The Poor Law

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	Queen Elizabeth I elected overseers of the poor in each Parish, who had to raise a rate through
 the Parish Vestry for relief of the poor. The Churchwardens had to keep accounts. Here are some of 
their entries in the Parish Vestry account book:


In the last years of the first Queen Elizabeth's life, overseas of the poor were elected in Clifford, as elsewhere.  They had the job of raising a rate through the Parish vestry for the relief of the poor

In the late 1700's, Thomas Spiers was the overseer for Clifford Chambers

January 1773

Mr. Parry to Thos. Spiers for a pr of Stockings for Thos. Godard 8d
George Hyron for mending his coat & breaches			        9d
For a pr of stockings							        8d
Pd. for a Pair of woolen stockings					        8d
Visitation fee								   5s. 0d
Horse to Justice Scotts to carry Double				   5s. 0d
Pd. Rev. Nason going visitation				           	 7s.6d
For a pair of woolen stockings for Godard			    	1s 2d
Xtian Martins for waiting upon Charles Moors lady		    	7s.5d
For 2 dozen sparrow heads						      2d
Nov. 27th A fabrifuge Cordial Mixture Eliz. Bozano		    	1s.8d
 Nov 30th  repeated							    1s.8d
Dec 5th     repeated							    1s.8d
A bottle of Grants drops			                                 	1s.0d


Nov. 2nd Bote Bet Bryan a petycoate with the corn her got in ye harvest		

Eliz Norris for nursing Thos Godward of ye small-pox - 13s 0d -  A coat waistcoat and breeches to shift Thos Godward after ye small pox 7s.6d - Brandy to wash his hair with   6d.   - For fetching Goddard home and washing him	1s. 0D   - For a breakfast for Goddard before he went to his place at Shipston	6d

Oct. Thos. Hadland 4 days thatching town houses -  6s.0d   Allowed him for beer - 6d

Relieved a woman with a foot pass, at ye same time a soldier and wife with two children with ye small pox to pass	6d						   

Dec 12th Handy sent over violent complaint.  Mother a dying and nothing to burn and no-one would trust em, sent to buy coal			 1s. 0d

Dec 18th John Wilton persuaded my wife to give him 2s. 0d
24th He complained so of his wife's illness I p'd him	    2s.8d
1794  July 1st George Hyron for repairing stays for Ann Godard	  4s.0d

Elisha Hyrons wife for getting her things in order and  taking her to her place	2s.0d

Aug 15 A journey to Bourton on the Hill with Sarah Hemmings for her examination her being Pregnant with a Bastard  - 9s.0d   -Horse hire for her to ride on	4s.6d
Her expencese and corn for her horse	  - 3s.6d.    P'd the examination and warrent to take the man  2s.0d

(Note – John Hobbs of Loxley and Sarah Hemmings were married at Clifford on Oct 9th 1794 in presence of Thomas Spiers and Charles Smith)

Re a journey with Hannah Hancock to Bourton and Campden and Broadway to take ye man	  12s.0d

Oct 19th P'd Mr. Prentice for journey to Moreton and  Bourton for a licence  9s. 0d
P'd for the licence	£1. 19s.6d    Expenses at ye Bear Inn for supper for 3 and Horse-corn  and liquor and ale  - 7s.3d

(Note William Blunn of Stratford-upon-Avon was married in October 1794 to Hannah Hancock of Clifford in Stratford-on-Avon in the presence of Edward Lomas and William Edmonds
In May 1795 Thomas son of William and Hannah Blunn was baptised in Clifford Church and buried the same month.
Three other children born in 1797, 1800 and 1803 also died after baptism)

Oct 10th P'd Betsy Cooks for a ring for Hobb's wife	- 6d  and further to Hobbs for his wife to accept of that ring  - 	  2s. 0D

at Stratford Fair Lomas got of me to pay a spy for to take young Blun  - 1s. 0d

P'd Parkhurst of Preston to help to guard John Hobs	 - 1s. 6d

Ye Clerk to his office in marrying					    2s. 6d

To Handy who is an entire Plague to me				    1s. 0d

Aug 1st P'd Mr. William Gibbs towards building Clifford bridge    	£10. 10s. 0d

Aug 16th  A journey to Moreton for instructions concerning the dog tax					    7s.6d
Oct 9th  P'd Mr. Hughes journey to Bourton for instructions to make the clock and watch assessment  - 9s 0d

