Maldon Union Workhouses

In 1601 the first poor law was passed  with the become that materials should be bought to provide work for the able bodies and that housing should be built for those unable to care for themselves.

Ammendations to the Poor law were passed from time to time although there seemed to be a general acceptance amongst parishes that there should be some provision for the poor and incapable. In most Parishes accommodations was provided although some Parishes provided financial assistance for people to be housed elsewhere

In 1777 Parliament commissioned a survey of poor relief which showed that Workhouses had been established in the Parishes of Burnham, Purleigh, Southminster, Steeple, Stow Maries and Tillingham.  Bradwell on Sea,  and Latchingdon also had workhouses but these appeared to have opened after 1777.

Bannister Cottage is believed to be the location of the workhouse in Woodham Walter that was in operation about 1809.

Blue House in Waterside Road was the location of the Bradwell on Sea workhouse.

The old Queens Head Public House was the workhouse at Purleigh.

Until it closed in 1860 ,Southminster Poor House stood on a site that is now used by the Primary School.

In some cases these workhouses were comparatively substantial with the Burnham workhouse offering 24 places  whereas Steeple offered just 6 places. The larger workhouses would have an overseer although some of the smaller would have a local person with responsibilities including supervision of the inmates.

All able bodied inmates including children would be expected to carry out work in exchange for accommodation and board with any takings being set against the expense of maintaining the workhouse.

In 1831 the Government condcuted a thorough review of Workhouses which gives us a picture of our area.

The costs against population are interesting .

Some like Creeksea allocate only about 40 pence per person whilst others like nearby Asheldham allocate over 2 per person.

The costs related to the number of people in care, cost of medication etc.

In 1831 the sums of money involved to support the poor were considerable to a generally poor population.

Dengie 100 Parishes within the Maldon Union

Parish

Population

Money in  expended on the poor

Number of elected guardians

Althorne

352

296

1

Asheldham

144

298

1

Bradwell on Sea

956

639

1

Burnham on Crouch

1393

1046

2

Cold Norton

216

109

1

Creeksea

154

57

1

Dengie

249

383

1

Hazeleigh

119

137

1

Latchingdon

229

275

1

North Fambridge

148

77

1

Mayland

226

264

1

Mundon

272

283

1

Purleigh

1044

897

1

Southminster

1442

1142

2

St Lawrence

182

185

1

Steeple

497

350

1

Stow Maries

242

287

1

Tillingham

970

573

1

Woodham Mortimer

339

164

1

Woodham Walter

538

363

1

 

In 1834 The Poor Law Amendment Act was passed which required  Parishes to group together and provide a workhouse. To deter people from taking advantage of the ' generosity a deliberately harsh regime was encouraged with the provision of basic accommodation and a basic diet large enough to sustain life of the inmates.

The Original Maldon Workhouse at Market Hill  

In this area the Maldon Union Workhouse was formed  to represent all of the parishes in the District. Initially the existing Maldon workhouse on Market Hill was extended and used for able bodies men whilst the aged, ill ,women and children were houses at the three other larger parish workhouses including Purleigh and Burnham on Crouch .The remaining parish workhouses were returned to private ownership.

Even after 1834 support to the poor in Parishes continued often due to local benefactors. An example of this was Wm. Ayletts of Althorne who established a charity fund for the poor that in 1863 gave 1.18 shillings to the poor which for the time was a considerable sum.

In 1861 the Government surveyed workhouses for the number of paupers who had resided there for five years or more.

In the case of Maldon there were 26 such paupers, 4 of which had lived for over 20 years at the workhouse and half had lived for over 10 years.

The causes of this prolonged stay were given as :-

Infirmity 12 paupers - Lameness 3 Paupers - Paralysis 1 pauper - Sickness 3 paupers - Illegitimate children  2 paupers - Blindness 2 paupers - Unsound mind 2 paupers - Idiotcy 1 pauper.

The existing buildings provided much to small to deal and in 1872/1873 a new and very distinctive workhouse was built in Spital Road, Maldon. This building subsequently became St Peters Hospital at the birth of the national Health Service.

The 1881 census provides details of the 114 occupants of the new Workhouse. Residents with birthplaces in Eastern Essex are listed below

Name

Approx Date of Birth

Place of Birth

Henry Alefounder

1806

Burnham on Crouch

William Blowers

1805

St Lawrence

Joseph Braizer

1821

Stow Maries

Owen Brand

1813

Purleigh

Jno Bridge

1799

Southminster

James Brown

1807

Woodham Walter

Jno Cable

1808

Southminster

Sarah Carter

1815

St Lawrence

Emma Challis

1875

Mundon

William Choat

1813

Burnham on Crouch

James Collins

1815

Steeple

William Cottis

1816

Tillingham

Edith Duce

1860

Steeple

Infant Duce

1881

Maldon

James Duce

1808

Asheldham

Thomas Enifer

1813

Stow Maries

Isaac Filbrook

1817

Woodham Walter

Thomas Fisher

1804

Tillingham

William Fulcher

1816

Latchingdon

Genery Gladwell

1838

Bradwell on Sea

Henry Harrison

1806

Steeple

Alice Harvey

1858

Southminster

Infant Harvey

1881

Burnham on Crouch

Joseph Hoy

1801

Althorne

Henry Hubbard

1853

Tillingham

Jno Jennings

1807

Althorne

Mary Jennings

1867

Cold Norton

James Joslin

1840

Woodham Walter

William Lamb

1808

Dengie

George Leggett

1818

Steeple

James Lilley

1825

Bradwell on Sea

Susan Lincoln

1820

Purleigh

William Linge

1808

Mayland

Alfred Marshall

1869

St Lawrence

Maria Millham

1831

Burnham on Crouch

William Millham

1801

Burnham on Crouch

Jesse Milton

1815

Southminster

George Murrell

1833

Burnham on Crouch

James Pinner

1809

Bradwell on Sea

Thomas Prior

1804

Mundon

George Rayner

1796

Latchingdon

Joseph Richmond

1812

Burnham on Crouch

James Saines

1809

Burnham on Crouch

William Seaby

1805

Purleigh

William Sparks

1817

Southminster

Philip Tiffin

1812

Mayland

Jno Willingale

1850

Southminster

 

to visit a page listing the officials of the Maldon Union from 1846 to 1869

to visit a page listing the Guardians of the Maldon Union in 1911

 

to visit a page listing items from the records of Maldon Workhouse 1895-1930

to visit a page describing the history of the Poor Laws and highlighting the case of Jane Harris

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www.essex-family-history.co.uk