from a trust, and did not normally receive poor relief.
      Ann, Mary and Thomas were prodigious receivers of monthly poor relief in the 1770’s.
      Thomas last appears in April 1775. thereafter Ann becomes “widow Lillington” and continues to receive poor relief until Jun 1775 when her name disappears and we can assume that she then lived in the Almshouse for “6 poor widows”.


      • jimella says:

        Thanks. That’s interesting but a bit puzzling. If it’s the same family then on Thomas’s death Mary would have become a widow, not Ann. They had a daughter Ann, baptised in 1760. She married William Lucas in 1784.


  2. Carol Sastradipradja says:

    ‘The Complete Parish Officer’ – available online or e-book or hardback – includes Overseers and Churchwardens.


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