In 1796 a James Jones became ill and was nursed by Esther Jackson:-
Feb 29th Garfield Hundred of coal					    1s. 4d
March 2nd bit of mutton						         6d
March 4th Half hundred coal						         8d
March 6th Widow Jackson for nursing 6 days	 	               2. 0d
March 8th A hundred of coal						     1s.4d
A loaf for James Jones						1s.0d
11th Money to buy mutton					               1s.0d
12th To buy coal for Jones						     1s.4d
13th To buy bread							              1s.0d
14th To buy bread								        6d
15th To buy meat								   1s.6d
16th Widow Jackson for nursing					    2s.0d
To buy bread							             1s.0d
17th To buy red wine							    1s.0d
18th To buy coal								     1s.4d
Jackson for nursing							     2s.0d
Jackson for wine again							     1s.0d
Yellow Bassilicon Olive Oil & Spts.  Turpentine for
	petrified places Back & loins						8d
20th To buy wine								     1s.0d
22nd  Yellow Bassilicon O.O.S.T.repeated				         8d
23rd Brown cerates								1d
Garfield for hundred of coal						     1s.4d
24th To buy mutton							     1s.0d
To buy wine							               1s.0d
26th To buy Mutton & Bread				                         1s.6d
27th Jackson for nursing						               3s.4d
To buy mutton & wine							     1s.6d

Then a letter

To the overseers of the poor Allchurch 	
  					Clifford Chambers 24th Sept 1796

By the Bearer you have account of the expenses incurred by James Jones, for particulars I refer you to his father (the Bearer).   I presume you will believe I have acted with humanity and consistence.

I agreable to Act of Parliament and expect you will remit the expenses – or your answer

					Your Hbl ST
						David Hughes
							Overseer of the Poor


The Gentlemen of Allchurch would not condesend to read your letter saying Jones was never sworn to this Parish therefore, they would have nothing to do with the business

					Yours J. Watts
Thursday 2 o'clock
24th September 


March 13th To what Silvester paid to a pass from England to America	2s.0d

Dec 21st Pd for a hat for Jno Odell secondhand  - 6d

Nov  20th Pd Handys to buy a spining wheel			2s.6d

Pd towards a 2nd Militia man the first not joining the rigment  - £10. 10s. 0d

Jan 19th Journey to Warwick to release Mary Harris  out of the workhouse	 - 10s. 0d
P'd for 7 week board at 4d per week and 4 weeks board  at 5d per week  £ 2. 10s.0d

May 16th 3 times to Stratford respecting S Cooks settlement, his wife becomin abusive and troblesome there	  - 2s.6d

April 13th    Pd Joseph Matthew of Quinton bone-setter for  putting in Thos Bennits shoulder and curing the same	   5s. 0d

Dec 20th Pd John Pitt to take his son Joseph to Birmingham  - Capital for the benefit of his eyes				  7s. 6d

Feb 26th Gave a Woman as came with a Big Belly redey to Lie in to get shut of her - 1s.0d  - Gave a man to see her out of the Parish -  6d  
(The Overseers could remove any paupers that did not belong to their parish)

Nov 17th Copy of order for removal of Widow Ann Newberry and her three children from Clifford Chambers where they had become chargeable to the Parish, to Tachbrook their last place of legal settlement
Signed Ralph Smith & Thomas Blom.  - Church Wardens & Overseers of the poor.

11th Dec Removed Ann Newberry & her three children to Tachbrook & delivered her to Mr. Gasey (School Master) who stated he was overseer and he paid me £3. 3s. 3d the cost of maintainance under the order.		

				H. Smith
 Among the records is a pathetic letter from a Mr. Thos. Martin to Mr. Richard Spiers, Churchwarden
of Clifford Church. He wrote from Nottingham requesting financial help, as he was unable to work due to
the illness of both himself and his wife. Here it is, written sometime between 1816 and 1826:-

<pre>“					Nottingham July 11th
I ham hunder the painfull necesity of once more righting to you. I menchned in my last letter I should be
at Clifford by May quarter was up it was my full intent to have bin there on the 22nd of June. I menched
to Mr. Chapman some time back that my wife was in a Consumtive way as I thought she has bin ill 6 or
7 months but this last 3 months she has bin hunder the Doctors hands and I doe not Expect she will recover
wich was the sole cause of my not bin there - as to my part I have nothing to Expect but to be left with
5 chiltorn she his worn to a mear skiliton and yet the Doctor sais she is not in a Decline but be that as
it may without some Alteration takes place for the better she cannot live long – being placed in this
Dreadfull situation. I hope you will have the goodness to assist me to pay this quarters rent wich shall
be last favor I will ask of you wilst I remain in this place – as the gentlemen of Clifford wish me to
come home if she dies I will be there in a wick after Little did I think when I was at Clifford Ever bein
beholding to a parish but no man knows what he as to hundergo. I have never had sickness out of my family
a month to geather three years next October when I was first taken ill myself and lain seventeen wicks and
ten of them in the Hospital without being able to do any work.
Remain yours
 Thos. Martin”