Bills and Receipts of the Overseers of the Poor of Milton Abbas 1787- 1823

In the Dorset History Centre there are some 140 pieces of paper catalogued at PE-MIL/OV/2. These are the bills and receipts of our Overseers of the Poor. We are in the process of transcribing them. They provide further information to the entries in the Overseers of the Poor Account Books, which we have already transcribed.

Just one example: 

It reads 

“May 5th 1787 Recev’d of Mr Ja’s Gregery & B Vacher Overseears of Abby Milton the Some of Seven pounds being the full Consideration from the Said Parish of Milton Abbas for Will’m Seagar bound out to Tho’s Pike of the Parish of Pimphorn Carpenter   T Pike”

So the Overseers of Milton Abbas sent William Seagar, a poor boy of Milton Abbas, to be an apprentice to Thomas Pike of Pimperne, Dorset, a carpenter. The Milton Abbas Overseers paid £7 to Thomas Pike to be an apprentice.

This William Seagar was born in Milton Abbas and baptised on 18 Mar 1772, hence he was aged 15 at the beginning of his apprenticeship.

His brother Richard was also sent as an apprentice to the same master on 9 Nov 1791, aged 16.

It was common in the 18th and 19th centuries to get the poor children of the parish apprenticed to a trade, and pay the master. Sometimes the Overseers provided the child with clothing too. Some parishes apprenticed their poor children as young as seven. The term of apprenticeship was seven years.

There is plenty to tell of the Seager, or Seagar family of Milton Abbas in the 18th century. Ann Seagar regularly received poor relief from the Overseers, and she had several illnesses. Here is an example from 20 Jul 1777

This says “Gave Elizabeth veacher for giting Kowis uern for ann Seager 6d”. Or, in modern English: “Gave Elizabeth Vacher for getting cow’s urine for Ann Seagar”. This is not the only mention of cow’s urine being used as a medical treatment in our Overseers of the Poor Books, although it does not occur in 18th century medical text’s, so must have been a folk remedy.

Cow’s urine is still considered useful in today’s medicines. This is from a 2017 review article: “Many researches have also be done, which shows its use for treatment of Skin diseases, Stomach diseases, kidney diseases, Heart diseases, Stones, Diabetes, Liver problem, Jaundice, Athletes feet, cyst, Hemorrhoid etc. and show its Immunostimulant, Bioenhencer, Anticonvulsant, Anticancerous, Wound healing, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial properties.”

Cow’s urine has been used recently for coronavirus, admittedly only by Hindu’s in India.

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